Sunday, May 30, 2010

Today Is Yesterday

Current Reading: Haven't decided yet.

Inspirational Quote: "How can I miss you, if you won't go away?" -- I have no idea who said this first. All I know is that you can find it on a T-shirt, and that Mark Hamill said it in an episode of the 1990 television show The Flash.

Getting older is fascinating.

One thing about it is how much faster time seems to pass. Weeks snap by, months, years. I'm always surprised to look back at events and realize just how long ago they really were. And, as occasionally happens, I recently experienced a synchronicity of nostalgic events. The first was the 20-year reunion of my wife's university class. We spent the weekend in Toronto catching up with friends I swore I'd last spoken to only a few years ago. It turned out to be more like one and a half decades. Oops.

The second came as the result of an IM conversation I had with the best man from my wedding (almost 21 years ago). We've known each other since I was twelve, still talk and have never lost touch, so although he is a carrier of nostalgia, he is not infected by it. We googled ourselves (which sounds dirty, but isn't), and discovered that our names, far from being unique, are shared by people who do all kinds of things. I'm an artist in the U.K., a business consultant, an American politician, and a bunch of other stuff.

We talked of the wonderous web, and how you can find almost anyone if you really try. So I tried, and ended up reconnecting with a friend from my high-school days. A lot has happened since then.

Of course, this leads my thoughts in the somewhat less rosy direction of how difficult it is to hide in this era of the web. I wonder how many times a day someone is tracked down by someone they would rather avoid.

Although I believe I'm... unusual, I'm not malicious and if the person I contacted failed to respond, or responded with the equivalent of "I don't want to talk to you," I'd back off. But the web is not exclusive. You don't need to pass a sanity or stability test in order to use it, and many people who use it would fail such a test. Cyberstalking is a reality, and a frightening one.

On the other hand, it's nice to find someone you'd thought you'd only ever see again in memories.


Tahereh said...

what a lovely post. i love the way you write.

time is a curious thing, isn't it?

Ulysses said...

Thank-you. I'm flattered.

Time is odd. Time is the only dimension we need to measure exactly because our perception of it varies so much from individual to individual or situation to situation. Two people can look at a building and agree that it's thirty storeys tall, but if one walks away and then comes back the two could easily argue about how long they were separated.

A telling point: we wear watches and put clocks in computers, phones, PDAs and music players, but in not one of those things is there a tape measure. Nor is there any need for one.