September 24, 2001


Over the weekend: two pleasant *reconnects* with longtime cyber pals.

First, David and I drove to Palo Alto on Saturday morning for lunch with our dear friend, Barb (aka Smrtflmkr ... aka *The Only Boom-Room Woman Who Has Ever Seen Me Naked*). Over corned beef and Green Rivers, we reminisced about my first weekend in California, three years ago, and about the wedding last summer (Barb was a Guest of Honor) ... we gossiped shamelessly about Boom Room people, the Super Fun Time message boards and anything else remotely cyber-related ... and of course we talked about everything that's been going on in the world.

An afternoon with Barb is like a hot cup of Fast Lane Tea: you come away from it feeling both soothed and jazzed at the same time.

Then, late Sunday afternoon, I arose from my Contac-Severe-Cold & Flu-induced coma long enough to sign on and check for e-mail. My pal EdmundKaz was online, and he immediately took me to task for last week's "Sliding Doors" entry:

Edmundkaz: This IM is a work of fiction.
SecraTerri: Shuttup.
Edmundkaz: I'm gonna write a story about me running off with BuggaDoon.
Edmundkaz: How my life would have been different.
SecraTerri: Hey, it seemed like a good idea at the time, OK?

We i.m.'d for most of an hour, jibberjabbering about his girlfriend and his kids and The Englishtown Flea Market and Friday night's All-Star TV Tribute. (EdmundKaz: "Bruce sang it so articulately (sp) I thought. I mean...he really SANG. And Little Steven was mercifully undermiked.")

It was nice.

These little moments of reconnection left me feeling psychically reaffirmed and emotionally re-energized. The good news is that there have been a LOT of moments like these lately. Over the past couple of weeks, there has been a mini-avalanche of messages and phone calls coming in from people I've been out of touch with for eternities: old high school classmates ... former co-workers from the Knife Factory ... people I used to babysit for ... one-time cyber rivals/cyber romances ... even my supervisor from the aluminum company, circa 1978. (She teaches a class now, called 'Women in Transition.' "If one is blessed and lucky," she wrote, "one starts riding a bike, marries the man of her dreams and fulfills her writing dreams to great acclaim. If one is REALLY lucky and blessed and all of those things, one gets to share her heart with the world in hopes that her journey might prove the impetus for another and become 'recommended reading' for other women.")

It's almost as though recent events are causing everyone to want to Reach Out and Touch Somebody You Haven't Reached Out and Touched Since The Nixon Administration. Of course I'm a little easier to 'find' than the average long-lost acquaintance. All you have to do is type "BIG SELF-ABSORBED CRYBABY ATTENTION JUNKIE" into a web browser, and voila! There I am!  But whatever the reason, all of this renewed contact with old friends is weirdly comforting.

And it's making me want to start looking for other people with whom I've lost touch.

For instance, how about my sixth grade teacher, Ralph Iverson? I haven't spoken to him in at least ten years. (I have a vague recollection of drunk-dialing him one boozy Friday night, sometime in the early 90's. As I recall, he politely disengaged from the conversation -- I think I hear the doorbell -- after only a minute or two.) What ever happened to him? Does he still live in Idaho? Does he still remember me as his 'favorite student ever'? Or did I manage to permanently screw that up, the night I called and slurred in his ear?

How are you doing, Mr. I?

Or how about the guy who wrote 'The Martian Hop'? Steve Rappaport -- wasn't that his name? It's been over a year since the last time I heard from him. I meant to write back -- I was going to write a whole *FootNotes* entry, all about how influential 'The Martian Hop' was to the emotional and cultural development of Young Secra -- but that was at least two computers ago, and his e-mail address has long since vanished into the ether.

Are you still out there, Mr. Rappaport?

How about Tusk, my favorite counselor at Camp Firwood? (We called him "Tusk" because of his magnificent handlebar moustache.)  Long after the summer of '72, he continued to write me long letters on purple stationery, advising me to save myself for marriage. What ever happened to him? 

Or what about our former neighbor, Mrs. Kennedy? I used to sling my babies, one over each shoulder, and walk down the street to borrow her phone ... usually to plead with Kirkland Utilities not to shut off our water again. Where is Mrs. Kennedy and her family now?

What about my Prom date? My piano teacher? My online pals ZORK and DogBoy and TerrrrryCL? Jaymi's first babysitter? My orthodontist? The woman who used to e-mail me Bible verses? My little cousin Chellaigne? 

The old guy who used to sell lukewarm hot dogs and stale caramel corn during Little League games at Sunset Park?

Where are all these people today?

Are they OK? Are they healthy? Have they lived happy lives? How are they coping with the crisis? Are they safe?

I wish I had a way to find out. Maybe now that I've handed in my two-week notice at The Totem Pole Company, I'll have a little bit of *down time* to search for them ... in between résumés and cover letters.

Unless, of course, they find me first.

throw a rock