A few weeks ago, my mom gave me this box of junk she has been lugging around since I was in high school. It had old letters in it, pictures of me playing basketball and soccer. Awards, report cards...AP scores. It even had this speech my buddy Mark and I gave at our high school graduation...and this screenplay, yes SCREENPLAY, I had written with this guy Alex Ambosi. It was called The Adventures of Hulk Hogan and Rowdy Roddy Pipper...and we filmed it with these two action figures bopping around and added sound effects from Super Tecmo Bowl from Nintendo. It was, obviously, FANTASTIC. I don't have the video...but it was a riot seeing the screenplay.
The other things in this box, and the reason I am even writing this, were letters. Hand written letters. Remember those? Remember when you used to actually write letters to people...not call them on their cell phone...or email them every day...but actually took the time to get some lined-paper and a pen and wrote a fricken letter? I cant remember the last time I actually did this...maybe it wasn't since Freshman year of college?
Obviously I don't know what I wrote (which is one way computers are better because you have a history of what went out AND what came in), but these letters I was mailed were insane. I had a lot from Mark Clemens while he was going to Cornell, and some from James Uy while he went to Pomona...and even Darron wrote a few, too! Before the advent of computers, it appears that we actually went out of our way to keep our high-school friendships alive. Imagine that.
I also had some letters from my high-school sweetheart...and I read through those, and man was that a blast from the past. It's not that any old feelings I had revived themselves (don't worry, Christine), it's just odd to look into the past and remember what was felt and what was done. I remember a letter I wrote to Anne Westfall (that was her name) where I was a complete and utter asshole. I was so hurt, at the time, and all I wanted to do was find some way to do something to keep her. She didn't go off to college, and I had...and I remember thinking, at the time, that we could truly make "it" work. Although I internally scoff at those feelings now...what makes them any less real...just because I was 18, doesn't mean I didnt know how to feel.
It's funny to read a letter from a girlfriend that I dated 12 years ago and think back about what splices I remember. I remember having to help her a lot. I remember she had a lot of issues. I remember her calling me months after we broke up to apologize because she went to some seminar that taught her about communicating. I remember the last time I talked to her when I was a junior in college...and just feeling a sense of detachment at not wanting to hear about her still living in my hometown...and all the people from high school she still knew. I remember feeling better than her, more wise...older..more worldly. And I look back upon my feelings now with disgust. Who the Hell was I to judge her? What made me so much better?
Odd to look at past relationships and marvel at how open I was...something I struggle with so deeply these days. Hesitant. Deliberate. Not wanting to make the same mistakes I made before. How is it that we learn so much with age...but we get so much dumber. So fricken afraid of an unknown...correlating past happenings with current dilemmas. Shouldn't our inherent wisdom see through all that?
Or does it take some 12-year-old letters to remind me that some of my life-long friends took the time to keep me a part of them? Does it take my first real relationship to remind me to stop judging other people...and to be more open. Is it pathetic that I write these thoughts on a fricken publishable, electronic blog...instead of taking out a lined-sheet of paper and pen?
Or is it just easier this way?