Please, Don’t Blast from My Past!
When I think back on my younger years, I mostly remember the great moments. You know, the times when my girls and I hit some random house party and danced way passed our curfews then later dreaded putting our keys into the locks to face our mothers just to realize that our mothers were fast asleep and didn’t notice that we were just coming home when they heard us. Or the times when we ditched school to pick up our little cousins from day care to take them to the zoo or museum because our “schooling” was much more valuable than anything they were learning in head start. Or the times when we headed to the mall with a grand total of $50 between us but left with $400 in merchandise because we knew how to time a sale or how to flirt just enough to get a few extra outfits from an older, more desperate guy by offering nothing more than the assurance that “this really is my number and we should get together some time.” (Only drug dealers and cops had cell phones back then.) It was fun. Innocent, teenaged fun.
Sometimes, though, when you’re cruising through the responsibility of adulthood, being all conservative and righteous because you’re a wife and mother now, you are bombarded by the presence of those you knew in your less than innocent days. They marvel at your “transformation” and want to talk, in mixed company, mind you, about the things you’ve buried so deep in the recesses of your memory that you think you must have seen them in a movie somewhere. You try to maneuver around these people, but they must have majored in NFL in college or something because they are strategically blocking your exit as you attempt to shake left and slip right. These are the moments that you are grateful that you didn’t go into politics because these people will be the ones with the tales to sell to the highest bidder. Never mind that you were a foolish teenager with way too much time on your hands!
As you talk, you realize that you were some sort of hero to these people, and you cringe because a) there is nothing heroic about the nonsense you engaged in, b) you know that everything you are doing now is with the hope that your children NEVER, EVER do anything so stupid or reckless, and c) you can’t believe that a person with a modicum of intelligence and over the age of 25 would still think that you were “cool” for doing something (and I stress, again) so stupid and reckless. We’ve all done our dirt, right? None of us fell out of heaven with wings still attached, but none of us, at least not people like me, want to relive those days, especially when the youthful indiscretions are embarrassing, unholy messes!
So, it’s with great humility, shame, utter horror, and a not so veiled threat, that I make the following request. Please, under no circumstances, should you acknowledge that you know me if you so happen to cross my path. If my eyes buck wide when I see you, and I gasp as if I’ve seen a ghost (you know, the one of Marilyn Past), take the hint and keep moving. This is one time when I can honestly say, “This most certainly is personal.” I don’t want to be your friend. You remind me too much of me I wish I never was. The me God has delivered me from. Don’t offer to give me your number because I will NEVER call. Please, don’t get offended. It isn’t you. It really is me. I can’t take it. And, if you absolutely insist on divulging my secrets because you still get a laugh about it so many years later, and because you think I shouldn’t ashamed of something I did so long ago, just remember that for every story you have on me, I have one on you, too. Choose your words carefully, old “friend.” I wasn’t by myself, and I’m sure your new life would frown on the old you, too!