(This was originally a response to a friend's blog but I decided to post it here because it has an identity of its own.)
It's always so strange meeting people with whom one may have shared so much at one time. It is as though one is standing in the centre of Rome with all those roads like spokes leading out into the world. One has no idea which paths others have taken and how compatible one's path was to theirs.
I dislike meeting people from my distant past. This is not always the case, but it often is.
It seems a burden. I don't mean those who have continued to be in touch - even if we have not seen one another. I mean those whom we have not seen nor heard from for a decade or more. I lose interest in former incarnations. Whomever stays in my present, from whatever era we first met, seems real. I still see my former Novice Mistress, my first blazingly influential English Professor, with whom I have never lost contact (he and his wife have remained dear friends for over 30 years), my gargantuan extended family. But no one from high school, the convent, (other than the novice mistress mentioned above). I get too tired. I have too much explaining to do. Usually fruitless.
What have you done since I last saw you? How can I answer that? It's not even the right question. I could perhaps attempt an answer to Whom have you become since I last saw you? But I haven't the time. How do I convey the entire convent experience? The years at several jesuit universities, the year at the University of Judaism? My Wales? My Malibu? My decades in Canada? First husband. Children. Remarriage. Step children. UC Berkeley. Writing a press best seller. Hollywood? Herb? MGM, Science Fiction conventions? Fans? Enemies? Art auctions? Chabad? Harvard. Congress. The Smithsonian. The Cosmos Club. Those strange visits to Oklahoma. Rod Steiger. Dreamworks. The Welsh Assembly government receptions. Mills College. Lecturing across the country. Star Trek (Next Gen wrap (and other) parties. Bitchy English department colleagues. Lovely English Department colleagues. The long road to the doctorate. Births. Deaths. Illnesses. Joys. Fears. Information. Knowledge. Understanding. Timothy. Why? Why not? Where? How?
No. I can't. I don't want to.
I'd rather lose what may have been a friend to a former self, than time. Because I don't know where that former self is. I would have to relocate it. And I must have left it behind for a reason. I brought everything with me that I actually want with me now.
So, no. Sorry. I don't want to have a discussion on Israel and Palestine. I don't want to talk about Leonard (Spock). I don't want to recount those days in Maritime Canada , along the Eastern Shore, on the island we lived on, the oyster farm we established, or Dalhousie and Saint Mary's. I don't want to talk about Frog Pond or the charm of Halifax, to anyone who wasn't there. I don't want to explain how you are wrong about everything you have said to me about Hollywood and convents or explain why I love Wales with an unprecedented passion or any other aspect of my life that you cannot possibly know anything about. These things are for me, now. This is what I write about. Read the book.
I don't want even to re-live, re-love our time together in high school - I have too much to do, to be and we didn't bother to keep in touch. We did without each other for decades. We weren't important enough to each other in the evolution of our lives. I don't want to try to make us important now. No matter how lovely it was then, I don't want to go there.
This sounds a little harsh, I know - I sometimes get teary about those days long gone, but that doesn't change anything - they are gone. This is today.
Causes Harrison Solow Supports
Lupus Foundation of America
Museum of Tolerance