(NOTE:  If you’re reading this on Facebook, please click on this link to see it right!   http://www.xanga.com/serenitymine )

You’re heard the classic song, right?  “Reunited, and it feels so good”?  I like the song for two reasons:

1.  It sticks to the brain, which, with my rising age, is a plus.  No Teflon for me, thank you.  I need things to adhere like glue.  Otherwise, I might forget vital information, like the fact that my favorite niece’s name is…  Uh…  Hmm. 

2.  It’s performed by a group called “Peaches and Herb,” and any mention of food always makes me happy.  Although I’d have to disguise the peaches as cobbler and smother them in whipped cream to make them less fruity and more Michely, but it’s been done before with great success.

But back to the theme:  reunited.  More specifically:  old friends.  There’s been something strange happening to me in the last couple of weeks.  I blame my mom’s high speed Internet and my reluctant addiction to Facebook (ew) for the phenomenon.  There have been unexpected “reunitings” which have left me pondering the before and after versions of me:

Before:  (1990)  Note the BIG purple bow on top of my head!  Sigh…

After:  (2006)  LOOK!  NO BOW!!

Facebook is one of those strange modern inventions that manage to whittle our lives down into bite-sized pieces for easy consumption while TRYING to camouflage the truncated communication as meaningful dialogue.  I mean—how much can a person say in the two lines allotted to one’s daily “status” report?  Xanga communicates.  Facebook?  It gives you bullet points, which leave the hurried hordes content (no need for lengthy exchanges) and the more devout inquisitors quite discontent.

But I digress.

One of the redeeming factors of a factoid-based tool like Facebook is that it makes it easy to search for old acquaintances.  Which leads me to the title of this post.  There have been two noteworthy “re-encounters” of late, one with a former student from the early 90s and one with a former friend from the late 80s.  And by “friend,” I mean the type of guy who is fascinating and fun and stimulating and profound and of the “just” variety of “friends”…the variety that ends up taking a large, bleeding chunk of your heart with him when he goes!    That’s probably because the “just” in “just friends” often stands for Jinxed by Unspoken Smoldering Thoughts!

But it’s strange, isn’t it, this reconnecting with souls who had quite comfortably drifted into those back-of-the-drawer files of our conscious memories, only to be occasionally evoked by random scents or places or rogue glimpses of the past.

Two pieces of driftwood washed up on the shore…and hugging.  Can you see it?
This, to me, is the ultimate retirement plan!

So this is, I guess, a reluctant acknowledgement that a small iota of pleasure can come from the substance-deprived practice of Facebooking.  After all, I know now that one of my former students is a productive grown-up with the kind of character, interests, and insights I hadn’t suspected when he was a mere child trying hard to get on my last nerve (and succeeding quite beautifully, as the indentation still on the side of his head, in the shape of my hand, might attest).  And the other Just-Friend is now a father of two, a successful business man and, from all appearances, an all-round good guy.  Whodda thunk, back in the post-partum days when I fantasized about his death-by-unreachable-mosquito-stings that we’d be brought back into contact by an idle search on Facebook followed by a more determined search on Google?

It’s been said that modern technology has handicapped real communication to such a degree that “making conversation” has become an obsolete art form.  I want to agree—I really do.  But based on recent e-communication, I simply must concede.

My hope is that many of you, my dear students, will be able to reunite too in the years and decades ahead!  Or better yet, that you’ll never lose contact to such a degree that Google becomes your only means of finding each other.

“Reunited and it feels…yup…so good.”

Comments

Comments(11)

  1. Beloved Michele, Steve did give me a very non-phlegmatic hug from you…thanks so much! It meant the world to me!  I can’t wait to end this separation and really hear all about your life and even this reunion with a “Just friend”…. also, could you remind me who Riley is in Tidal Pools…my god-daughter loved that book!  Read her comment on my facebook about it.  I love you…Renee

  2. 1 – sorry, haven’t heard “Reunited, and it feels so good”
    2 – what’s a teflon?
    3 – MICHELE!! Fruits are good for you, BEFORE you mutilate it into a cobbler. Ok, maybe not mutilate, since some people enjoy it, but you know what I mean. The point is, eat your fruits FRESH. God made them that way for a reason, I’m sure (not just because Adam and Eve didn’t have a recipe on how to make a cobbler and didn’t know what whipped cream was)
    4 – I love you!

  3. Ah yes, the ‘old’ Facebook debate. I have a friend who the rest of us are desperately trying (in a fun sort of way) to get on Facebook and she refuses. Says she doesn’t want to just because EVERYBODY else is doing it. She also gives the ‘blogs are better’ argument. And calls Facebook ‘Satan’s tool’…. lol….

    I see Facebook (and myspace etc.) as a different sort of tool than a blog. If I just want to connect with people and stay in touch between meetings — or if they are just ‘casual’ friends, or very far away, I use Facebook. It’s like have a party with all your friends everyday! If I have something of a lengthier nature to say, I use my blog. Different tools for different situations.

    I’ve also heard that people had similar arguments as you (and my anti-Facebook friend) give against the phone when it first came out.

  4. Sad, isn’t it, that we live in a world where young whipper snappers have never heard of “Reunited”…not to mention Teflon.  We need to do a better job of educating BFA students, wouldn’t ya say??

    P.S. I love you too, whether you mutilate your fruits or not.

  5. Don’t tell Sally (ha ha) but I think I know where your double chin comes from!!

  6. I dunno . . . Facebook has prompted me to pick up the phone and call a friend because reading her update reminded me how long it had been since we’d talked. And after seeing several other dear friends (BFA classmates) on the same “communication-stunting interface” I impulsively hopped on the internet and booked a trip to Chicago for my 10-year high school reunion, a mere 3 weeks before its occurrence. (You should know that I rarely do ANYTHING impulsively, never mind drop hundreds down on a weekend trip with a baby just after a huge move and in the middle of a messy job hunt.) Sometimes the only limitations of technology are the ones we put on them. Is it really Facebook that makes us look at each others’ lives in tiny glimpses? There’s a message function and a notes function, both fully capable of more lengthy and weighty conversation. In the end, I’m just happy I get to see my little sister’s day-to-day life even if only in snapshots on Facebook because they are moments I would otherwise not get to share with her. And you . . . over the years I sent you letters and e-mails . . . I even phoned a couple times and left messages . . . but the first time I got a response back from you was on Facebook. I’ll take what I can get :-p

    With much love
    The Hiebert

    (yes, I do know the song . . .

  7. michele! I’m so sad that I didn’t get to talk to you!! I actually wanted to talk to you when you called… but I don’t remember what I said… The thing is I don’t think you’ll be able to reach me anywhere… Cuz I don’t have a cell phone here in korea and I’m hardly home… so we’ll have to talk when I get back to cali.. how sad………………………

  8. Well, you can add me to the growing list of BFA-types and others who have never heard this song…I must’ve been too busy to be reunited!

    I had never even heard of Facebook until an old classmate asked me to join roughly one month ago. Which is funny, in a backhanded way, because three of my siblings were on it and never bothered to clue me in to the group.  I *knew* there would be some payback for missing so much of their respective childhoods… anyway, I have been using MySpace almost religiously, broadening my sphere of infuence and cramming as much of me as I can into one profile. Facebook will be a lesser version of that, where I can connect with a specific cross-section of friends who adamantly refuse to join the MySpace craze…and now Xanga..  I just dunno…I’m in so many places at once; it will create some difficulties in reconnecting in a ‘pleasnat’ way with many ‘interesting’ ‘friends’ <<< I’m afraid of committing to such a half-assed effort… 🙂 

  9. oops! that was meant to read “pleasant”

  10. See? Look at all the conversation Facebook has spawned…. :o)

    And btw, I’ve never heard of the song you mention either — and I’m not THAT much younger than you!

  11. I like that song, its a classic. They play it on some hip hop stations mixed or as a slow jam when the slow the music down. like debra laws, very special (the song J Lo messed up in my opinion) well take care…

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