Hanging out at a 40th birthday bash for an old high school friend, and a retirement party for a former basketball coach this weekend, raised questions about my own existence and the quality of my life, or the lack of it. And as I was contemplating this Tuesdays With Morrie question a blast from the past snuck up on me.
As I was tearing up the dance floor to the best jams of high school gym dances I felt a tap, tap, tap. I turned and there he was … The Danny Zuko of my past. In truth, I wasn’t talking about Summer Nights at the lunch tables, or singing Hopelessly Devoted when I was “hanging out” with him, but I did like him. It was a big time crush, not Jake Ryan worthy, but still pretty big for high school days.
But you all know the common story … most high school boys are stupid.
So it wasn’t a ride off into the sunset on Grease Lightning after the carnival type of situation. It was more of a I’m going to trade you in for one of those cha-cha girls with too much make-up from the drill team. Yeah that’s how he rolled.
Flash-forward twenty years later, he’s standing in front of me giving me the biggest hello hug ever. I hadn’t thought about him since the last time I saw him at his graduation. No real reason to do so.
So it was funny when he said he’d been hoping he’d run into me. We chatted about our families, kids, and work. And just as I was going to take a break from the dance floor, he said it. I had no idea why he had said it, but he did.
“Sorry? Sorry for what?”
I was totally confused because he hadn’t stepped on my toes while we were dancing, and I know he didn’t spill a drink on my jacket or anything. I stood there with the huh? look on my face.
He went on a full five-minute apology, surprisingly pretty sincere and remorseful, for dogging me way back in the day for his Danny Zuko behavior, chalked it up to being a dumb teenager. I told him not to worry about it, wasn’t a big deal now. In fact the whole situation hadn’t even occurred to me because there were plenty of jerks that followed, so he was sort of lost in the muddy waters of my past. I’m sure that at that time I was undergoing the typical what’s-wrong-with-me teenage chick blues, but they weren’t big enough for me to have a whole Sandy metamorphosis so that he would like me better. I wasn’t changing for anybody.
And even though the apology came twenty years later it made me smile. Not so much because he was sorry, but because I realized I was way ahead of my time and it definitely paid off to stay true to my Chapstick Girl kind of ways. I wanted to give myself a high-five.
Apparently I hadn’t changed, or at least that’s what everyone at the party had told me. They said I looked like my yearbook picture. The fact that the party was outdoors and late at night probably helped hide my crappy lack-of-sleep needs anti-aging cream appearance. Apparently I still looked hot, in my Sporty Spice kind of way and I guess that may have prompted the apology. Who knows. But it makes me feel better to know that I was right all they way back then … yeah … high school boys were stupid.