Alexplorer Goes Time Traveling...

If you're just joining this series already in progress, then it means you don't have a time machine, so here's the short version: Every Tuesday (your present), I come back from my adventures time-traveling around MySpace and fill you in on what happened to people from my past as they keep slippin', slippin', slippin' into the future.

Ah, here's one now...


Eleanor (not her real name) was the daughter of a classmate of mine in college.  Her mom and I had a speech class together, which was somewhat ironic seeing as how we just about never stopped talking to one another about our classmates.  About a month into the semester Eleanor's mom invited me to a group birthday party for herself and several friends (myself included) who had birthdays around the same time.  It was there I met Eleanor

I was 20 at the time, her mom was 33, and little Eleanor was 15.  I wish I could just direct you to a copy of "The Graduate" for the rest of the story, but the plot didn't make quite the same twists.

Yes, I did have a huge crush on the mom in this story.  However, it wasn't reciprocated.  We were great friends, and that's about as far as it went.  In fact, it was quite the opposite of the Mrs. Robinson scenario in that Eleanor's mom was all for me dating her daughter.  The age difference was minor in her eyes.  In fact, her first (and late) husband, Eleanor's father, was I think fifteen years or so older than she was, which wasn't that far from being twice her age when they married.  And besides, I was a bright young man who was very "pure" (her favorite word for me) since I who didn't drink or smoke or do any drugs.  I mean, I didn't even touch coffee.  I was in college and looked like I was on my way to doing something with my life.

Again, this doesn't go where you might think.  Sorry; I wish I had memories to match your fantasies, but to me Eleanor was a cute kid who lived about 40 minutes away who I couldn't take to see my friends play in bars, etc.  By contrast, I had a whole campus full of girls who didn't live at home, who were old enough not to need fake IDs, and who couldn't get me busted for statutory rape.

Eleanor and I were great friends, and that was it.  She was learning guitar at the time, so I shared tips with her and taught her a few songs every time we saw one another.  Her younger brother played guitar as well, so it was fun to hang out at their place and get them jamming.  In fact, I took Eleanor and a couple of her girlfriends (Okay, stop it!) to a Pink Floyd concert, and then ended up staying over at their place for the rest of the weekend.

This all predates email and free, unlimited long distance by a few years, so she used to write me letters on a regular basis.  I feel bad because I was a terrible correspondent (across the board, not just with her) and didn't get around to replying to many of these.  In spite of this, she continued to refer to me variously as her "future husband" or other terms of endearment.  The obviousness of this crush was simultaneously flattering and a good reality check that she was most definitely 15.

Perhaps unfortunately, competing elements followed one another within a year of my meeting Eleanor.  First I met my future (now ex-)wife and then shortly afterward transferred to the college that was only a few miles from Eleanor's house.  If things were going to develop romantically as a result of my improved proximity, they were stifled by the fact that I now had a much more significant other in my life than little Eleanor.

Still, we remained friends for a few more years.  I think what caused a rift was that as she prepared to start college the next year, she told me she planned to "rush" for a sorority.  I won't go into the lengthy rant that I could articulate on that point, but probably the look on my face at this news was enough.  After all, why would you expect a genuine friend to be excited that you're planning to buy more friends?  I mean, seriously.

Hypothetical letter I actually sent to her:
Subject: Five minutes into the future...

ALEX:  Would you like to time travel?

ELENOR:  Um, okay.  Sure.

ALEX:  Let's begin.

ELENOR:  Whoa!  That was...  Whoa.  Seriously.  WTF?

ALEX:  Yeah.  Same thing for me the first time I tried something similar.  It's because you're expect to be taking in only one layer of information, then it gets stretched through time from its original point and back to the present and collects all the history in-between.  You're actually processing several years in one pass because that layer is anchored to everything that contributed to it and resulted from it, and that all leaves you entangled in it temporarily.

ELENOR:  But I'm back now?

ALEX:  Yes, but you'll still feel like you're in two places at once for a bit.  You get used to it pretty quickly, but it is a novel experience.

ELENOR:  Can I do it again?

ALEX:  Yeah.  Let know whenever you want to, okay?

She did want to time travel, so we did that for a bit by email, but mostly we talked on the phone.  A lot.  She's still as flakey as she was at age 15.  When I first reconnected with her, I thought she had her shit together, but then there was one thing after another.  She had just broken up with this guy she had been with for years and was going to get her own place.  The engagement was off, etc.  Then they get back together and within about a week or two, and she's asking me if they should go ahead and keep the date they had originally set, which was about two months away.  She hadn't planned anything up to that point because they had always been on the verge of breaking up.  I'm like, "Uh, no."  They ended up breaking up again about a month later when she found out he had been cheating on her for the last six months or more.  That ends that relationship for good, but she finds a new guy not long after this, and so now he's the center of her universe.  Actually, the center of her universe just seems to move from one guy to the next.  She's supposedly madly in love with this guy even though he's seeing her while he's dating someone else.

In and around all this drama, she keeps asking about my own impending wedding.  When is she going to get an invitation?  Hmmmm.  I wasn't so sure about that.  See, she doesn't know about the whole Alex character.  She isn't on my regular MySpace account, doesn't know about the website, etc.  Bringing her to an event in which one of the key lines is "Do you, Alex, take Dani..."  That could be a problem.  Finally I relent, but then there's silence from her.  I heard from her a few times when she first started dating the new guy, but she was consumed with him very quickly the same as she was with the other one before.  She was supposedly an atheist, but the new guy is Catholic (or something), so she is too now.  That kind of shit.

Wondering what's up, I give her a call.  Turns out she's literally in the hospital where her mom is being held after threatening suicide.  The story leading up to this is too long to go into, but I don't even know how it ends.  I called her for a follow-up and had nothing returned.  I emailed her and got nothing back.  A check on her MySpace page tells part of the story.  Where there were once copious "I love you" comments from the last guy, there's a lot of just her space now.  She's listed as single.  And in spite of the fact I haven't heard anything from her in months, I'm still in her Top Friends, albeit down two notches from a few months earlier.  WTF?

Copyright 2007 Ale[x]plorer.  All photos are of the actual individuals described above because, seriously, I can't make this shit up.
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