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...



Janice

Then:
Janice (not her real name) and I were pretty much best friends during my first semester in college.  I know what you're thinking, but, no, we never dated.  She always hinted at wanting me to make a move, but if you superimpose my shallowness over her picture, you'll have no trouble getting where I'm coming from.

Things went downhill between us when I started dating Cathleen.  Actually, after my romantic relationship with Cathleen had ended, we still continued to be friends, only with her basically supplanting Janice in the best friend role.  And why not?  Cathleen actually went out and met people instead of sequestering herself to the dorm all weekend playing board games.

Later Janice got engaged to my one-time roommate Ron (who she dated throughout the semester I lived with him... with her in my room constantly).  The entire relationship with the borderline autistic math/physics double major seemed forced and perhaps even calculated to make me jealous.  It didn't, and the subsequent split with him was even less effective at getting my attention when she blindsided him with a break up over the summer before he went away to grad school.

See, after the breakup, she expected to be a free woman, but I had transferred to a different college (not because of her, believe it or not) and was nowhere to be found the next year.  You would think that the fact I never told her I was skipping town would have been a hint, but she tracked down my email (no small feat back in the pre-Google days of 1995) and messaged and sent me letters and cards... in spite of the fact I never replied to a single one of them.

The further I got away from Janice, the more delusional she became, and the letters and cards continued for five (FIVE!) years, often beginning as though we were in the middle on an on-going conversation between long-time friends.  In her mind, I guess that's what it was.  By the end, the correspondence was mainly to my parents in an apparent attempt to win them over into lobbying her case by proxy.  The saga ended abruptly when my mom finally wrote her back with the news that I had gotten married and moved to Texas.


Now:
While Janice doesn't have a MySpace page, she has left a lot of other traces around the web over the years giving me a chance to turn the tables and cyberstalk her, albeit for a millionth of the duration of her effort.

It seems inevitable in hindsight, but her life and personality have been completely subsumed by something that grew out of her uterus until it overwhelmed and overtook every aspect of her former self.  There is nothing left to her identity that does not fall under the heading "Mother."  It's sad too, because it's an (over-)education wasted.

After she graduated, Janice went to school up north and ended up with a master's in English, then worked on a Ph.D. in philosophy.  Apparently disillusioned with the program (based on what I understand from things she told my parents), she gave up on the Ph.D. and took another master's.  She ended up teaching at a Catholic high school for a while, though she is not listed among the current faculty.

From her online tracks we can tell that she married, hates her in-laws (but who doesn't?), and has a daughter who is now approaching three years-old.  She is still fairly obsessed with U2 which has pretty much been the case since I first met her.  In fact, one of her unsolicited emails was a request for me to petition Ireland not to tear down some ancient studio where U2 once recorded something.  If that's kind of vague on my part, then that ought to tell you how much I and most of the world cared.

Shortly after her wedding, she wanted to become a wedding planner, but those plans seem to have fizzled.  After she had the kid, she turned into an obsessive mom.  In addition to the photographic studies of her scowling child (and the cat), there are scores of posts on mothering websites with questions and suggestions on the minutia of motherhood that seem to have consumed her worldview.  On one site there is an 850 word review by her of... get this: a stroller.  If you can come up with 850 words about a stroller, then maybe you two should have coffee sometime.


Hypothetical letter I'll probably never send to her:
Janice,

Call me?  Please?

Love (of your life),

-Ron.


Copyright 2007 Ale[x]plorer.  All photos are of the actual individuals described above because, seriously, I can't make this shit up.  Except for the "now" one here because Janice won't let a camera get between her and the internet.
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