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...



Rachel

Then:
In high school Rachel (not her real name) pretty much always hung around with Henry, who you may recall from an earlier episode as lying on the gay spectrum somewhere between Broadway and off-Broadway.  Obviously they were just friends, but Rachel wasn't really getting asked out all that much on the assumption that, well, maybe he wasn't really gay after all.  Also, she was more a skinny tomboy than a stereotypical fag hag, so the resulting vibes that pairing put out required a level of social cryptography few were willing to undertake.

Rachel and I rode the bus together, but we didn't hang out all that much in high school other than I gave her a ride to a party once.  However, our respective folks went to the same church.  She was the black sheep of her family in many of the same ways as I was in mine, and you could tell early on that she wanted no part of the dogma the rest of her clan bought into.

She had something of a middle child complex, only worse because you have to round up since she was the second of four.  This was almost certainly brought on and exacerbated by years of unfavorable comparisons with her goodie-goodie older sister Melissa (not her real name either).  Melissa always did what was expected of her, never drank or smoked, etc.  Rachel did, well, just about everything wrong as far as her parents were concerned.

The two sisters worked at a hardware store together for a while.  Ironically, it was Melissa (who I used to refer to as Betty Crocker) who continued working there for years.  Rachel was let go before very long, ostensibly because there wasn't enough work for her (never mind the "Now hiring" sign that followed her departure).  Whereas Melissa always met you with pleasant smile, Rachel would honestly threaten to cut your balls off if she didn't like you.  In short, the two of them were like sisters Bianca and Katherine in The Taming of the Shrew (only Bianca is the older one in this case).  Or for the not-so-literary-minded members of my generation, try instead the female vertices of the love triangle in Some Kind of Wonderful.  Guess which of the two I had a crush on.

After we graduated I didn't see Rachel for a year before I finally got my act together and started school at the college she was attending.  She and I both lived on campus, albeit at opposite ends.  Melissa, of course, was a resident assistant in the same dorm.  Rachel, on the other hand, moved out with her suitemates and got an apartment.  Unfortunately, she characteristically managed to tangle with the three of them and was forced to find another place within a few months.  Perhaps some early evidence of that rift can be found in the fact that while the other three went home on the weekends, Rachel stayed there.  I'm not sure if this was a reflection of their avoidance of her or of her avoidance of her family who were easily within driving distance.

Cathleen and I hung out with Rachel one of those weekends and stayed up all night watching movies.  I remember getting together with Rachel a few other times after that in which we drove around town in the middle of the night and stopped by different apartment complexes where friends of hers lived.  It was completely aimless and in hindsight was kind of a metaphor for her involvement in school at that point.  She was down to only taking a class or two a semester by this time and dropped out altogether not long after.

We ended up at her place one of these nights, just the two of us watching movies, and I wasn't sure if she was hinting she wanted to get together or not.  I felt like I was getting signals, but I didn't make a move because, well, she was a friend and what if I was wrong?  I don't believe in having regrets because we always learn from our mistakes, but in this case I didn't take the opportunity to make the mistake, so all I took away from that night is a regret.


Now:
I think she's the Unabomber's daughter.  She's got her page locked down to private and she's hiding out in a cabin in sort of the middle of nowhere, geographically speaking.  I don't know how much to read this as a projection of the iconoclastic personality I used to like now extrapolated to antisocial proportions in the present, but I took a chance anyway.  I sent her a friend request and she added me, only to delete me within a few days.  We used to get along back then, but it was weird from the start this time around.  The end of the electronic "friendship" was as abrupt as she always was years ago.

Henry and my ex girlfriend (with a similarly career-sabotaging attitude) Mindy were on her friend list.  Her sister Melissa wasn't on there, but I suspect that has more to do with the fact Melissa just doesn't get this whole MySpace hullabaloo (that's what she'd say probably).  However, they are apparently in contact still since Rachel seems obsessed with Melissa's kid (whose picture even served as his aunt's avatar).  Ironically, on her own profile she states "Not for me" under kids.


Actual letter she'll probably never read:
Rachel,

Well, now I'm confused.  I'm not sure what I did to offend you (either in the past or the present?).  Maybe this is a case of mistaken identity on my part (on an existential level or otherwise).  The person I thought I was writing was one of my favorite people from my past, someone who I admired because of her honesty and her strict "no bullshit" policy, something I've adopted myself.

I had hoped to reconnect with that person and see how the hell her life was going.  I was (and still am) curious about the journey she's traveled thus far, and I hoped to share some stories with her.  Actually, another mutual friend [I told Cathleen I had found her -Editor] shared my interest and will now be saddened by the apparent dead end we've encountered.

-Alex.


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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