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Thursday, April 20, 2017

Getting Personal

I really don't get super personal here, but today will be an exception.

Let's go back a few months.  An old friend from junior high and high school called me out of the blue and suggested we get together.  I agreed to the concept, but I kept delaying the actual event.  My old friend knows the hours and days I work.  He was completely understanding and forgiving, even though I kept blowing him off.

I sent him a text the other day, saying I'm sorry for the delay.  I'm on vacation.  If you're still interested, name a time, day and location, and I'll make it happen.

It happened Tuesday night.

Part of me looked forward to it.  Another part dreaded it.  He suggested a little corner bar in Scranton.  I agreed, as long as it was non smoking.  It is.  By the way, Diet Cokes were exceptionally reasonable.  It's amazing how many bars soak you for a soda.  Responsible behavior is important, but it can be very expensive.  The food looked great.  However, I wasn't hungry.

The meeting went well.  We had some laughs about the old days, and caught up to current times.  I heard some stories about classmates that I didn't know before, and I'm sort of sorry I learned what I learned.  Be that as it may.

I don't know what my friend expected.  I assured him that I might have grown a bit, but I am essentially the same guy he last saw in a cap and gown nearly forty years ago.

Okay, here is some more personal stuff.  When I'm off duty, Mr. Television goes away.  The TV job is like a coat.  I like it a great deal, but I wear it only when I'm working.  When my shift ends, I enjoy and savor fading in to the background.  I talk for a living.  I don't do much when I'm away from the office.

Take a look at the photos you see here.  You see landscapes, buildings, rivers and a cat.  You almost never see me.  The same goes with Facebook and Instagram.  There is no need to be the center of attention.

What occasionally scares me, is I fear some people mistake retiring for arrogant, because I don't really say much when I'm off duty.  It's happened before.  If you have been offended, I'm sorry.  It wasn't intentional.  Thankfully, my friend "got it" and the night went well.

He suggested doing it again, and possibly adding another friend or two.  I left the door open.  Small steps.  I was one of those high schoolers who had a small, but close circle of friends.  That was more than enough.  There was no desire to be class president.  One of the best feelings ever was when I took off the cap and gown, and walked into the fresh, post-graduation air of an early summer evening.  As I have said here before, I liked learning.  I didn't like high school.

As for my friend, good times and bad.  That's typical.  We've all been there.  Back in the day, he was one of the funnier people at that soul crushing school of mine.  The laughs were important back then.  They still are, and he is still capable of delivering.

I'm sure there's a lesson in here somewhere.  Maybe, a moral of the story.  You may take what you please from the above paragraphs.  Looking ahead is important, but there are times it can be equally important to see where you came from.