While I was home in Michigan last month I had lunch out by the mall with Karlee and Megan, two of my friends from high school. Over salads and French fries at one of those places where it's perfectly fine to toss empty peanut shells onto the floor we caught one another up on our jobs and our relationships, shared gossip about our old classmates and laughed at memories from when we were younger. At some point during the conversation Megan, who was sitting across the table from me, her one-year-old daughter asleep in a carseat in the booth beside her, looked at me and said, "I can't believe I haven't seen you since graduation." At first I thought that she, my first and only girlfriend, for less than one month in eighth grade, had misspoken. Surely we'd seen each other at least once in the past twelve years, at a homecoming football game or a wedding reception or a grocery store in our hometown. But as I turned her words over in my mind from the driver's seat of my mom's Honda on the snowy drive back to my parents' condo after lunch I came to the realization that she was right, it had been more than a decade since we'd been in the same room together. I thought about how maybe the years hadn't felt so long to me because we've kept in pretty close contact electronically, connecting via text and on Twitter to share small, casual parts of our lives.
Yesterday, when it was far too late in the timezone she's living in for her to be awake, I sent Megan a text about how I planned to look for photos of us from our middle school days next time I'm home and this morning I awoke to the following picture of when we were "going out" at thirteen or fourteen.
For the next few minutes we exchanged messages about our lives then, about the school uniforms we wore and how my hair was once streaked blonde from putting peroxide in it on a spring break trip to Florida with the Boones. Despite our distance, I smiled through the whole conversation.
I know that I've mentioned this before, that sometimes, to me at least, technology can feel like noise. But mostly, overwhelmingly so actually, I'm so grateful for it, because it allows for people who I hardly see anymore but knew so well once to text message silly pictures from when I was much younger and still wearing school uniforms and bleaching my hair with two of my best friends in a hotel bathroom in Florida on spring break.