Tuesday, March 13, 2007


Yesterday I visited an old friend. Someone I hadn't seen in the last five years. We became friends over our mutual misery we had in our first jobs (we both worked for the same boss) out in the real world and our love of travel. We traveled together a lot in that job and usually with each other. I think I had forgotten that until last night when I reviewed some old photos of all the places we had been. We both ended up moving to places we traveled to for work. It worked for her and not for me.

We met however in College Park. Aah, my old alma mater. How I love thee. My Maryland, my Maryland. Garyland, Go Terps, and all that other stuff. How odd it was to go back with T.D. in tow. There I was navigating the crowded streets in my giant SUV, or at least it felt that way with all the civics and smaller college cars around. Where were the athletes in their big SUV's? The ones who always got out of parking tickets when I went to school there. Students darting here and there looking incredibly young to me.

It felt like eons ago that I was there as I hoisted T.D. on my hip and walked to the restaurant for lunch with my friend. The idea of breaking out the stroller was just too much. Like a beacon saying, "Look at me! The old lady with a kid!" Really though no one was looking at me at all because I was just some adult on the sidewalk and they are busy going about their lives. The restaurant we chose was one I loved back in college. We frequented it for happy hours every week and I thought heaven was in there chicken salad sandwich. As we walked in to the empty by day bar showing all its wear and tear from years of students puking in trashcans and boots and heels scuffing the hardwood floors I felt so strange. It's bright in there by day and the search for a high chair(?) was long. They had one. I had to laugh. Why would they ever need a high chair. Suddenly my diaper bag felt like an artic explorers backpack in size. The waitress looked thrilled to have a tot at her table. Don't worry I cleaned up the grilled cheese and pickle bits off the floor for her and tipped her well.

A few college girls with their Moms having lunch remarked on T.D.'s cuteness while I inwardly thought, "Oh, I used to be one of you...watch out it goes so fast!" Life seemed SO complicated and stressful then. Ha! I remember an aunt telling me that it may seem that way now, but it's the most unencumbered time of your life. How right she was. Enjoy it she said, and I did. I had to laugh when I went into the bathroom, probably the first time I've ever used it sober, and it was still just as gross during the day. The doors didn't close, the toilets still don't flush right and the stall had 'KD 4-EVA' scratched into the side. Some things never change do they?

I pointed out a few spots to T.D. on our walk back to the car. "That's where Daddy wrote, I love you, in the snow to Mommy." and "Here is where Daddy and Mommy had a big ol' white trash fight." You get the idea. Memories. Things change. We grow up, move to new places, start lives, restaurants with heavenly chicken salad sandwiches are out of chicken salad the day you visit, and suddenly you see more of the old, scarred floors, dusty windows, cracked and peeling paint that you never noticed before. You love it still, but now in a different way. Just like you still have to hover to pee in the bathroom because it probably hasn't really been cleaned since 1986.

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