Rants & Essays

What For?

By Marcus Pan

Laura got a strange call recently. I can't even remember the name of the guy, but he had asked for me while I was out doing something (work, soccer, etc.) and she took a message. The message was that it was something about "an old friend." So later that night I called it back and I get this guy and he asks me if I remember a girl I used to date nigh on a decade ago. Well sure, that was 3 years of my life swallowed whole. So he says he married her. And I'm wondering where I should send the medal. And then he asks me if our break up was nasty or nice or what. And all I could remember was that it was somewhat shaky. And the clincher – would I be interested in talking to her.

"What for?"

Let's think about this. At least for the 5 or so seconds it took me to give that answer. What possible reason do I have to be interested in talking to someone that I have had nothing to do with in over a decade?

My friends, as they have gotten older, hit their late 20s early 30s, suddenly have been finding this desire to go back in time to rectify things with people. I don't see the reason for it. Maybe I'm callous, but what for? The only thing I can think of is that the G girl might want to do the same. Rectify things. Surely I'm no saint, but maybe she feels she owes me something. An apology perhaps? What for? Only vague shades of grey come back to me to begin with. I recall her playing a little bit behind my back, but she was young – we both were. And I recall us having gone back and forth a few times. What would the conversation entail exactly – "Oops my bad?" Or maybe it would be, "Well if you didn't...I wouldn't have..." Why open that? It's been sleeping for so long there's really no reason to wake up.

Or maybe it would have been one of those catch-up conversations. Those can be fun, in a chance meeting. "So what have you been up to?" "Oh nothing much...run a magazine, own a house, great wife, cool kids, coach an all star team..." I tend to win those. Or maybe it would have been a memorial conversation. "Do you remember that time we...?" "No."

Am I interested in talking to her? What for?

I don't get the whole thing about contacting people for amends. I mean it's been...well Laura and I have been together for about 8 years, and prior to that was Kat for a couple...so over a decade. Maybe they've been replaying Flatliners on TV too often and now everybody's running into the past to say oops, my bad. Well I'm not going to say oops my bad. I'm too busy.

Sometimes the cogs in the wheel of life get rusty and break and pop out. So you replace those cogs with bigger, shinier, longer lasting cogs to keep your wheel of life moving. And what you're supposed to do is throw those cogs away. Some people like to keep a few in a box in the top of the closet...but whatever you do, don't try and put those cogs back on the wheel. You've upgraded. Putting old, rusty broken cogs back in is only going to make the wheel go slower. This particular cog from a decade ago has been obsolete for 10 years now, and I really don't have any room for it because I have these bigger, cooler, faster and shinier cogs that are going to last a lifetime. There's just nowhere to put any of the old ones back. And I checked my closet...it isn't one of the cogs I kept in the box anyway.

What for?

Original a MagMan LiveJournal entry dated May 18, 2004.