Yesterday, when Guy and I were returning home after a pleasant evening out, I suddenly had an out-of-body experience.
You see, we had just entered the lobby of our apartment building when I glanced up and saw a relic from my adolescence, the totemic symbol of my high school, the uniform that I wore in gym class every day for 6 years, the iconic orange Fieldston sweatshirt!
The photo at left is the best reproduction I could find online, but the one I remember (and the one the girl in my building was wearing) had white letters instead of blue, with the same word FIELDSTON across the top but a different drawing of an eagle below, and then a solid white bar where we were supposed to write our names in black letters (so that the gym teachers could yell at us by name).
This was the first and only time, since I moved here in 1991, that I ever saw anyone in Seattle wearing this particular item of clothing. I have never encountered anyone here that I recognized from high school either...Fieldston grads just don't tend to move to Seattle. (There is one exception, but she doesn't count because it's not like I ran into her accidentally...she was an old friend who lived here before I did and I stayed with her when I first arrived.)
The exchange that followed was soooooooooo typical. Why did I think 20 + years and 3,000 miles would change a thing? No, I didn't recognize the girl in the sweatshirt...but our interaction sure felt familiar.
I should also say that I didn't even make a conscious decision to talk to her. It was more like I cried out in surprise when I saw her clothes, and suddenly heard the words fly out of my mouth.
Me: Is that a Fieldston sweatshirt??
Girl (flatly): Yes. Why?
Me: I went there.
Girl (bored): When?
Me (beginning to think maybe she is much younger than I am, and thus has the natural disdain of the young for the old): I graduated in 1987. Did you go there?
Girl (unsmiling): Yes, from 1987 to 1990.
Me (thinking, wow, I'm only 3 years older!): Oh.
Then the snotty cold girl, who was just like every snotty cold girl I remember from high school, proceeded silently upstairs after her boyfriend. Guy and I awkwardly followed. And followed. Long, awkward silence. And then she went into her (or her boyfriend's?) apartment, one door down from ours.
Some things never change.