True Stories: Dear Myself Circa 1998

You know that cute guy in history class?

By Rose Mailer

Dear Myself, Circa 1998,

I know what you were doing twelve years ago, the night of March 5 — at least, I have a pretty good guess. After all, Thursday was when Star Trek: Deep Space Nine was on: the new episode that night, according to the Internet, was "Change of Heart," in which Lieutenants Worf and Dax get stranded on a boring alien planet. So after an afternoon of procrastinating and web browsing, you probably watched the new episode, then retreated to your bedroom to finally begin working on your abandoned homework. Perhaps you'd already figured out what you could put off until the next day, and had retreated to bed, curled up around an old Kurt Vonnegut novel and half-asleep in the dim lamplight.

But in 2008, March 5 was a Wednesday, and what I was doing that night was, oddly, thinking about you. Because I was also in my room — this time, my bedroom in my Los Angeles apartment. And Jonathan H. had just come all over my new Target bedspread.

Yeah, you heard me right. Jonathan H., that guy from honors English and History. That guy who never talks to you and plays four sports (despite our high school only having three sports seasons) and is way more popular than you think you'll ever be. I don't remember you ever finding him very attractive — as I recall, you're currently pretty obsessed with that guy Louie, hoping against any basic grasp of reality that one day he'll notice you. So all you and Jonathan H. have in common in 1998 is that you're both sub-par honors students — you because of the procrastinating and TV, he because, well, he doesn't seem very bright. Just smart enough to tread water and — spoiler alert, 1998 Me — go to a second-tier Ivy League school, one that values well rounded extracurriculars more than high test scores.

You've probably assumed that you'll never hear from him after graduation, but that's not how this story goes.

You've probably assumed that you'll never hear from Jonathan H. again after graduation, but 1998 Me, that's not how this story goes. Because you know that thing called the internet? Which already kind of sort of consumes your life? Well, in ten years you're going to work on it full-time, which means being on every social-networking site and literally sharing a bed with your laptop. It's a fun gig — you're going to like it — especially because of the interesting bits of the past it turns up.

Like, for example, Jonathan H. finding my profile on Facebook, and getting in touch. Because Jonathan H., circa 2008, worked in sales for an Internet start-up, while aspiring to be a screenwriter. And when Jonathan H. saw that I had a degree in film, that I now also worked part-time for at least one entertainment publication, and that after the application of some hardcore cleansers, my skin had finally cleared up... well, Jonathan H. was impressed, I suppose.

1998 Me, trust me. Of all the shit that's going to happen to you between here and there — getting a tattoo, couch-surfing your way across the country, making coffee for sitcom stars — this is by far the weirdest.

Jonathan H. and I spent about two months in early 2008 trading messages via Facebook, a bland correspondence about movies — he was much more up-to-date than I was on the latest releases, but I didn't care too much either way. It was that same indifference that led me to think nothing of Jonathan H., in town for business, asking me out for a drink. And that led to March 5th, and the post-jock bulk of Jonathan H.'s naked body spreadeagled on my bed. And me thinking of you.

I wasn't feeling at all attractive that night — I hadn't showered, I was on my period, it was the midpoint of a long hard week. For the sake of appearances, I might have been wearing a skirt, but I really just wanted to down one martini, hear gossip about people I stopped caring about the day after graduation, and curl up in bed with my TiVo remote. (Um, I don't have time to explain TiVo to you right now, but it's going to be like the second or third best thing that ever happens to you.) Just understand that I started off that night not taking it very seriously.

Commentarium (29 Comments)

Mar 02 10 - 1:35pm
gett

That was just beautiful...

Mar 02 10 - 6:35am
DCF

This was absolutely worth reading first thing this morning.

Mar 02 10 - 8:40am
mama

Oh, I love it! It makes me want to write a letter the old me. I agree with DCF ... this was ABSOLUTELY worth reading first thing this morning. :o)
www.whathappened116.wordpress.com

Mar 02 10 - 8:56am
RM

Very cute. I always wish I could go back in time and give my younger more awkward self a few tips, i.e. tell my high school self that at a size 8 I was no where near fat and that one day I would kill to be so easily slim. These days it takes hours at the gym.

Jul 13 12 - 2:02am
src

Yes, same here! Unfortunately my present day self loathes the gym as much as ever.

Mar 02 10 - 10:26am
jh

A+

Mar 02 10 - 10:51am
Bwr

What a great piece of writing. Keep it up!

Mar 02 10 - 11:29am
Dan

Oh god, I can so relate to this.

Mar 02 10 - 12:40pm
Sean

Very well done. Nice X-Files name drop too!

Mar 02 10 - 12:46pm
diff

Love, love, love it. Thank you Nerve for posting something decent this morning.

Mar 02 10 - 12:57pm
LF

Similar thing happened to me a few years ago and I was thinking the exact same thing. This is great.

Mar 02 10 - 3:29pm
rem

I LOL'd at the TIVO bit, and many other parts.

Mar 02 10 - 4:01pm
RWL

How I wish we could actually get those letters from ourselves in the future. This was great

Mar 02 10 - 9:53pm
mmc

awesome, very well done

Mar 02 10 - 10:18pm
LT

This was fantastic!

Mar 02 10 - 11:32pm
upm

LOVE!

Mar 03 10 - 1:02pm
lm

I perfectly understand this story. Ah just last week I had him in my bed, and even if we could not finish the deed, its a moment that I know will always pop in my head.

Mar 03 10 - 1:36pm
Jayd

This was an amazing read. And I found it on all days where I was feeling my crappiest about a looming 10 yr reunion.

Mar 03 10 - 2:51pm
tr

So what happened??? Was there a golden shower or now?

Mar 03 10 - 8:50pm
GJ

Been there, done that, got the awesome story, moved on (with new confidence). A+

Mar 03 10 - 10:55pm
Mel

So easy for me to relate-- also gives me hope for my own future. A big 'thank you' to the writer!

Mar 04 10 - 11:53am
yH

nice piece

Mar 04 10 - 4:26pm
JM

Great Writing

Mar 08 10 - 6:19pm
TR

That was pretty awesome. 1998 me was astonishingly similar to 1998 you.

Mar 17 10 - 12:37am
cjm

I would tell my 1998 self not to have so much bad, meaningless sex

Oct 01 10 - 4:16pm
serialcoder

Respect to the author of original work. I am want to say thanks for funny post, and thanks to google and yahoo for perfect blog search.

Nov 12 10 - 10:57pm
Paris

I love everything about this story.

Feb 04 11 - 10:51pm
Download Avah

Hot blog with clever texts!

Feb 18 11 - 2:19pm
Patch Claire

ha-ha-ha-ha! That is standart point of view, be more original!