Wednesday, September 24, 2008
I've always taken the word ambivalent to be pejorative. I think it is because when i was younger i thought it was equivalent to apathetic. Or it could be because in college the real definition of "opposite or conflicting feelings at the same time" was explained to me by a boy who at the time was ambivalent about our relationship (that was a fun time, really). I know that being conflicted is not necessarily a bad thing, but i've never quite shaken my distaste for the word. I bring this up because today i had an experience that left me ambivalent. The PE teacher at the school i was at today recognized me - we went to elementary school together. Weird. We talked about kids from class and whether or not we know where they are now; he has run into a lot of these people in the last 15 years. Hearing that people that really used to matter to me were married with kids of their own was cool, but hearing that some of them have had a rough life was upsetting. It was unsettling to realize that we both turned into different people since we used to eat lunch together : he was angry and an upstart back then (turns out he couldn't read - i had no idea) and now he is a PE teacher in the city with a degree in specialized PE (working with special needs kids). Who would have thought that this kid that HATED school would end up a teacher? And what about me? Am I where anyone would have guessed i'd be when i was 11? He asked me, " So what did you do after school? You have to be a doctor or something" and when i gave him the degree rundown he said, "Well i knew it had to be something; you came out of the womb reading a dictionary." It was sorta neat to hear that in his memory i was so smart, but weird to know that in reality i just blossomed early and that eventually everybody else caught up with me intellectually. Plus he called me Bob. I haven't even thought about the fact that my 6th grade nickname was Bob - even my teacher called me that. Weird. The entire thing was weird : good, bad, unsettling, heart-warming, weird. Ambivalent.