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Making a choice about the past

Martin Roberts is in two minds

An opportunity arose yesterday that has left me on the horns of a dilemma, as I shall now explain.

I happen to possess two email addresses, the second set up a while back specifically as an intended ‘business’ version. Since then, as it happens, I have had precious little business to conduct and effectively it became dormant about three years ago.

Last week I met up with a pal and, as we discussed a document that he wished to send me by email, I handed him my contact details ‘card’ (I used to call it my business card, but these days it hardly warrants that heady title) on which both my email addresses featured.

Yesterday I discovered that my growing suspicion he may have sent the expected document to my business account, rather than my main one, was well-founded.

After dealing with said item, I flicked through the approximately 40 other emails that had been received at my ‘business’ email address since I last visited it between six and nine months ago. Inevitably 99% of them were irrelevant or spam, but there was one from my publisher.

When I opened it, he had ‘forwarded’ to me a copy of an email from a member of the public who had asked him to do this, leaving me to choose between responding to it and not.

Said contact, which seemed entirely genuine, had come from a gentleman with whom I was once at prep school some fifty years ago. He had purchased a book I had written and then, Googling me on the internet, had confirmed to his own satisfaction that the author and I were one and the same. His email suggested that we meet and catch-up.

To be frank, I’m undecided about the prospect.

Fifty years ago our common interest in all things sporting meant that we were close pals, rather than just school acquaintances, to the point where – from time to time between the ages of about 9 and 13 – occasionally we would spend a few days with each other’s families during the school holidays.

As regards meeting up, part of me feels ‘Why not? It might be fun’. I’ve no idea what the chap has done with his life, apart from the little he has divulged in his email.

But then again, part of me also feels ‘What’s the bloody point?’

We haven’t been in contact for fifty years and – at this distance – I cannot envisage what possible benefit to my future life meeting up with said individual is going to bring. For one thing, apart from his name and that of the school we were at, I can remember precious little of anything that took place fifteen years ago, let alone fifty … and (the bottom line is) that’s all we have in common.

I’m not the sort of cove who has much interest in catching up with someone just for the sake of it.

Right now, I’m wrestling with the issue. I’m wondering whether age is a factor in my uncertainty. Would I have been keener on catching up with someone from my past if I had been say thirty-two instead of sixty-two?

In a sense it’s irrelevant. The only criteria, surely, is whether I wish to meet up with this guy in the here and now.

Mind you, there’s another element that may in the end decide which way I go on the subject – my general sense of inertia.



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About Martin Roberts

A former motoring journalist, Martin lists amongst his greatest achievements giving up smoking. Three times. He holds to the view that growing old is not for the faint-hearted. More Posts