Stew and politics, pt 1

While any number of social networking apps seem stalker friendly, the past 18 months have brought old acquaintances back to me through much less direct means.  For the most part.  There is that random person on Facebook with whom I was only vaguely acquainted for about eight months in high school and a community member whom I met during my final months at BPL, when we worked on a project together, who tracked me through LinkedIn.

The gateway of choice for memories and ghosts to come looking for me here, however, seems to be by asking at the library.  It’s a pretty general and impersonal approach, involving the seeker writing an email that goes through a couple different sets of eyes/computers before one specific fellow decides I must be the object of the inquiry and shoots me an email with both the original ask and the little trail of “where does this go?” attached.  Most of the ones that have come this way are relatively recent acquaintances, say of the past decade.

So I was stunned as I went through two weeks of accumulated work email yesterday to come across the latest of these little suggestions that time may march on but some folks have long memories.  If my name were a little less unique, I’m thinking that this email would never have reached my desk, but I can see the staffer’s viewpoint that if anyone asks for someone who bears my name, the inquiry is almost certainly meant for me.  In this case, the writer had my name as well as the location and name of the school I attended in grade 2.  Grade 2?!  Although the writer’s name is filed in my mental catalog of elementary school classmates, I have no memory of friendship, enmity or even of casual acquaintance outside the classroom.  And since I am in contact with zip, zero, nobody among those who would have been our peers, I am at a loss as to the why and how of the tracking down. It’s not like I didn’t move several dozen times, attend schools elsewhere than the city in question, and eventually go so far as to leave the country. I haven’t exactly been a sitting duck for the past several decades.

So, there’s this morning’s bowl of stew: what to do…. If it were just a tad less odd (and I have received a few of those through the same channel), I’d ignore it.  If it were a lot less odd (and I’ve received those, too, through that channel), I would reconnect (often, not always).  I contacted the one person I do know who lives in the same city where the inquirer now lives (and it’s not the one where we were in second grade) and asked straight up if she might have created the link; she’s never heard of the inquirer, but had some wonderfully witty pronouncements on cyberstalking.  It’s so very hard to see a 7-year-old as a stalker, though, and I have no context except that image for this inquirer.

So, what to do?  I’ve given myself the weekend to stew about it and gather whatever random opinions come my way (this is, after all, the sort of situation about which it’s more fun to give advice than to be the decision maker).  And then? Well, then….

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