There I stood on the first day of school, just another proud parent of a kindergartner watching adoringly as her kid fumbled with backpack buckles and locker doors. We were all snapping photos like the paparazzi and as I looked away in an effort to not start crying I noticed a dad taking a picture with his iPhone. This guy looked vaguely familiar. Suddenly I was reminded of being single and in my 20s 16 years ago when my roommate was dating this wanna be rock star grunge guy, a guy who by day was really a grad student studying English living with a bunch of equally grunge looking guys in an off the charts grunge guy cheap rental house. This dad really looked like the guy my roommate had dated.
Standing there in my daughter’s classroom I had one of those flashbacks to my single and 20s days that is probably second in awkwardness behind a Guy I Used To Date Sighting (GIUTDS) which, unfortunately, sounds like a urinary tract disease. A GIUTDS is bound to happen when you’re running on four hours of sleep and buying feminine hygiene products, Breathe Right strips, and protein bars at the corner drug store on a Friday night and digging around in your purse for a tampon coupon because this is how you kick off your weekend when you’re 41 with kids. But once, years ago, I was just priming to get ready to go OUT on a Friday night at 8 o’clock, and not getting ready to go home, put on pajamas, and drain a box of wine while watching HGTV.
There he was, your garden variety dad wearing the standard khakis and a plaid button down. I stopped staring at him before people noticed, especially his wife. The teacher was giving us the signal to get lost for the day since the kids were settled and the principle was making morning announcements, and I headed down the hallway and to work and thought nothing more of it…until this weekend.
Miss A attended a birthday party for one of her classmates and while the kids ate cake I was chatting with one of the moms. I knew her first and last name because of an e-mail she’d just sent about our school fall fundraiser. As the party wrapped up and the kids went straight for the goody bags, her husband walked in and then I realized he was that guy…the guy I swore could have been my roommate’s old boyfriend from 16 years ago. But this was just a false alarm. The guy my roommate dated definitely had a different last name. I’m just really thankful I didn’t have that awkward, “Hey you dated my friend 16 years ago!” and “Weren’t you in a grunge band?” conversation. His wife is probably thankful, too. If nothing else, this has inspired me to track down the Singles soundtrack. It’s been a while since I cranked some Pearl Jam or Soundgarden.