My first job out of college was at a technology transfer company that these days we would call a startup, but then was just called a company. The founders had started a previous technology company and had invested their own money in transferring aerospace (and other) technology to the automotive industry, specifically for electric vehicles. Realizing that electric vehicles weren't going to happen without advances in technology, the company worked to introduce existing advanced technologies to the automotive industry by developing them enough that they were inexpensive enough and safe enough that car makers would be interested in them.
(Whew! A long introduction that, if I had an editor, would be cut as somewhat not relevant to the rest of the story, but still somewhat relevant as it says "technology" and "electric vehicles" several times, and those are relevant to the rest of this. Yay me! This is going to be a long winding post, I can tell already.)
While working in a building that no longer exists at Burbank airport's skunk works location (another detail that's fuzzy, doesn't seem to fit in my mental timeline correctly, but my mental picture has it correct), a guy walked into the facility and asked the receptionist if he can get a tour or introduction to the facility. He was interested in electric cars, had his resume with him, and was hoping to get a foot in the door. The receptionist (oh, f, I don't recall her name and I wish I did, because she was wicked funny), didn't really know what to do other than take his resume, but I was standing at the receptionist's desk when he came up (or maybe I was called up by the receptionist, this part is particularly fuzzy for some reason, but I recall being at the desk) and offered to give him a tour of our facility. I mean, hey, this guy was cute, why would I not?
Turns out, he was in town, looking for work, staying at a friend's place. They were going to a party in the evening, would I be interested in going? At the time, I had broken up with my boyfriend, and, hey, here's this cute guy my age asking me if I wanted to go to a party. This was so much better than being asked if I wanted to have oral sex with a coworker twice my age, or having another coworker, the head of HR even, come up and stroke my hair. So much way better, so I said yes. I'm sure that this guy's (yeah, yeah, Marc was his name) being cute had a lot to do with my saying yes, too.
I have a vague recollection of the party. I remember getting lost on my way to Marc's place. I remember thinking, wow, this was kinda dumb, safety-wise, when I was at Marc's place with him and a couple of his friends. Either Marc's or Marc's friend's girlfriend was there, too, so I felt a little safer and a lot more awkward, thinking she was really cute. I had driven down to hang out with this group of people, one of whom I had just randomly met, yeah, not so smart safety-wise.
I remember talking a lot with one of Marc's friends, thinking not much of it other than it was nice to be able to talk to someone without history getting in the way, and being surprised at the end of the evening as Marc and another one of his friends apologized most profusely at the first guy hitting on me all night. I had no idea that I was getting hit upon. Yes, clueless me.
All of this was before cellphones, at the dawn of the consumer internet. While I had email at college, at this job I was using the Thomas Register books to look up manufacturers and contacting them via landline phones. There wasn't really any easy way for me to leave a quick note to Marc, nor he to me, so, we wrote letters to each other, thanking each other for different things.
I kept Marc's last letter to me. I tucked it into a page protector and stuck it in a binder, and every three, four years would need something in the binder, or notice the binder and pull it out, and look through it. Sometimes I'd notice Marc's letter and wonder about him, what happened to him. He had a common enough name that I didn't search for him online. I didn't think I'd find him.
Well, I don't have a common name.
He found me.
Apparently, he had kept a letter I wrote to him. While his was all professional, mine was clearly not, and was clearly flirting.
I want to say, "I. Am. So. Embarrassed." and not post the letter he scanned and sent me, but really now, it's part of me, and who I was. I find it amusing, and yeah, somewhat embarrassing, but also cute. My handwriting hasn't changed much, I note.
What I find most amazing, though, is that He. Saved. The. Letter. Too.
This world is smaller than it used to be. Facebook makes finding people easier, though I'm rather anti-facebook at the moment and have it blocked at the network level on my laptop (the blocking I turn off during web development of websites, said so that my clients know I'm not irresponsible when testing their sites) and my account set as private as I can (though Facebook makes that a non-stop moving target). Unfortunately, Facebook also makes it so that you never lose touch with the people you meet, never have that incredible moment when you open a note and have a rush of memories come back and smack you upside the head.
I wonder if he realized I'd post his note. I wonder if he realized Paul did the same thing, six years ago, and how awesome that turned out.
So, hi, Marc. Incredibly awesome to hear from you.
Everyone else lurking, email me already.