When It Comes to Relationships, Let’s Not Take a Tour of the Past

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Girlfriend Mom’s Kid: “Were you in any movies, like the ones you see in the movie theater?”

Girlfriend Mom: “Uh…”

Wow, where did that come from? One minute we’re watching The Conspirator, and the next I’m mentally reviewing my resume. I didn’t answer immediately because I actually couldn’t remember. I couldn’t remember my life! Great.

I didn’t want him to suffer through my forgetfulness, so I said “no”. Thank God he didn’t ask me why, or I might’ve been upset with him for bringing up an emotionally charged and sensitive subject.

Why couldn’t I remember? You’d think something like being in a movie would’ve left an impression, especially since I worked in the entertainment business (at least in one form or another) for 20 years. That world seems like a lifetime ago, and it was. Was this a sign that I had subconsciously (or unconsciously) tucked that world away somewhere? Had there been so much living since those days that it forced me to spring-clean my brain in order to make room for the new crap?

I started thinking about what my boyfriend knows about my “old life.” Of course over the years, he’s heard stories, met friends from those chapters, and read or watched some of my work, but with so much brilliance, how could we possibly get to it all? I couldn’t fill him in on all of it; I don’t have that kind of time. And I’m not so sure he’s all that interested. Then again, I can’t say that I’m on pins and needles either, waiting for him to regale me with his twenty-one year old self’s escapades.

Back in the day, I’d give a boyfriend the whole, “This is where I…” tour. It was cute and romantic and I judged him by how interested he was. The tour began at my elementary school, continuing on to middle school, and ending up at my high school. For the price of admission, you got to see such landmarks as the highway underpass where I was arrested for tagging and the police station, which was also the deli and community center, where I was fingerprinted and had my first mug shots.

If there was time, and that dopey puppy dog smile was still plastered on his face, I’d show him the auditorium where I starred in and directed several productions, as well as the softball field where a crush on my softball coach first bloomed.

What we’re interested in, with regards to the other person’s life before us, is not as abundant in our 30’s and 40’s, as when you meet someone in your teens and twenties. These tours, as fascinating as they are, aren’t as important to my relationships as they once were, nor do I find many requests for them. “Gee sweet pea, I’d love to see where you shoplifted that baseball hat you told me about on our first date.”

Face it, no one really cares. And that’s okay. In my last couple of relationships, tours were skipped and the parade of old photo albums was omitted. You’re welcome, fellas.

But then my mother opened her trap at Thanksgiving. She wouldn’t stop singing my praises (and my mom can sing) to my lover about a couple of videos that I made for her and my dad for their 50th birthdays, that he HAD to see. No, he didn’t, mother. We’ve been doing just fine without them. It’s probably me, but it feels strange to show my boyfriend, at 45 years old, something I made when I was 25. Yeah, it’s definitely me.

I wanted her to stop singing, so I borrowed the movies and last night we had a big Hollywood screening in our living room. I was so proud of them at the time, and I suppose I still am. They were raw, and technically crude, but creatively advanced. I don’t even know what that means. My boyfriend watched respectively with an occasional, “That’s adorable.” And random, “Who’s that?” and “Your thighs were thicker back then.”

I sensed a disconnect. Bored? I don’t know and it honestly didn’t matter. Where I would’ve taken it personally if he didn’t gush and goo over every frame, like when I was younger, (because it would’ve been a direct reflection on how he felt about me) it was no longer personal.

My past, as riveting, scintillating, and illustrious as it is (was?) need not play a significant part in my present. All my lover needs to know about me, is what’s standing right in front of him today, not back in 1992 when my thighs were thick and I wore really big glasses.

We’re both too busy living in the present and there’s not enough mental bandwidth to care about every detail of our past lives.

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