So...the other day I found out that a girl from my old neighborhood who was a childhood playmate is now on a reality show. I won't tell you which one because that's not relevant. But I will say, it's not one of those embarrassing shows on network TV that makes you wonder A) if these people were raised by wolves B) if their only skill in life is to belch the alphabet while naked C) if they really expect to find love on TV or (what goes through my mind the most) D) if TV producers will ever return to script writing again.
Anyway, it's weird to see someone I once "knew" on TV. I put that in quotation marks because I haven't seen her in about 20 years. I don't know her now as an adult. I also "knew" her family, who appear on the show now and then. And boy, have they changed!
Realty TV is for other people - weirdos, freaks, opportunists, kids who were severely neglected by their parents - not kids who grew up five houses away from me. I'm glad that she looks well and seems to have a good life now. At least, due to some fine editing, it appears that way.
I've known a few people who became celebrities or pseudo-celebrities...and it's all so fascinating. They had the ambition to push beyond their humble backgrounds to become something a little larger. Or maybe it was just a chance meeting, a lucky draw, an acquaintance that knew someone...that sort of thing that propels the unexpected innocent into the next big star. Or maybe it was just some crazy stage parents who couldn't say "no."
Why do I write this? I guess it's goes back to the question "where is my life going?" When I think about it, I wouldn't trade my life for anything: I have a stable job that brings respect; I relish my privacy tremendously; I like having control over what is disclosed and what is not; I have wonderful people in my life keep me grounded; and it means the world to have just a few friends who love me for who I am - warts and all - rather than a pandering crowd of sycophants. But. It would be nice, for a moment, to know what that exhilaration felt like. And to know that, at least for that brief time, you're life will never be the same.
I hope fame doesn't change my old neighbor.