A few days ago, I was going into a sandwich shop and spotted an old acquaintance. He hadn't noticed me, and honestly, I would have been ok if he never did, but as i crept closer to the sandwich pickup spot, I passed within inches of his table, and our eyes met.
It was Matt, the saxophonist from my high school rock band PG13. Ok - it was 1984-1986. We loved INXS. We played half covers, half originals, and weren't half bad... but we did have a saxophonist, and he loved to play. He played on and over every single song we wrote - no matter if we were singing, a guitar solo, whatever, there was this honking going on at all times. And he was WAY more serious about "The Band" than any of the rest of us combined - he really wanted to go to the top.
He was also a very mean person in some ways: his screamed phone conversations with his mother during band practices were equal parts hilarious and chilling - we weren't sure if both would survive. He also had some very non-sequiteur expressions: Talking about a family that was "Old World", he said "Old world? Third world! Probably squeezing out babies right now". This was about a polish maestro and his son our good friend. Bizarre.
Things with Matt after the band got strange(r) - he got into fast motorcycles, went off to a music college, tried to get my mom to co-sign on a loan for a soprano saxophone. I saw him every few years after that - suddenly he was a bouncer at William's pub? I heard second hand that he had created a combination Bass and Sax, which made no sense, because during a sax solo, wouldn't you still need the bass going?
So now I see him again, and he's looking like a Gym Rat, with a shockingly young miss thang with a bare midriff, improbable chest, and "Diva" printed across her bum. He gives me a very mild "hey" and asks "so are you still doing that thing you were doing last time we met?" - possibly the most effective way of saying "I don't remember, nor do I care what your life is". So I said yes, gave him the 10 second update. He shared that he owns a Gym not far away... and that's it.
So we parted ways... in truth, we were never friends, just co-workers in a band, and without that context, there just isn't much to relate. I refused to ask the question "do you still do music". That feels like I'd be trying to connect, and this is a guy I don't need to connect with.
No big lesson here, and not a hilarious story - just an odd encounter with the past.