We’ve all searched online for people from our past, hoping to catch a virtual glimpse of where they are and what they are now doing. (As well as how much they paid for their houses and what their spouses/partners look like.) Come on, admit it. You’ve done it countless times. Oh, for Pete’s sake, you’ve googled yourself, too… don’t even try to deny it!
I’ve done my share of Internet sleuthing throughout the years, but really only as something to do while I awaited my zappos order to flash “complete.”
Today I made a concerted effort–a real attempt–to track down someone from my past. Let’s call him… how about…I dunno… “Peeta.” Yeah, Peeta.
Peeta was a calming influence in my life at a time when I was bouncing off more walls than a squash ball. We were friends; or rather, he was a friend to me and I let him be. I didn’t give much of anything back. If Haymitch happened to be around at the time, he woulda hit me with his, “You could live a hundred lifetimes and not deserve him” line.
And it would have been fitting. Frankly, I was too wrapped up in my own drama to be a worthy companion to Peeta. (This despite his charming accent). Not sure why he hung out with me. Perhaps I offered him entertainment value, much the same way pigeons pecking at buttons delight scores of operant conditioning psychologists.
But, back to the story. The regular old search engines brought up nothing of import. I googled, binged, yahoo’d, Ask(ed) and even dogpiled Peeta with results that were, well, dogpile-ish. I took stock of my situation and the likelihood of success in tracking him down using layman tools. So, here’s my tally:
- “Peeta’s” real name isn’t common… +1 point.
- …here in the US, but isn’t uncommon abroad. -1 point.
- I know he lives outside the US…+ 1 point.
- …but I don’t have any idea where. -1 point.
- I know the name of the first company he worked for… +1 point
- …which was about 13 or 14 years ago. -1 point
- We did have one friend in common…+1 point
- …his girlfriend, who, in the throes of their messy “divorce” dumped everyone associated with him, including me. -1 point.
You, uh, see where this is going.
Yet, after an hour or two of clicks, pings and backspaces I *think* I may have found him. I don’t have a direct email; just the name of a company where he may be employed. I sent a vague message to the “info@company” address. It was something along the lines of, “Like, I’m trying to track down someone who might work at your company, so employee privacy be damned, just tell me: Is he there or not? And while you’re at it, if he is, please supply me with all of his personal contact information.”
Each day of 2014, I’m