Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The Wonderful World Wide Web

Ok, so the Finnish reference in the Air Guitar story ... and Björn Türoque reminded me of a girl I went to High School with (well, sort of. She was a Finnish exchange student our senior year) Her name was Johanna Sarmela. Stunningly beautiful girl, she was, easily the prettiest in at St. Clair High School at the time. Not only did she have clear eyes that smiled and sparkled, practically perfect complexion, and gorgeous fine off-blonde hair that never seemed out of place no matter how it moved - she also had a mature, kind, and gentle aura about her which nobody else my age seemed to have. Of course, her foriegn accent didn't hurt any, either. Quite endearing.

Although I didn't know her well, her beauty (and her brains-she was intelligent!) and her kind disposition somehow inspired in me some foolish courage to ... ask her to the senior prom. I didn't expect her to say "yes" but it was ... I don't know. I was a terribly shy and incredibly socially-inept teenager without the courage to ask even someone who knew me well and I liked out on a date (that's an entirely different story). But something about this young lady moved me to just damn the inevitable rejection -- because it would be worth taking the infinitesimal chance that maybe, just maybe... she might say yes.

She didn't.

I didn't blame her. I probably wouldn't have gone with me, either. She was very nice about it (which, in retrospect I probably figured she would be and that probably helped me get through my gut-wrenching apprehension). Anyway... that was that.

One thing I used to be pretty good at in high school was art, and I took 4 years of art. As sort of a tribute (or maybe as an excuse to gaze at her picture for hours on end), I made a pencil sketch of her with a Finnish Flag for a pendant round her neck and gave it to her. I thought for a moment I might not have given her the original, but all I have is a photocopy. Good. At least I had the class to give it to her. I don't think I did two originals. Anyway, that's it at the top of this post.

Anyway, just out of curiosity, I typed her name into Google today, expecting to find anything about her about as much as I expected her to say "yes" when I asked her to be my prom date. Well, life is much luckier for me than it used to be in general, and lo and behold, I found her. A tiny picture of her told me immediately it was her. I gathered from looking at the page (which is all in Finnish) that she is some sort of eye specialist in Helsinki at a private eye clinic (I did do some Finnish-English translation ... what I could, from an online dicitonary).

Sometimes you just want to know how people you knew are doing today. It's even cooler when they're halfway around the world for some reason.

Twenty four years later, still as pretty as ever. Well thought-of by her collegues*. And probably fairly successful. And helping people to see.

That's nice to know.

* from a reference to her in a collegue's thesis paper.

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