Saturday, January 5, 2019

Gen X File #002: Kenneth!

Kenneth! gets a big exclamation point because WOW! It's been forever since we've been saying we'll get together. And we FINALLY GOT TOGETHER, so I'm super-stoked about it.




When I was in my 30s, an email landed in my inbox with the subject, if memory serves, reading "Blast from the Past...?" The sender's name certainly proved that:  here was an email from someone I hadn't seen since we were kids. Kenneth had found my blog, in those days penned under my rock name Lexi Kahn. Between my PR photo and context, Ken had deduced that the blogger was in fact me, Michelle DiPoala, the awkwardest of St. Margaret's School's classmates. Kenneth's note revealed that he, too, lived in the Boston area (wow!) and we vowed to set plans to meet for coffee at some point. But we did not meet for coffee at any point...not, that is, until today. Hey, it only took twelve or thirteen years to set the date. In a way, our spectacular procrastination made for perfect timing. Though I have no intention of publishing the Gen X Report in order of Interview Subjects, as it happens Ken is the perfect Gen X File #002, and he was game for the idea. That's what I like: buy-in. I only hope the next 51 people I call are equally down for this project.

As expected, this first interview of the Gen X Report was a solid conversation between old friends. During our talk, I messaged Colleen and Simone. Simone had a question about Ken's ascot, which is a story from third grade. You'll get to hear her question, and Ken's answer, when this webisode of The Gen X Report gets posted. [Date TBA] 

My Extemporaneous Notes

Today was rainy, so I was a bit wet after taking the #1 bus from Harvard to Central, and a quick but splashy walk from Central along Inman Street. Just as I reached the corner about to cross Hampshire to 1369 Coffee, I spotted Ken approaching on foot from the other direction. We waved, so then I didn't know where to look during the however-long-it-takes for the light to change. I'm so awkward in person, it's not even funny. "You got taller!" is of course the first thing I said. Could I be any more of a dork? You got taller, really?

But Ken laughed, and I remembered that he was called "friend" in grade school because he was one of the few who "got me." I was always such a weird little person, and had more bullies than friends. We were going to have coffee at 1369, but had a back-up plan ready in case it was too crowded and hot—it was. I used to love doing interviews at 1369 back in my Lexi Kahn days, and surely will again. But today it was packed, and because of the pouring rain, my glasses fogged up the minute we were inside the door. So we crossed to S&S, which was a godsend, because I was suddenly ravenous. I ate the whole hell outta a bowl of mac & cheese. Why is S&S so good, I love that place. Ken had a burger. It took over three hours to catch up on what's happened since 7th grade. It's been...a lot. My face hurt from laughing, and there were quiet moments as we talked about losing touch and losing  friends, the crazy blur that was our 20s, bouts with anxiety and depression, reaching the age where our parents are turning gray and slowing down. He lost his dad a few years ago. He got married and has two kids. We talked about how expensive it is to live and work in the Boston area. Ken went to school for a long time, he's got several degrees, and specializes in bioinformatics, microbiology, computational biology, database engineering and architecture, data wrangling, research informatics and software development.

Tag/Abstract:

The 1970s
St. Margaret's School
Catholicism
Connecticut
Michigan
New Hampshire
Cub Scouts
Ascots and Ties
Youth Kickball
Youth Stickball
Youth Basketball
Priests
Nuns
God
Bullies
Italian moms
Depression
Autism

The Next Interview

The next Gen X File will be a more formal "interview." I make that distinction because, unlike #002, I don't know this next guy except to say hello to in a club. It is Rob Crean, a locally-famous stand-up comic who acts, sings and makes funny short video with other talented people around Boston and LA. I'm setting up a time with Rob right now. I haven't really told him about the Gen X Report, but he's down for an interview anyway. Stay tuned for profile & notes about Gen X File #003: Rob Crean. Here's a preview of Rob Crean via YouTube:

Comments are encouraged, and will become part of the Gen X Report. 

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