Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Reach Out and Touch Someone, Even Years Later!

We meet so many people over the course of our lifetime, and forge so many varied relationships with them, that when we try to recall even a fraction of the faces and names we've learned, we fail. But all of us have a special catalogue deep in our memories, set aside for that special list of truly close friends that we will never forget. These people resonate with us nearly as strongly years after we last laid eyes on them as they did when we were hanging out on a regular basis.

And that's why, when we accidentally run into them, we think nothing of grabbing them into a big hug or a strong, hearty handshake and a slap on the back, and potentially spend an unexpected hour or more catching up on where they've been and what they've been doing all these years. Some people go to extensive measures to reach across the gap of years to try to locate old friends like this, even hiring private investigators to try to locate the person wherever they may be living in the country. This can be very expensive and time consuming, considering the time and effort involved in tracing someone's whereabouts.

But, many people are interested in finding out that the Internet provides dozens of websites that make this locating work much easier and faster. For example, since November 2003 the FCC has made it possible for individuals who switch cell phone companies to maintain their cell phone numbers as they move. This means that, at least for the last few years, someone's cell phone number is likely unchanged.

So how does that translate into locating an old friend? If you still have their cell phone number written down somewhere, or even still have it programmed in your phone (which you also haven't changed,) you can go to a reverse cell phone lookup site. For a modest fee, you can plug in the number and verify if your old friend still owns that number, where they live, and even some important facts about them through public records! This is just one example of the locating capabilities of the Internet. Imagine the joyful surprise reunion that could be planned using this technology!

Imagine two college friends, members of the same sorority, and inseparable until graduation when one heads out West to pursue her art in California, and one heads back home to Louisiana. They start with the best of intentions, writing every week, then once a month, then sending a Christmas card. Then life gets in the way. But both wistfully think back about the great times they used to have in college and the way the other person always seemed to bring out the best in them.

Moved to action one of them roots through all her old college papers, yearbooks, notebooks and textbooks until they locate a scribbled note from that dear friend from years ago. It includes a cell phone number and an order to "Call me!" But after this much time, how does she know the cell phone is still owned by her friend and not a stranger? She logs on the Internet, and in a few moments has her answers: her friend still owns the cell phone, and she is living now in Texas, only a few hours away! She calls, enjoys a long, joyful and tearful conversation with her long lost friend, and makes plans to get together on the weekend for dinner. In the modern world, it's more possible than ever to "reach out and touch someone," even years after you last spoke.

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