Some of you have a lot of friends. I can tell because you write about them regularly on your blogs. You might be telling us about the weekend activities you shared like WIGSF, or it might just be the way you interact with them which indicates you have some sort of relationship, like my wife with her pals.
Most of you have friends. And outside lives to share with them.
I’m not of that ilk, however. I’m cut from far different leather than most of you. Some of you will find me “weird” or “different” — “unusual” at best – and that’s fine. Others will sympathize with me. Others will see themselves in me.
But I don’t have any friends outside of cyberspace. Not really.
When I was a boy, I had friends from school. Most of them lived more than walking distance from my house. Those who lived around me polarized into cliques when school started and summer friends became autumn enemies or winter cold shoulders. I met a few kids in relative walking distance from my house and those friendships could be nurtured a little. Then my family moved out of our old neighborhood, established with kids and settled residents, and into a new neighborhood. Shortly thereafter, I went to a new school. After that, nothing was the same.
The Catholic school kids I met seemed nice. They seemed like quality people. They weren’t. Having money to send kids to a parochial school didn’t make them better people, only better educated than the teeming filthy dirt-children of the California public school system. (At that time, among the worst in the nation; I’m not sure that’s changed much.) They were only schoolyard friends for the most part. They had friendships forged long into their pasts – I mean, I joined them in sixth grade and they’d been in that school and chumming around since kindergarten or first grade, maybe longer. Several of them grew up near the school and they lived there until the newer developments uptown called their parents to bigger homes, nicer homes, more affluent (-appearing) homes. So they had their cliques well established.
They sort of let me in for a while. I continued trying to be friends with them – one lived only a short walk from me until I moved away in 1991 – through high school. Blindly loyal, I stick by people until it becomes painfully, blatantly obvious I’m being stupid, which takes more extreme measures in some cases than in others. I stuck with them despite some of the mistreatment I got. (As an example: I was the most popular of the “crowd” when I got my driver’s license months before the next one of their clan; once I wasn’t the only one able to drive, I stopped getting invitations to join them on the weekends and such. But I was too stupid to figure it out until much, much later. Oh, and also, they lied about it.)
I have one friend, still living to my knowledge, whom I’ve known from birth, literally. My mother used to hold him atop her stomach while she was pregnant with me. He’s a year, a month and a day older than I am. He was a good friend, but distance and absence wreak havoc on relationships. I lost touch with him permanently when I moved to Illinois. A few phone calls, but the last of those occurred in … what? 2001? Something like that? It’s been a long, long time. It’s okay; I wouldn’t want him to see me this way anyhow.
I’ve had a few “friends” from various jobs I’ve held, but like school friends, they’re only situational. Movement shifts things. I don’t have any friends now except those with whom I can maintain contact over the Internet – via their blog or mine or email. Sad, but true. And my poor ability to keep in touch with people doesn’t help. Most of my friends end up putting forth the lion’s share of effort in that regard, I’m sad to say.
How about you? Where do the bulk of your friendships lie? Where did you meet most of your friends? How good are you at keeping in touch?
Sound off, then have a great weekend.
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