Dedicated to Tsu.
Being citizens of the net world today and software, we are used to separation. A close friend in US, another in France and another in Japan is nothing unusual. There are emails, there is skype and video conf. You don’t even miss the saturday night drinking session, thanks to video chat.
Yes I am used to my best friends living far away.
Yet, in the past couple of years, I carefully steered myself away from relationships which moved. The ones that already had were fine but I wanted friends here, the ones who would come over at 3 AM for something, the ones you could catch up for a movie or a drink or mere silence. Most of us were settled around here and the ones who left didn’t count.
But now, after a long time, when a good friend is leaving for another city – a city which is barely an hour fly time away – I wonder about the impermanence of relationships.
I know we’ll be friends (or maybe not – forever is a long time) because we would want to. I am not much worried about the distances driving a spike in this relationship… but I wonder, in today’s world of change, where are those relationships that stay by you? Or has the definition of such relationships changed as well?
My uncle and aunt have friends that stretch back to 50 years. They still get excited about meeting an old pal from school. Short distances were long then. My uncle’s friend who lives in a town about 100 kms from here – a couple of hours drive at the most – stays over for a couple of days when he ‘comes to town’. They talk about the weather and the news, but when they sit there in silence, you see that friendship born of being together for long. They perhaps have not been there are every crisis the other one did. That is something perhaps of our generation… speed dialing a friend and removing them from the friend’s list when the friend doesn’t reply… but there is a solidarity which completely surprises me.
I perhaps have that… otherwise there would be no way to sit in a cafe, drinking coffee, whiling away time and chatting nonsense. Those hour-long phone calls simply would not have been possible.
And maybe when I’m 70 and in a rocking chair, I’ll realise what set apart these relationships from the other fleeting ones.
But the one truth of my generation – it isn’t the distance that kills a relationship. It the lack of intent. And any place is only a flight away.
Song of the day: Vitamin C – Graduation (Friends Forever)