Goofs and Gadflies

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Friends & Family (In That Order).

It's a perfectly fair morning. Inspiration is just waiting to hit me like a bean burrito pounding the intestinal tract in a gastronomic Ragnarok. I've been thinking about friends lately. Reading a book called "Just Friends" by E.Rubin. It was an academic study on the changing role of friendships in North America. Written in the 1980s' it illuminates the different roles we choose to fill with either friends or kin. Family is the one place where, when you knock on the door they have to let you in. Family knows you best, accepts your worst, and is an unfailing branch on the tree of life. Friends, besides being a wildly successful TV sitcom, are the condiments and accessories on the leisure suit we call life.

Friends are the flowers in the garden. We appreciate them, they accentuate our life, and we cherish and nurture their growth. But it is not like the Family Tree. Flowers need attention and care to flourish and grow. The tree is a solid reminder of history and responsibility. We tend to rely on family in a way that we can't imagine asking our friends. Friends don't judge or ask questions when they help. They've been there themselves and they know that if you are asking for it they'll do it and keep their thoughts to themselves. Family on the other hand has no qualms about complaining all the way home from the precinct after posting your bail.

I have a lot of acquaintances who I feel very strongly about. I was lucky enough in high school to roll with a very unique crowd. Ultimately, we were the most popular clique in the School and thus enjoyed the perks of that title. Namely, off the hook parties and access to the popular cliques of all the other high schools. Because High School was such a great time for me, I made very strong associations with a large group of friends. 15 years later we still meet a few times a year on mass and share a meal or a game of cards. We all have good jobs, some have wives and children, and nobody really fell off the face of the Earth. Even Al, who moved to Australia, still manages to call when we are sharing a cottage for a long weekend. Even though I see these guys a few times a year, I still consider them very warm friends when anyone outside the "group" would estimate them as acquaintances. I consider myself blessed to know such amazing people with whom we continued our high school association into something of a legacy.

More than the warm fuzzies of old friends from high school, I have a select few friends of whom over the years have entwined themselves into my heart. These are the people I have met over the years whom I have chosen to share friendship with. Not because we had any shared or forced experience; It was a conscious choice to maintain a connection over the years out of admiration of their character and integrity. These friendships touch my heart in a way that my high school friendships can't reach. My high school friends are like extended family. My post-school friends are the ones who most appreciate my personality and qualities. I am not denigrating the tight emotional circle of friends that form the Stonehenge of my emotional center. These guys are my inner voice and have helped me become the social butterfly I am today. Friends fill different needs in our lives and together they complete our need to feel understood and accepted. To fit in this glittering world.

I always tell clients that my father taught me how to sell, and my mother taught me how to care about people. Although I think my dad also taught me that selling involves caring. It's developing long term relationships based on trust and reliability. My mom taught me how to look at people and ignore any negative perceptions. They really get filtered out before they even reach my brain. It's not naivete, its a conscious decision to only see the potential good in every person I see.

From my friends I have learned to listen. People want to be heard. People need to have a voice and express themselves. Luckily I have met and acquainted myself with some highly interesting people. I know some lawyers, doctors, bartenders, ad execs, and Teachers. I like to hear about the interpersonal relationships they have formed and while sometimes it ranges into pure gossip, more times it is just stories about life. It almost resembles a monologue when I watch people tell stories. I disappear from the scene as the stage goes black save for the one spotlight. Their eyes and bodies drift and reshape themselves to tell the story. They contort themselves into the past, recounting the tale as I stand observing the show. I consider myself a patron of the arts. I am an audience. I am not a critic though. I leave critiquing to those interested in the destructive arts. I've always been one more for intent than for the act.

"You just call out my name
And you know wherever I am
I'll come running to see you again
Winter, spring, summer or fall
All you have to do is call
And I'll be there
You've got a friend"
-Carole King

Thinking about love last week, I was drawn to meditate on friendship and family today because the lines are sometimes blurred. I have a very close connection to my family and they see more of the true me because I understand the rigid nature of familial bonds. The family is my tree and I branch off from their love and support. I love some of my friends dearly. While it seems like some friendships have definite lifespan, I have a couple of friends I can't imagine not being friends with. It;s so effortless to talk to them, they have taken up residence in my brain. I have leased them a small room in the caverns of my mind. To more effortlessly exchange our friendship they have been granted a sort of most-favored nation status. They have crossed the borders of friendship with me, and still the outer shell of our friendship contains these energies and created an impenetrable fort. The space in which we act silly and dish the real stories of our life. Friendship is like my personal cottage country where we have adventures and long days by the lake walking the shores and skipping stones into the water.

4 Comments:

  • Coming by way of [love and comraderie], I had high expectations for your writing. Rye, friend of Comrade Chicken's, you did not fail to impress me (while providing a good procrasti-break from filling in Schedule 1, 11s and T1s).

    Thanks.

    Carole King is so good.

    Your previous post on love made me think of all the Lloyd Dobblers I have (sometimes unrequitedly) loved over the years.

    Other notable film boys: Eric from the Crow, who laughs and says "take-out" when dinner goes up in flames.
    Reality Bites Troy Dyer, who coins the phrase "You, me and five bucks".

    Em... That's all I can think of right now. With good quotes, at least.

    Back to the taxes...
    I've been protaxinating. Har har.

    -robyn

    By Anonymous 'other' rhymes with sally 'struther's, At 2:36 PM  

  • And you, grumble-free, inspired me before my nap with a photo from your page. A photo of a wall, with light bathing its tired bones. Its on the front of your home page, which I clicked on this afternoon. I saw the wall and I thought to myself how wonderful it would be to capture the thoughts of inanimate objects. Such a honor bound profession photography is. You are sworn to reveal and preserve, while adding your immutable style to the mix in deciding the time and angle of the picture.

    I saw the wall and thought of the Division Bell by Pink Floyd. The bell had a strikingly similar texture.

    Thanks for the kind words. Next weeks topic is food and drink, inspired by my friend the Comrade.

    By Blogger Rye, At 3:54 PM  

  • Thank-you back at'cha.

    New photos of the debaucherous city that never sleeps coming soon to the post-art gallery.

    Off to read your most recent post over some lipton, bag-in, no milk or sugar.

    By Anonymous robyn, At 3:54 PM  

  • That church in your picture? Is it at the corner of Elgin and Laurier? I went to Carleton for Political Science and History.

    I still visit Ottawa once a month on business in the summer and love to stay at hotels on Elgin. Its my favorite street in Ottawa.

    By Blogger Rye, At 6:53 PM  

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