Friday, August 31, 2012

Answering the Call

Sitting in my closet yesterday, I was looking through a picture album of friends and thinking about how near and far they are to me now, both physically and emotionally.  I am lucky and love-rich that many of my nearest and dearest for the last 10-20 years are people I can still call in the middle of the night if need be, no questions asked.

The way friendships start and end at different measure is strange.  I have had fast friends and have also cultivated closeness with folks over the distance of many years.  The latter have turned out to be some of my most valued and true friendships.  I have lost touch bit by bit with people with whom I was once inseparable.  Also, I have had the uneasy experience of quickly dropping out of or being dropped out of someone’s life.

A couple of weeks ago I had a friend come into town for a short visit.  She was a neighbor of Bobaloo’s when he and I were dating.  Bobaloo and I would often sit on the deck having beers and listening to tunes and she and her husband would come over after work.  Slowly but surely, after three years she became quite a close friend.  She was someone who became unwaveringly thoughtful, compassionate, and protective towards me.   I offered the same friendship to her.  I look back at those times on the deck and think of a happy, happy stretch of life.  Meeting her was providential circumstance.

We have seen each other a couple of times in the last seven years, the last being four years ago.  Marriage happened, babies were had, and moves, school, and everything in between began to take up the adulthood of our lives.  Eventually, even our infrequent phone calls came to an end.  Our friendship became a yearly Christmas card.
She came into town a couple of weeks ago for a conference and we made plans to get together and catch a few drinks downtown.  Even though some years had passed since I saw her last, I was more excited than nervous to see her.
So, after Bobaloo and I navigated our way to a parking spot in the city and entered the crowded bar I sent a text letting her know I was there.  After a few minutes a familiar embrace from behind my shoulders was followed by a familiar voice.  We found a place to sit.  Pictures were shown of children, school and work updates were exchanged, and some of the more somber happenings of our lives were shared.  Life had moved on, but not between me and her.  We picked up just where we had left off, chattering away.

We headed to a tavern later and smoked cigarettes on the patio.  I apologized for not being better in touch and told her I missed her.  She told me that even though we don’t speak on the regular that she knows she can always call me when things shake down and that I will always answer.  She thought it was an unspoken understanding between us two.
I am lucky to have the kind of pals who will answer my call.  And it’s nice to know now, that I am that friend to someone too.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

I don’t get a whole lot happier than when I am camping.  Truthfully, give me any reason not to bathe and I am in.  Gross?   Yes.  Liberating?  Without a doubt.   Did you know you can use the cardboard oil funnels at the gas station to pee standing up?  That tip is more helpful in nasty bars or in said gas stations than in nature I guess.  Good to know.
Tent camping is my preferred mode of roughing it.  If I could live in a tent for three months out of the year I would be a proverbial happy camper.  I am a lot more comfortable outside than in.  I am not sure what that’s about but it has always been this way.  Maybe in the open air I am restful.  Who knows? 

Pops would take David and me up North when we were little kids.  I was more interested in reading my books and futzing around than fishing.  David would tell me about the constellations at night when the sky seemed forlorn.  I learned how to find the satellites, slowly making their way along the path.

The quiet and niceness of the moment and the universe fleeted as morning would stir.  It was nice to be still.  Now, the lights of the city compromise the night sky and I can get squirrely.  A couple of weeks ago I looked up and felt that quiet happiness and it was nice.

I have a theory about camping.  If you can set up a tent with your significant other without fighting, it is meant to be.  If you can’t, it is going to be a long weekend and a quiet car ride home.

Our tent broke last summer and we have yet to replace it. I’m sure that doesn’t mean anything.  Except that it’s broke.

I’ll get a new one next year. 

Until then, here’s to camp fires, kabobs, beer, and dirty jokes.

And stillness.