AA lot has been said by quite a good number of psychologists, sociologists, and ye olde cultural wonks about how the ever expanding technology that has allowed humans to be in constant contact with one another is also pushing us further apart. We spend hours at the helm of a computer or cell phone, texting and e-mailing and instant messaging, but our face time, our old-fashioned sittin' on the porch having a palaver time, with one another is diminishing at rapid speed.
Strangely enough, over the past six or seven months, I have actually reconnected with a fair number of old friends using that great anti-social demon Internet, specifically goofy MySpace. I'm in regular contact with college friends with whom I haven't seen in ten years, friends from summer camp, old work buddies. Heck, I even flipped over the right cyber-rock and found my beloved date from prom. There are still friends out there with whom I've lost touch for whatever reason that I'd love to rediscover. Maybe some of that will happen this fall at our 10 year college reunion.
Here are five of those friends that I miss dearly:
1. Kristin and first bonded during a seventh grade trip to King's Dominion where we discovered we shared an uncanny ability to be really obnoxious. That day gave birth to a great friendship that lasted through middle and high school. We kept in touch for a few years after I went away to college, but life just pulled us apart. I often wonder where she is today, if she's still in Richmond, if I've passed her on the road or at the mall. Kristin was one of my wild friends; she smoked, drank, and dated older men. I tagged along on some of her adventures and prayed fervently that we would not get caught. Kristin also worshiped New Kids on the Block. Her entire room was wallpapered with their pictures, of this I do not exaggerate. Out of all my female friends during my teenage years, I always felt the most at ease being my true self around her. And we could play the stupidest jokes on people. And put on the best fake fights in public, complete with hair pulling and screaming.
2. Ezra is still, hands down, one of the most intelligent people I've known. And I'm saying this after spending four years at a total nerd college. To give you an example, when Jurassic Park came out, we went to see it. I thought the dinosaurs were really well done and much scarier than I expected; Ezra got inspired to learn more about chaos mathematics and checked out some books from the library to read. On summer vacation. Ezra and I met in freshman gym class, but didn't really become close friends until our junior year. We'd spend hours sitting in his big ass Suburban, drinking coffee, and discussing movies, literature, life. He got me turned on to the genius that his Douglas Adams, and I dragged him to see Strictly Ballroom. It was during one of these chatty sessions the summer before we went away to college that he said one of the nicest things anyone has ever said to me, mostly because it came from him. He went off to Harvard, and while we saw each other a few times during vacations and traded e-mails into sophomore year, we slowly went our separate ways. I'd love to see him again if only to tell him that I still carry that complement in my heart and that I'm no longer peeved he didn't ask me to prom.
3. Whenever I saw Maureen striding across campus freshman year, clad in all black (trenchcoat, pointy boots, tight jeans, and death metal t-shirt) and glaring at people from behind her shades, I would think, "Damn girl, metal is so '87." One evening a year later over dinner with a mutual friend, she ceased to be Scary Death Metal Girl. We had two big commonalities: crazy stories of druggie friends and an abiding love of horror movies. Our typical Girls' Night Out would always end with a viewing of The Exorcist. She is one of the only women I've come across in my life that shares my pseudo-tomboyish nature. After graduation, we exchanged letters, packages, e-mails, but our adult lives and distance (She's in New York.) eventually got in the way. We still send the odd e-mail, but I sure do miss those late-night assaults on the snack machine on my hall and laughter-filled screenings of The Exorcist.
4. The story of how I came to befriend Sean is an exercise in the bizarre Six Degrees nature of my college friendships. We briefly met freshman year because he was friends with Chris who lived in the dorm frequented my roommate Kara and me because one of her high school chums lived there. Also Chris, his roommate, and probably 75% of the male population of that dorm developed a crush on Kara. It wasn't until sophomore year though, when Sean started dating my roommate Jenne, that our friendship developed. I met Jenne through my friend Matt. Matt and I first met because one of his high school friends lived on my hall, but we had actually been told to meet up by a girl Matt dated the previous summer who went my high school. Got it? Are you still with me?
Needless to say, Sean was practically my second roommate sophomore year. He spent so much time hanging out in the German House that he became a de facto resident. While he and Jenne broke up at the end of junior year, our friendship remained. I can't say enough about how much I treasured Sean's friendship. He was one of the few people with whom I could have a meaningful discussion about religion even though we didn't share beliefs. We had a love for both old school punk and bluegrass music. Our relationship was one of those supposedly rare platonic friendships; though it went unsaid, I think any romantic or sexual feelings towards each other would have felt alien and more than a little incestuous for both of us. Sean was a true friend, a really sweet, loyal, trustworthy, giving friend. I don't think more than a few days go by when I don't grieve for the loss of his friendship. Especially since Little A was born. This is such a great new chapter in my life that I wish I could share with him.
5. So really Dominick was always my husband's friend, but he meshed so well with us as a couple that I considered him my friend too. While he spent a lot of time geeking out with my husband over computers, sci-fi, playing pool, etc., he was equally at ease doing things with us together. He was the rare singleton that could run with the smug marrieds and never seem like a third wheel. Dominick was a great guy. We had a very easy, reciprocating friendship. The kind where favors were done and tabs picked up, all with the understanding that you'd repay in kind when it was your turn. Plus, Dominick was always game for going out to shoot pool, seeing a movie, visiting an amusement park on a sweltering day. One 4th of July, he ran around in our street with us, shooting off fireworks and writing in the sky with sparklers. On 9/11 after our hearts had been beaten to a bloody pulp and our circuits fried by the constant news coverage, we called Dominick to come over and try to forget the fact that the end of the world seemed immanent. The only thing on television that we could find not related to terrorist attacks was a showing of Stak Trek III: The Search for Spock. And we watched the whole stinking turd of a movie just because I wasn't about THAT. We laughed at the painfully bad sci-fi, but we were also clinging to each other under the weight of the grief of the day. A few years ago, we get a call out of the blue from Dominick. He tells us that his girlfriend (Who, as the theory goes, never really cottoned to us.) is pregnant, they are getting married, and moving to Maryland. Supposedly, we were to be invited to the wedding. We haven't heard from him since.
Sorry to be big old Debbie Downer there, people, especially as we go into the weekend. There's a hot rod car show at RIR on Saturday and Sunday. Look for Clan Amos there.