Sunday, June 9, 2013

Talking to Strangers

If you’re looking for some sarcastic rant about me being single, then you might want to just close your browser window now.  I think this might be one of those “feel good” posts that’s so emotionally charged it would make Nick Saban tear up.  Sorry to disappoint.

For full effect, download “Welcome Back” by John Sebastian, and play at maximum volume throughout the duration of this post. 

I had the chance to catch up with an old college buddy this past weekend, a man who I haven’t seen or talked to in over nine years.  (Seriously, stop reading at the end of this sentence, it’s only going to get mushier from here on out, I promise you).  He and I were a pair of chummy roommates back in the day when the Governator had just been elected and “Crank Yankers” was a popular show on Comedy Central.  I am that old, I know.

It’s been nearly a decade since we have really had the chance to catch up with one another and relive the old times we used to share “back in the day”.  Normally, long spaces of time like that make conversations with former friends as awkward as forgetting your girlfriend’s last name in the middle of a prayer, but for the two of us, we hadn’t missed a beat.  As Forrest Gump would say, ‘we was peas and carrots’.

For over an hour and a half we sat and talked with each other.  About life.  About relationships. About careers.  About dirty pictures.  He told me about his cross-country escapades building churches, with his wife and kid along for the ride.  I told him about turning down blind dates and having my head professionally sliced open.  For 90 minutes we sat there on a warm summer night, the sun setting behind us, with the reception buzzing all around about the newlywed couple, and us just drinking blue lemonade and relishing in the lessons we have learned in the years we’ve spent on our own.  I know that’s a cheesy line, but hey, I warned you.

At the end of the night we exchanged bear hugs, and vowed to do a better job of staying in touch.  In the back of our minds though, we both knew that wasn’t true. We wouldn’t stay in touch.  He had his life in California playing the role of one hell of a husband and father, and I would stay here in St. George, continuing my evolution as a 6’4” big kid who still laughs at “That’s what she said” jokes.  I hate to admit it, but without Facebook I wouldn’t know he even existed anymore.

I know what you’re thinking, this sounds like a semi-depressing post about the empty feelings of former friendships being treated like a bag of used condoms, but that’s not the point of this at all.  The real giddy feeling I had as I drove home that night was that I knew he was one of my truest friends, a man who has more value in my mind than my Netflix account.  If I can be away from a buddy since the Bush Administration, and then meet up with him and pick right back up our unfinished late night conversations about “The Matrix” trilogy, then yeah, he’s a winner in my book. 

The best part of all of this is that I know you have people like this in your own life.  You have BFFFOMWYDNTSUTOFBEOM, or as kids older than 17 would put it, “Best Friends Forever From Other Mothers Who You Don’t Need To Suck Up To On Facebook Every Other Month”.  You have those people in your life who you can ignore for a decade, and then randomly meet up and finish each other’s Moons Over My Hammy during late night Denny’s binges. And when you realize who they are, they’ll make your life that much sweeter. 

So just sit back, close your eyes, listen to the last few chords fade out of that one song you were supposed to download at the beginning of this post, and revel in the fact that you have a handful of strangers scattered out there who fit you like an old glove, and pray to high heaven that you’ll randomly bump into them at backyard wedding receptions.  Because I’m telling you, those will go down as some of the best nights of your life.   

What do you think?


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