A couple of weeks ago I was in a cab, rushing to West Queen West to judge an event with three lovely ladies. Because I’d read some epic smut and had to take a fast nail-painting break before leaving the house I’m not a hipster and am therefore unfamiliar with West Queen West, I was [...]
A couple of weeks ago I was in a cab, rushing to West Queen West to judge an event with three lovely ladies. Because
I’d read some epic smut and had to take a fast nail-painting break before leaving the house I’m not a hipster and am therefore unfamiliar with West Queen West, I was late and frazzled and got out of the cab a few blocks too early and had to haul my ass to make it there on time. And as I was strutting as fast as my stilettos could carry me, I bumped smack into my past in the form of an old friend.
This dude – let’s call him Rod – is a friend from home with whom I had a falling out a few years ago and have only bumped into once or twice since then. The last time I saw him he apologized and promised to call me and never did. So the combination of his egregious act and his lack of follow up caused him to be pretty much eradicated from my consciousness. But when I saw him, I called his name instinctively; before I even remembered that we’re not friends anymore. I was so happy to see him that I forgot he was supposed to be on my shit list. But having initiated a conversation, I had no choice but to continue to chat with him as he walked me to my destination.
When we got there, we exchanged numbers; him promising to call and me threatening to taunt and harass him if he did not. And then I went into the event and rabble roused as I am known to do. To be honest, I pretty much forgot about running into him until he contacted me a few days later to hang out. There was some minor drifting off on his part, but eventually we made plans to have tea and catch up.
The day we were supposed to meet I was strangely keyed up all day. I felt hyper without really knowing why. But when I walked into the agreed-upon spot and saw him sitting there, I was so glad to see him that I realized the hyperness I’d felt all day was excitement to be reunited with such a good old friend.
The time we spent together was surreal and awesome. Emotional and exciting and a bit fraught at times. But beneath the complex spectrum of emotions I went through during this tea date was an overwhelming feeling of comfort and familiarity. Despite all the news we had to share, despite the stories we had to catch each other up on, despite the ways in which our years apart have changed both our personalities and our looks, what I felt during all the time I spent with him was known. And it was a fucking great feeling.
For most of my life I’ve been a loner. I’ve never had a lot of friends and never really put much stock in friendship. Whether due to nature or necessity, I’ve always been a lone wolf; perfectly comfortable to live inside my own head and navigate the world solo. In the last few years though, I’ve become rich in friends. All of a sudden I have an amazing circle of people I like and who like me, who want to be around me or talk to me, who support me, help me when I let them, and cheer me on. The thing is though, that my group of friends is relatively new. They know me as I am now, but they don’t know the me I used to be. My past – and the characters and experiences therein that shaped who I am now – is just stories to them. They get it, but they weren’t there. And what I realized during the time I spent with Rod is how much I’ve missed having people in my life who knew me when.
Despite the fucked up stuff that caused the rift between Rod and me in the first place, despite my usual low tolerance for friends who have let me down, despite my initial wariness and distrust of him, I found myself telling Rod things that I would never in a million years tell anyone else. I admitted to motivations and desires that I have trouble acknowledging even to myself, and I felt understood in a way that I’ve not felt in a long long time. And what kept reverberating through my brain was a Joe Budden lyric “I guess despite everything that she showed me/It felt good to be around a broad that really knows me“. Swap out the “she” for “he” and the “broad” for “dude” and that’s pretty much the summary of how it felt to spend time with this old, awesome friend.
None of which is meant to in any way diminish the awesomeness of my newer friends. I’m beyond fortunate to have a group of 3D and e-friends who are fucking amazing in all the ways you want friends to be, even when I don’t do my best by them. But there is just something about old friends, isn’t there? A special kind of comfort that you can only get from someone who knew you in your pudgy and homely days, a certain kind of ease that only comes with someone who knew you before you were you.
What do you guys think? Are “old” friends different or more comforting for you than “newer” friends? Do you have a good mix of both in your life or are you lacking in one or the other? Speak on it in the comments.