Monday, October 4, 2010

On past you, present you, Facebook and the nature of friendship...

Okay, so I know that's a really long title, but it sort of sums things up. This blog is all about what do you do when the you you are today doesn’t approve of the way the you you were before handled something? Is it too late to try and change things?

Painting is good meditation work for blogging in my head. If I could have somehow figured out how to directly hook up my keyboard to my brain this morning there would be 5 new blogs up today. As it is, you got one quick one and this one...which will not be quick...but the bones for quite a few more are banging around in head so expect them soon. Even the thrilling conclusion to the work series! I promise! No, seriously, I mean it this time!

Before I wrote this blog I had to send an email and apologize to someone for something I did almost two decades ago. Okay, I’m exaggerating, it was about 19 years ago, but I needed to apologize in person before writing so I did. Now you know it's going to be a good blog right? ;-)

So this is a way back story. As those of you who have read my other blogs could guess, most of my close friends through life have been guys. One or two women make the cut here and there but for the most part I trust men more than I trust women. Seeds of trust are planted early in life. Men are usually lower drama, though I have had a few male friends that would test that equation...anyway...this is the story of me and one of my best friends from high school.

Chad was a groomsman in my wedding. He stood on Brent’s side and he and Brent were friends as well, but honestly he could have just as easily been on my side. The problem would have been who stood closer to me, Cinnamon or Chad? Could I have had a maid and a mister of honor? Anyway… Chad and I became friends my senior year, his junior year. I met him for what I thought was the first time at the beginning of that year. I found out pretty quickly that I actually sat in front of him in Geometry the year before. Yep, right in front of him. And I had no idea who he was. But as you all know making it to class was not something I was really good I didn't recognize him at all. He knew who I was since the days that I did make it to class there was a big production where I was sent to the office to get a pass to come back to class. He also was not amused to find out I made a higher grade in that class than he did. It should have been a rocky start but for whatever reason it ended up making us both laugh and started us down the path of a unique friendship.

Friendships that start when you are a teenager and on in to your early 20s are different than friendships you start later. These are the friendships where you talk late into the night about such deep subjects (that we all think we are the first to talk about) like do we all see the same blue when we see blue? Are we all part of an atom in another universe and are all of the atoms in our body just universes unto themselves? Chad and I both were exploring new ideas at the time as well. He was convinced that he was going to die before he turned 30. Convinced of it. Knew it in his bones. Now we know he was wrong, but at the time it was interesting to think about. What would you do if you knew when you were going to die? I was also in the process of leaving the church and Chad was who I ended up talking to about that most of the time. Neither one of us did drugs so these were conversations held stone cold sober that most people have while stoned out of their minds.

We were both very much alike. Two sides to one coin. I called him my brother and loved him dearly. Chad understood that my outward confidence hid my inward insecurity. He got that I sometimes opened my mouth and talked before thinking things through. He knew that my temper got the best of me at times. He knew that I would hide behind a joke rather than talk about what I really felt because I was protecting myself. He knew all of these things because he was very much the same way. So when I was upset often it was Chad that could talk me down from the anger. When Brent and I were dating I broke up with him, lasted almost a whole day. Chad was the one that brought us back together. Made me talk to Brent about what was bothering me instead of just shutting down and shutting him out. Which was my way. (and that boys and girls is foreshadowing)

In the days before internet when you moved away from home most likely your friendships from high school faded away a little bit more than they do now. But ours didn’t. We wrote to each other, called each other when we could afford it and saw each other on visits home. Chad went in to the Navy after graduation just like Brent had, so we had another thing to talk about and share. Then the call came. He was getting married. To someone he had just met. Or so he thought…he had actually met her at my wedding in the receiving line. They just didn’t remember. Now I really liked the girl he was telling me he was marrying so you would think this would be the part where I was excited for him and happy for his happiness right? Well, no, not really. I didn’t approve, vehemently disagreed on their reasons for getting married in fact. They weren’t treating marriage the way I thought it should be treated and I couldn’t wrap my brain around it. I took it as a personal affront to me, instead of just a difference in belief. So when he called to let me know he had gone through with it, I stopped talking to him. Stopped. Done. I was NEVER going to speak to him again. And that lasted for about a year. Maybe…it could have only been about six months, hard to remember exactly. Anyway, I had an epiphany one day that though his view on marriage and mine were not the same that didn’t matter. We weren’t married, we were friends, and our views on that were the same. I wrote him a long tear stained letter explaining why I got so mad, apologizing for not understanding that he could view things differently and we could still be friends and asking for forgiveness. He gave it and we moved on.

We ended up stationed in San Diego at the same time. Brent spent most of the three years we were there out to sea. So I spent most of the time I was there with Chad, his wife Erika and later a mutual friend of ours that lived with Chad and Erika, Susan. I spent most weekends at their apartment. We would spend the day on the beach then I would just stay with them at their place. When Chad was out to sea Erika and I spent our time together. I was with her in the hospital when she suffered her first miscarriage (a story for another day). We were all very close. For a long time. Then things started to unravel.

Looking back now at 42 with a lot more life experience I can see what was going on, but in the middle of it at 23 I had no idea. After Susan moved in with Chad and Erika she and I started doing more together. She needed time away from Chad and Erika and they needed time away from her. It's hard for a young married couple to always have company. And it's hard for a young single woman to always have a married couple around. There were some strains and stresses. Susan and I had been friends in high school as well and still got along well so it was easy for us to fall back into doing things together. Chad was really on edge during this stretch and it was hard to be around him. I wish now that I had spent more time trying to get him to open up as to what was going on, but he wasn't interested and I wasn't patient enough to keep trying. All I knew is that he was cranky and tough to be around and not interested in talking to me. So our friendship was a little strained when the final blow came.

Okay, you all know I hate a too long blog so that seems a good place to cut this one off.

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