Over at The Daily Post, their July 25th prompt mentions best friends. When I was little, I definitely had One. Then (almost immediately – within a year I think) a sort of small group that we termed more as sisters (which came complete with the signature line LYLAS, that I think is out of vogue now). There were all amazing girls who grew up to be awesome women. Other than having a shared 10 to 13 year history though, we don’t actually have a ton in common any more. They are currently Facebook friends. I’ve only seen one in person since becoming an adult, and we didn’t really even pen pal after college. Another girl and I became close friends later, shifted into best friend mode, and then… things seemingly fell away.
Some of that was because of different social groups, which I guess could be because of the way we were raised. I spent that time living in northeast Texas, and it was definitely a bible belt town. Their family had come from that general area for at least two generations (pretty sure more, but not 100%) whereas my family had not. They were politically conservative (with a few tiny social exceptions) and my family was … well, they claimed liberal, but that was pretty recent too. My dad had voted conservative for years until the party started shifting some values. I have become more liberal on some issues over the years. I think that has impacted how our friendship has faded away to fond acquaintances. I try not to start arguments over things they hold dear, and they likewise seem to leave me alone.
I think all of this has impacted how I see Best Friends. The last girl, where things seemingly fell away, hurts the most. I think she might have been the last straw where I let go of the term best friends and tucked it away into a year book as a younger person’s term. I don’t know exactly why we quit talking. I have ideas. I’ve tried to address them with her, but… never quite get a response. And then after some time as elapsed she will reappear on Facebook, interact a bit more than usual and fade off again.
As an adult, I have close friends. They are wide and varied and I keep in better contact, although it is the new internet age of pen pal writing. We will email, or text, or communicate on Twitter. Some of us manage to see each other at conferences or arranged yearly events. I adore these women and men. They are all important to me. But I don’t call any of them “best friend” and get uncomfortable if asked. Someone asked once if that meant my sweetheart was my best friend and was startled when I said “no”. He’s not. He’s very important to me, but he’s my sweetheart. He is a friend, but he is different. He has friendships that are separate than mine or inclusive with mine, just as I do versus his.
I’m not sure I’ll ever have a best friend again, and most of the time, I don’t want that kind of best friend. I do have friends I’ve clicked with. Where I can seemingly pick right back up where we were after a short catching up phase. They are so very important to me and I love them.
…I think this is a complicated topic for me. Reading back over what I’ve written, I have cut an entire chunk (to be placed in a drafts folder) on politics and find that my voice is extremely awkward. I think in part that’s because I’m avoiding naming names. I think it also shows how many-layered and muddled I feel about the topic in general. It’s a childish thing that I wish I could enjoy without thinking about, but I do think about it, and thus bring an adult’s concepts to the table which perhaps ruins it.
Wolves, Stabbing Westward, NIN, vampires, beautiful women and men tied up in rope, Anthony Bourdain, creamy risotto with mushrooms in, Cold Stone Creamery, amaretto. These things all remind me of another very good friend. So does the song “Long Day in the Universe” by The Darling Buds. It’s our song, in a way. I can text him part of the chorus and get the next line back.
It’s complicated and yet not. We met online inside a MU*. I don’t remember if it was a tinyMUSH or some other flavor of multi-user shared hallucination, I just remember there were all these “guilds” you could join to play together and explore. Twin Peaks (which I’ve never watched more than a few minutes of) also reminds me of him, because his user name was from that show. He was roleplaying a vampire, or rather, playing in a vampire guild, and “adopted” me as his daughter. I was roleplaying in a lot of guilds, just kind of hanging out. (One was a Hitchhiker’s guild. I had a towel and a babblefish, among other items, in my inventory.) Mostly, we’d chat in game… somewhat in character, but those things often got muddled and we’d end up just chatting. I’ve fallen asleep talking to him on the phone. He was sad when I got engaged, the first time, I think. In retrospect, I wonder sometimes if he didn’t know that the relationship probably wouldn’t last.
Oddly, we’d known each other for years (maybe more than a decade) before we actually met in person. He’s almost the ONLY person I’ve met in real life who actually seems completely like who he is online. Perhaps a little quieter, but that’s about it. There’s too much in the way we interact to sum up in a short little blog. I wish he didn’t live so far away, or that either of us could afford to travel more.
I’m thinking of him because Pandora played Stabbing Westward. Not the first song of theirs we talked about together, or that we watched (on the phone across the country from each other) together on tv, but still.
Much as I’m not privy to his daily life in the way I used to be, I still consider him one of my closest and dearest friends.
I’ve mentioned before that I associate certain songs with specific people. Sometimes the association fades enough that it’s just the song, again, with a faint undertone of memory, and sometimes not.
There are a few songs I association with relationships disintegrating and much as I once loved them, I can’t listen to them any more. It’s frustrating. Because I remember loving them lyrically, loving the musicality of them.
Then there are songs like “Feed the Tree” by Belly. It reminds me of a friend from college, who I still talk to. If you asked me to pick a “best” friend who knows the most about me, I’d hesitate a lot, but I’d be able to narrow down the list to about 5 people that aren’t family. He’s one of the 5 and he’s probably known me the longest, in some ways. Definitely the longest of the ones who have met me in person and that we still talk to on a regular basis.
Lately, we talk about life things. But back when he introduced me to Belly, we talked about music in addition to computer stuff and relationship stuff. That made me realize I could probably create a short playlist based just on those years. There would be Belly (and of course Tanya Donelly as an offshoot), Sarah McLachlan, The Cure, The Darling Buds, Anything Box, and probably some others as I dug through my CDs and actually remembered, each song inevitably leading to another memory. Driving to a town 30 minutes away, just so we could go to a specific music store, grabbing Taco Bell on the way home. Playing music at one end of campus while typing emails back and forth, almost fast enough to be a chat, to his end of campus where he was finding the next cd or deck to cue up. He put time in at the college station, because of his major. Meeting between classes at the arcade to mostly watch each other play Mortal Kombat or Street Fighter. Or just grab a snack and talk.
It’s not quite a college sound track, because other people I hung out with had their own sound tracks. Other parts of my life then had other sound tracks, some of which involve break up tracks I can’t listen to. (Although, sometimes, I wonder about my own taste… Dokken? Ah well.)
It’s interesting to think about, and almost makes me wish I had the time I did then… to make playlists, burn them to CD (well, back then it was cassette, of course) and hand them over to the person you’d made it for.
Guess that’s what DropBox and such is for, today.