A few months ago I had a moment of conscious about posting on FB and other social media. The dark side of using these platforms was being discussed and I briefly considered deleting my FB page, but just briefly. The thing about social media, despite all its downsides, is that it does what it says on the tin. It connects us. Each time I travel I try to connect with friends past and present. Of course as time goes on this gets harder in some ways. As I’ve moved about, the people I meet become more varied and, as their lives progress they have become more dispersed, but I try to see everyone I can. So naturally coming home in the summer I reach out to the friends I know will be there to spend time with them. Who knows, will they be in our hometown as the same time as I will? Will our paths cross? Would I have been able to help arrange these meeting if it weren’t for social media? Probably not and for this alone the value is immense.
I contacted an old friend I’d seen a few times in the States. Then another. Then another. Then another and the next thing I knew I was looking forward to seeing my oldest friends. As David and I sat in the park, since we arrived first, we glanced around anxiously waiting to see who would come next and guessing as each car pulled up, is that them? It was a bit hard to tell, but as we all came together that feeling faded away. Of course, we are older, and some of us have gained weight, lost a little hair, and earned a few wrinkles (ok, mostly me on three counts), but the people I loved and who were close to me during my most formative years, in the most important respects, were the same or maybe even better than I remembered. They were kind, wise, smart, and funny, with talent and wit that is hard to find. It is amazing to me sometimes that I was so lucky to have these friends with me along the way. So we met in one of the places we held dearest during out teenage years, Sunset Park (Not surprisingly, great place for sunsets). Before smartphones and texting became a thing, we would often meet here, driving to the parking lot to see who showed up, exchange what we knew about what was going on and a host of others things whose details are perhaps better left unsaid.
One of the most beautiful qualities of true friendship is to understand and to be understood (Seneca, not me) and, well, these people understand me, at times more than I’d like. We’ve done all the things good friends will have, from run ins with the police to seeing each other in various states of nakedness to talks late into the night and tears shed on shoulders. It was a special moment to catch up, connect, and understand each other a little more deeply. I hope, and know, that its not a one off, but even if it takes another 10 years to come together I'm sure our understanding of each other will be the same.