Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Who are your friends?

I know I bring this up now and again, but I thought about who are the people you talk to everyday. The ones you confide in. The ones you listen to when they give advice. The ones who are comfortable enough with to just hang around.
When you live alone and only travel to the store and home again you don’t have many friends. I begin to understand what happened 25 years ago.
The morning friends were Matt and Al and Katie then Meredith and then Anne. They were in the kitchen first thing every morning. They joked around and felt like family. Their conversations started the day and attracted more of the attention over coffee and oatmeal.
I would go to work, but other friends entered the house. First there was Whoppie, Joy, Elizabeth, Sherri and Barbara. They would just sit around and gab away. If I weren’t going to work, these guys would force me out of the house. I couldn’t stand it.
The news guys followed with breaking news, weather, traffic and usually something cute. They all came in on the same channel, but now it was time for a change.
Oops! I think I gave it away.
“All My Children”, “One Life To Live”, and a daily passion “General Hospital” took care of the afternoon. I would hear every night the escapades of the riches families as if they had been in the living room. Ericka would do this or that and Luke and Laura did something else. The tales were just like a recap of a day but a day with strangers.
They were strangers to me but they were friends to her.
After dinner we would sit back and relax with our friends Hawkeye and Trapper and Radar and Quincy and Fraser and Niles and Rachel, Monica, Phoebe, Joey, Chandler, Ross and even Buffy, but by that time I was ready for sleep.
Over the years as some of our friends left and we didn’t make friends with reality or hook up or singing and dancing shows, the past history recordings came to become a library.
While everyone else was building families and forming new friends, our friends came and went with the seasons. Work never presented anyone to spend time with and everyone else who had been bonded with moved away, so these were our friends.
Today my friends are Rachael and Brian and Jim and Jeffrey and Gwen and Hari and Ray and Margaret and Judy and Mark and Michael. On weekends, I don’t remember their names but they wear strange uniforms.
Online there are other friends of which some I know and some I only observe like looking through a window or listen through a wall. Sometimes I comment and sometimes they respond. It is a very awkward conversation, like waiting for a letter in the mail.
My friends today are very similar to her friends from the past. They don’t talk back. Much of their conversation I don’t have to listen to but am comforted by their background noise. I can turn down the sound and make up what they are saying and then laugh. Then I can turn them off.
I know they will be there tomorrow. Looking at me behind the glass. The same pleasant smiles and non-evasive remarks are always available. The location may change but I’m guaranteed I will learn something new. They may show me how to cook or take me to distant places or introduce interesting people or ideas. If I don’t like what they are doing I can change their presents with a click of a button. How many times at a party have you ever wanted to do that?
The real friends, those who visit me daily, mostly like hobos seeking free food are the critter crew. Offering a fairly quiet and protected area, they return every day to consume their daily buffet and reward me with their antics of amazement and sing sweet wakeup songs not found on ringtones.
Some day I’ll record some of these strange conversations I have with my feathered and furry friends. When the neighbors hear me they run inside, but these guys seem to understand my crazy talk.
Note: The image above was some friends from junior high school. I have no ideas who they are.


Art said...

Hmmm, well my TV is often on, but I have no friends there...

David Mooney said...

Touching, Cliff. I've always been something of a loner and have a pretty narrow social life, so I get what you're saying. Nice piece of writing.

David M.