Friends Like These

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As the more dedicated amongst you are fated to discover over the weeks ahead, I have started to revisit some old friends in order to discover how they are faring in this straitened world of ours.  Some of them have allowed me back into their lives much more easily than others.  One or two of them had locked and bolted their doors so securely that I had to both warm and butter the spoons before I was able to prise my way in.  Making new friends is instinctive – the world was built on co-operation – but keeping them is a learned skill.  Friendship can, with neglect, all too easily disintegrate into disagreement and, if we’re not very careful, to hatred.  Our world will, one day, be destroyed by enmity.  None of us want to be BF’s with someone who would seek to conquer the world, but there is, I suppose, a temptation to want to be on their side if they should succeed.  My own friendship groups do not tend to contain ‘world conquerors’, most of my friends struggle to get on top of their TV remote.

People rarely change fundamentally.  Time brings small changes to us all, but essentially we remain the people we always were.  I am a man – I can check if you insist – and I have many of the same friends that I have had for the past fifty years, even if I have never really seen them in those intervening decades.  We will not have changed enough to not get along and if we have major differences of opinion, well it’s easy enough to ignore those isn’t it and talk about school.  I have friends I have never met but with whom I know I would get along swimmingly if ever I did.  I am an open book, a man of bottomless shallows, I do not have sufficient character to make enemies.  The worst I normally engender is apathy.

Some of my old friends here require far more time and attention than others.  The Bearded Man, for instance, uses far more energy than Frankie and Benny.  He needs me to pick over every word and phrase, he needs the kind of precision I do not usually possess, he needs a reason whilst the two elderly besties need me only to listen in every now and again.  They will go wherever they like.  Dinah and Shaw have popped into these pages more often than anybody else, but I can only ever visit them when I am in exactly the right state of mind and, when I am, I generally have nowhere else to go for a while.  The man in the lovat coat* is the man I hope never to be, but I fear, from time to time, that I might become.

I think all of our friends carry with them elements of ourselves: some we find desirable and some that we do not, whilst we carry with ourselves elements of all of those with whom we spend any time.  We devote most of our time to those we enjoy, whilst those we try to avoid are those most like ourselves.  I wonder if it is possible to actually have nothing in common with anybody, and if it is, I wonder if we could still be friends?

Perhaps I’ll ask around…

Envoi – some of these friends (in particular The Bearded Man and Dinah & Shaw) once they have let me in, do not let me go until they are ready.  Their posts are longer and, if I’m honest, there is little I can do about it except release them sporadically and, possibly, on Fridays to give you the weekend.  I hope it works…

I will drop the first of these tomorrow in my normal slot – please accept this as a friendly warning…

*The Meaning of Life

6 thoughts on “Friends Like These

  1. Very exciting news! “I have friends I have never met but with whom I know I would get along swimmingly if ever I did.” I understand that sentiment thoroughly.

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  2. I agree, most people I haven’t seen for ages- decades even- if they are friends then they will be friends now. Talking of a rediscovering world of worry,I hadn’t caught up with ol’ Addie and Evie since they came up out of the bunker after getting the Hell out of Deutschland a while ago, but they are still the same, making plans, pushing their boundaries, making expansive comments. Perhaps one of my more Conservative pals can tell them the parties over.
    Seriously, I still have the same best school friend.

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  3. I have friends from all different stages in my life. Some I’ve kept close, some have faded away. We change, we evolve as we age and honestly? I’ve simply outgrown some. Nothing wrong with that, the good memories are still there.

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