Tag Archives: friendship

Have we met? I love you.

Imagine having a relationship with someone for years, decades perhaps, and never having met them.

I’ve known people, through my work on the net, literally for decades. One fellow, Charles Carroll, I met while writing magazine articles for MIND (Microsoft Internet Developer) in the late 90’s, and while we worked on that ancient technology known as Classic ASP. We still connect, though infrequently. I’ve never met the man.

I once worked for a fellow for five years; we never spoke. Only exchanged emails.

These days it’s as common as “Alexa: play my morning mix”. We get to know folks — through the internet — and may never speak to them, never see them, never identify who they really are. But yet, we know them.

Attachment through familiarity. Time does that to folks in occasional, or frequent contact — regardless of the medium of communication. Consider penpals: a 19th and 20th century pastime which hooked up people from across realms, countries, continents. They exchanged pleasantries, goings-on, and perhaps, more deeply, misgivings, personal beliefs and aspirations.

Did they meet? Seldom is my guess. But still, they developed a relationship. Perhaps a true and soul-penetrating connection that may have held the two ends-of-their-string up for years.

Today this exists anew. All of you have people you interact with whom you’ve never met. Will never meet. Are such relationships lesser than because of this physical divide? I think not. I think there are those of you with whom I’ve connected, on some level, through this digital bridge. And I think you too have made connections to folks you feel attached to, indebted to, cosmically enmeshed to the point where their absence might leave you wondering — what happened? Where are you? You might feel deflated somewhat, lost.

What if they were to go away and you would never know them again. Their cheerful notes would cease. Their place in your ritual would gap open, unfulfilled. Their vanishing would leave a hole in your life, one that you might not patch, not really knowing if their absence was permanent — or their delay of interaction simply stretched out.

Stretched out and out… until forgotten.

I’m certain, were some of us to meet, we’d be fast friends, confidants and fishing buddies. And as you disappear from my virtual life, and I from yours, recall that there was a spark of connection shared between us.

I’ve never met you, but I love you.

 


Transitory associations

If you’ve have had a number of jobs in your life, you’ll understand that, although some of those friendships you developed at prior workplaces may linger, if you don’t share some fundamental feature of human understanding — they’ll probably fade.

The same goes for neighbors you’ve had as you’ve moved your body around the world. As well as friendships you’ve had in high school or college. People come and go in your life, some last a day, some a year and some much longer.

Perhaps the hardest part of friendship is letting go.

I had a dear friend in high school. My only friend in high school, really. We played hookie together, were on the same sports team (rifle team) and worked the same strange summer job our 17th and 18th years (running a blueberry farm in Frankford, Delaware). We went our separate ways our last September and lost touch but for a faint spiderweb tendril that joined us and wavered in the wind every so often. Strangely, we got married the same calendar day, and married a woman of the same name, all unbeknownst to each other.

He committed suicide a few years ago. I have never learned why he didn’t bother to say goodbye. I would have understood.

We ride this train and people step on and off our personal Pullman car. Yet in the end we pull into the station alone. Waving goodbye, along the way, to those who have ridden with us through the rough spots, the early track, the long lonely stretches — is hard.

But you get used to it and learn that people come and go. And that is just the way of it.

Friendships melt like winter snow and are followed by blossom-like faces of new acquaintances, who, if you’re lucky, may sing to you songs of the fresh season.