Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Friends

Carnival time:

"One good reason to only maintain a small circle of friends is that three out of four murders are committed by people who know the victim." - George Carlin

Bittersweet friendships are. I don't have many close friends. I take people very seriously and it takes me a while to adopt them as friends. I've had trusts betrayed, invitations not returned and sycophants who really don't care too much but just want to add me to their list of ever expanding 'friendships'.

It's not time that makes friends. Friendship is like falling in love. That instant connection, chemistry, an ability to suffer long silences or understand what the other means without having to flesh out the details. Being able to fall out and make up and not have it taint the future. Sticking up for each other through thick and thin. Having the metaphorical balls to be honest with each other, hopefully without hurting either party. Conspiring together. Being unafraid to point out the spinach in your tooth or the mascara on your eyebrow. Understanding the meaning behind that seven second hug. Sharing joys, woes and frankly . .the day to day drudgery that tends to eek into our lives borne out of necessary routine.

I have friends who I've known since I was 13 years old, others that I met just last year. Some that I know more intimately than their parents or lovers or husbands, others that I've known for decades and still wonder what makes them tick. I have friends in their 60's and friends barely 20. I am also fortunate enough to have two offspring who are without doubt my closest friends.

I'm not a good friend. I'm lazy, I don't keep in touch. This year I didn't even get my Christmas cards in the post. I forget appointments or I cancel out at the last minute. I don't socialise a great deal and I don't suffer fools or falsity. But if they need me, or I need them, I know who they are. I'd walk over broken glass for my friends should they require it of me.

Blogging is interesting because you make 'friends' that you've never met. . Facebook is even more interesting because you can find friends. I've come to know many wonderful people through this silly addiction but they/you aren't here. I can't touch you, hug you, share a meal with you, get drunk with you or truly understand you. Similarly, you can't save me when I'm hurt, you can't share my joy when I'm elated. Few of you will disagree or cross me and many of you will wonder on when the blog gets dull or life takes over.

Most of you wouldn't recognise me in the street or know my facial expressions or what I sound like. One of my dearest bloggy pals once said "I wish we lived next door to each other . . I could really do with a best friend!" She has no idea how much I wish that could happen. . .but she's on the other side of the world so it's not likely. I love my wonderwall because each day when I go to work, there you are . .little pieces of the blogger puzzle staring me in the face. Smiling, happy, silly . . you can still send a contribution if you like!

Then there are friends who do know the physical me but have little or no insight into who I really am. It's odd, but only a few of my friends read the blog, even fewer comment. We socialise, we chat, we laugh, we drink but rarely do we go 'deep'. Frankly few people really care . . I know I don't. I don't care about other people's problems unless I can see them really falling apart over them. Hell I have enough of my own to contend with, everyone does . . .then there are others who I care about disproportionately, deep and intense caring that some deserve and others don't. They don't pay it forward or give it back.

I'm left now wondering just who are my friends . . .who would turn up at my funeral and say 'she was alright was Baino, I'll really miss her'. Who would put there arm around me at 3am when I'm in tears and coping badly with sleep deprivation or depression. Who's here to share the bliss I feel when all is well with the world. Who will laugh with me until the tears pour. Who's around on quiet Sunday afternoons when I'd like some company to explore or walk or take a drive? Who's there to slap me into Tuesday when I'm being a complete pain in the bum.

Frankly, I'm becoming rather isolationist in my old age. Not because I don't value my friends but I think I'm becoming more sensible about the meaning of friendship. It isn't really being in someone's company all the time, it isn't the token gathering, it's not even the odd phone call . . it's how you are when you finally do get together and all that doubt and wondering and stiffness falls away and even after years of not seeing or meeting each other you realise that yes . . you are my friend and a precious and huge part of my life.

So to friends near and far, old and new, met and unmet . . .you are valued, cared about and important . . .just don't get pissed off if I forget your birthday. I'll be there if you need me.

And don't forget to turn up to my funeral. If some idiot books a piper, make sure he doesn't play "Amazing Grace" I'll come and haunt you! "Save a wretch like me . . " indeed!


33 comments:

English Mum said...

Ah, I know exactly what you mean. I have few friends, but they're very dear to me. I'd live in a big field in the middle of nowhere if I could as I'm not a fantastic socialiser. Maybe e-friends are an easy route out for us? It's like friendship without the hassle of ever having to meet! :)

Grow Up said...

What about "Pretty amazing grace"?

(sorry, the missus likes a bit of Neil Diamond)

Mrsupole said...

For some reason I love Amazing Grace if it is sung by the right person. But now I got la la ping, la la ping, going in my brain.

But it is funny, I want to know if you were over here today haunting me. I was thinking so many of the same thoughts today. My friends and family have just looked at my blog, none of them read it, and none of them have commented. My two daughters say they cannot be bothered. My best friend keeps forgetting I have one. My other friends ignore it. My family thinks I am crazy but talented to do this, they could never do anything like this. They never try.

Since I have been more house bound with the injured shoulder, I have been on here more and more and have discovered a wonderful world of fellow bloggers who I have been on a Blogging Journey with. I was thinking today that I spend more time with all of you than I have with anyone else, other than my children, grandchildren and hubby.

But I was thinking today that while I am home alone, I am not lonely. I call others on the phone, the grandkids come and stay, I make them read some of my blogs and some of the other blogs. They walk by and hear me lauging, and think Grandma is crazy, but they know I love them. Hubby lets me print out some things and posts them on his board at work, but does not know that I wrote them. If he knew I wrote them he would ignore them too, but since 'someone else' wrote them then they are funny and worth others seeing.

I wish I was a drinker and would drink a toast to you right now, but I guess I will just take one of those dang horse sized pain pills I have and say thank you for a wonderful post, for saying that which I was thinking today.

God bless, and thank you for being a blogging friend.

Me! said...

I read and I hope that I am one of those that you consider to be a friend cos I think your awesome and yes I think I would come over at 3am if you ever asked me too! (you would have to try and wake me up first - I sleep through anything) ;-)
But until I started reading your blog, I didnt actually know YOU and appreciate the person that you are! See you tomorrow!
Me!
(Sorry, hope you dont mind me being here but once I started I got addicted and couldnt stop LOL - Luv ya stuff)

Miles McClagan said...

Every morning you get Foxy Lolos fierce pout - lucky you!

At my funeral, I want I'm On My Way played - and my Dad, as a statement of his individualism in a conformist society would often say "Naeboys putting me in a box!" as in, hey, I won't be buttoned down.

First gag at his funeral is going to be "My Dad always said no one would put him in a box...guess you were wrong! But Seriously folks..."

Baino said...

Well look out when I sell Mrs W cos I have one known 'real' friend in Cavan and would you believe four blogging pals including you! It's on the map for my next travel exploits. So if you see an Aussie with a Dryzabone and a silly hat walking up your field, she's dropping in for at least one bottle of Jacob's Creek and one of your bagels!

Oh Grow Up, that doesn't rhyme! Seriously, I listen to songs and think 'Oh yeah that's my funeral song' but I should write them down . ."Miss you" by Blink comes to mind.

Mrs . .I always liked the song until my father died and we had a piper at his funeral. He loved watching the Edinburgh tatoo so we thought it appropriate. We looked at his playlist and the lyric 'saved a wretch like me' just didn't fit this lovely man so . . .God knows what the piper played but it was so loud we actually giggled!

Mrs . .I rather like that my more conventional friends don't blog. It allows me a freedom I don't enjoy otherwise. Oddly, the ones who read it are young and sweet. My daughter does but rarely comments then she knows me well enough not to. You have friends here that you will get to know better than many in the 'real' world, believe me. I think that those who don't blog think we're all a little mad, sad and lonely but that's definitely not the case. The other lot can't type! Horses for courses I say!

Oh, and one of my dearest friends stopped blogging years ago but we keep in touch so its a window to all sorts of wonder.

I'm not religious but 'God Bless' anyway.

Mel, you are among a very few of my Aussie commenters and I love that you bother to pop over. Get that Barista thingy going and next time I'm in Melbourne you can make me a coffee and flog me a Devo tea! No pun intended!

Baino said...

Oooh Miley snuck in there you little paragraphobic Tassie Devil. . .Ha! I want to have one of those decorated jobs . .must clear room in shed! And don't think you're safe! Hobart is a small town and I know you hang out at Syrup! I'm the fat not quite mutton dressed up as lamb who hasn't got the gaul to swing on the pole but may lose it when some minor celebrity nods in my general direction. And yes, Foxy smirks at me at 8:15 every morning and wishes me goodnight at 6.00 She teases me big time and makes me wonder what you really look like!

Bimbimbie said...

Tsup*!* Relax Baino your more human friendly than you realise ;)

Melissa said...

Baino -- I have a feeling that I'd fly to Australia for your funeral even though we've never met! :) Blogging is such an interesting thing ... I've met some folks on the blogs that I love dearly and I have friends I've known forever who don't read my blog. I tend to be a hermit and isolate a bit, but I have a close, small group of friends I know I can lean on when I need to. And the blogs I read are like having tea with a friend for a moment.

katesaid said...

It is fascinating to me, how friendships can form through a series of pixels and can be every bit as real and important as sharing face-time.

One of the good things about being in the sort of slump I've been in lately is that you learn a lot about who your friends are. I had a bad time in 2003, much shorter in duration, and it turned out then that I hadn't chosen my friends especially well. This time around, I have people who are staying in my face, literally or via the Internet, even when I get isolative and cranky.

nick said...

What a lovely and perceptive summing up of friendship. Personally I find it incredibly hard to make real friends as opposed to zillions of acquaintances. Which is why I was so astonished when Jenny and I instantly clicked. But there are lots of bloggers I think of as friends even though we've never met, just because I know so much about them. It would be good to meet a few more of them and find out whether we get on in the flesh.

jay said...

Baino, I have a feeling that if we lived close enough, we'd spend some time together!

I am with you on pretty much all that you say. I'm like you, crappy at keeping in touch, and yet I value that feeling of being instantly connected to my true friends when we do meet.

My best friend (and yes, I have thought deeply about what that word means) lived in the US. I'm in the UK, and yet here we are. We met online, with two strong common interests, have met several times in person and had a great time. We talk every day through PMs. We've fallen out, made up, no problems. We could have been sisters.

And yet there are others, right here in the UK who (as you say) can't be bothered to visit my blog, don't know as much about me, and would be mortally offended if I upset them and take the hump.

I quite like Amazing Grace, done right, but if you don't want it at your funeral, I'll flatten the piper for ya.

Candie Bracci said...

Hi Baino,well said.I'm a bit like you actually,even if I don't call or write to my friends often(they do the same),I know I'll always be there for them and they always be there for me.
Makes me think of a son "who the cap fit" by Bob Marley
"Man to man is so unjust/
You don't know who to trust/
your worst ennemy could be your best friend/And your best friend,your worst ennemy/
Some will eat and drink with you/
Then behind them su-su 'pon you/
Only your friend knows you secrets/
So only he could reveal it..."

Have a nice day
:)

English Mum said...

Ooh, Jacobs and bagels - add a bit of Wexford cheddar and we could be in for a long night!!

Ces said...

It's ridiculous that I would fly to Australia to burry you when you could not care or that won't do anything to your psyche. Why wait until someone dies. If you really want to meet someone then make mutual plans, (please don't demand to see a blogger every month or twelve times a year). Blogging offers the chance for seemingly close associations that both parties appreciate because most bloggers would probably not be able to maintain the intensity of such relationships in person.

Sometimes, the blogs offer this feeling of closeness and being connected when in fact it reveals how isolated someone really is. A person with 5,000 friends in Facebook, may be the most isolated and lonely person in real life.

You have it both. You are loved in person by people who care for you and you have blogger friends who for the most part I think are true representations of their real lives.

Quite frankly, I do not want to meet you in person for the first time at your funeral. And heck yes, I would recognize you if you walk past me at Narita or Nagoya.

Grow Up said...

Really? I just think I'm dead so who cares? I mean someone will I imagine, but it ain't gonna bother me much.

Megan said...

Great post as always.

Sometimes I really wish my entire family didn't read the blog. I think I'd be much more relaxed about what I put up there!

Anyways I don't count you as a friend, not yet, but I count you as someone that I'd very much like to be friends with!

Leah said...

Well, I thought this was a fascinating post, very honest, and I've enjoyed reading the comments. Only three of my "real-world" friends read my blog, and only because I trust them. I really let it all hang out on my blog! I'm happy, in general, to keep it separate from my everyday life.

I haven't analyzed my own bloggy vs. real-life relationship stuff too much, which is why this self-analytical post interested me so much.

Well, you've gotten me thinking!

Christopher said...

The only thing I can say, Baino, is please don't describe yourself as "isolationist". Just say you're becoming more like Greta Garbo.

My mother used to occasionally say, "I don't have many friends, but I have a lot of acquaintances." And she seemed happy with that.

Kath Lockett said...

You've hit the nail on the head for me, too. I tend to like my own space but would do anything for any of my friends, regardless of age, distance or how 'deep' we go.

I've found that friends that I thought were deep or otherwise always end up surprising me. I'd like to think I'm a good judge of character but like Julia Roberts said in 'Pretty Woman' (come on, it's old enough now that we can all admit we've seen it) to Richard Gere's response that no-one surprises him, she says, "Well most of them shock the hell outta me."

laughingwolf said...

i'm pretty much the same, baino... have all kinds of pals, few buds

not interested in being burned, yet again....

kj said...

oh baino, this one really touched me. i know so well what you mean. i will be back to read this slowly and thoughtfully, but you've mirrored many of my thoughts about friendship recently. i would take a bullet for the people i love, and sometimes i don't know how to reconcile distance and my day-to-day life.

"please don't demand to see a blogger every month or twelve times a year?" now why would i want to see a blogger that often? but a dearest friend, my beloved daughter, a person i love--now that i wouldn't demand but i surely would be grateful if that could happen...

Quickroute said...

I have many acquaintances but just a handful of true friends and I'm fine with that

River said...

Like Melissa, I tend to isolate myself. I was always shy, often "hanging back" in case others laughed at me or told me to just go away. I've been a loner most of my life and don't really know how to "do" friendship". I'm always surprised to find that people actually like me. I'm also happy to say that my kids are more outgoing than me and each has a circle of friends they are close to as well as being great friends with each other.

Ronda Laveen said...

That's okay. I don't have birthdays anymore anyway.

Baino said...

Oh and "ME" I read "Mel" at 6am this morning! so the Barista comment won't make any sense at all! I didn't realise it was you Jaime! And of course yur my friend, you invited me to your birthday party didn't you? I spend 8 hours a day in your company don't I!

Thanks Annie! All that's left for us is that ubiquitous meeting next time your in Sydney!

Melissa I think it's quite common for yummy mummies like you to be select about their social life. Family often comes first (by choice I might add). I actually envy your writers meetings which sound like a wonderful place for people who normally would not socialise to get together and share a common thread.

Kate you've had a rough trot this year and even though many of us can't put our arm around you or chew your ear, we're here for moral support if nothing else.

Well Nick you're one of the brave ones who actually took the plunge. It was lovely to meet you and Jenny, especially in the Sydney sunshine and I'd be happy to do it again and again!

Jay, I think we'd all get along frankly I mean I only visit blogs I like and I assume people only visit mine because they like what I have to say so stands to reason that we all have something in common despite our many differences.

A wise man gone too young that Bob Marley Candie. My father used to say that if you can count your true friends on one hand, you are indeed blessed!

Ah Ces you snossage. Of course you'd recognise me I'd be the one running at you with both arms flaling and screaming to collect on that cup of coffee!! You're certainly right in terms of Facebook, some people have hundreds of so called 'friends'! Silly really. Although I'm increasingly fond of the blog following I must say. One a month? God couldn't keep up the pace!

Grow Up that's true but I remember my aunt's funeral. She emigrated over here after her sister died in her 70's and it was so sad, just us and a couple of ladies from the retirement village where she lived. Such a great life, she influenced so many young lives but none were here to celebrate her life.

Megan, my sister does but gets upset sometimes cos I'm a bit blunt. The last time I had a bit of a go at her (unintentional I might add) she swore she'd never read it again but did confess today that she keeps track of my shenanigins in secret bless her!
My brother thinks I'm an internet crazy woman inviting reprobates into my life because anyone who blogs or uses Facebook has to be some kind of weirdo and well . . I'd be pleased to call you friend!

Leah don't analyse too much, you'll have another anxiety attack. It's wonderful when you meet people this way but you still need to keep real and maintain the less virtual friendships. I'm pretty hopeless at that!

Oh Chris, you're very sweet. No I'm not ready for the hermitage just yet but I am a bit of a homebody, frankly I'd like a little company to do things with on the weekend. Greta Garbo . .hmm . .thing is I don't really 'just vant to be alone!' Sorry about the sporadic visits, you're page takes a while to load . . .five more days and I'm on the flash gordon of internet plans there'll be no stopping me! muwahahahaha!

Kath that's true. . I've put a few friendships to the test over the years and the most surprising things have surfaced! Most of them rather good I might add!

Aww Wuffa . .sounds like someone treated you badly. I've been lucky but then I'm very selective.

kj yeh but I think friendships can be worn out if you're too full on sometimes. I tend to be a bit on the 'needy' side so I choose to be less so these days. Mind you a day without my children is a day too many (well except for Adam perhaps, I can manage a week of his room being tidy!).

Quickie, you're clearly a man who's comfortable in his own skin. You'll have a few more acquaintances after this trip! How's your poor wife?

River, I must admit, I've never been the madly popular one but not a loner, not in my early days anyway. I think being a single has made me a little more resilient and comfortable with my own company although as I get older, I do worry about being alone once my offspring leave home . .I just have to keep them in debt hehe! Seriously, I need to work a little harder at nurturing the friendships I have because they are indeed worth their weight in gold . . most of them!

Baino said...

Hey Ronda . .slipped in there between comments. Me either unless there's a zero involved and I have 8 years to go for that bloody milestone!

steph said...

Lots of food for thought here.

Friendships are funny things. My best friends are the ones who allow me to pick-up where we last left off without any feelings other than joy!

Families are funny about blogs. My nearest and dearest are generally very supportive of my blogging addiction but further afield, any mention of the blog is greeted with a polite silence.

To be very honest, Baino, I think we'd probably drive each other nuts if we lived in each other's pockets but thanks to our blogs, we've found our common ground and I for one, treasure it!

(((7 second hugs)))

Baino said...

Hi Steph. Yeh I'm not fussed whether my friends or family read the blog frankly it's rather nice having a 'dirty little secret' Although my SIL reads as well which is nice because we don't see much of each other. Yeh too much of a good thing!

Colette Amelia said...

is this a coming of age thing...becoming more of an isolationist? Do we become tired of all the energy expended?

When the chips are down it is interesting when you find out just who are the friends...and sometimes surprizing!

Susan said...

What a wonderfully honest post; I loved this. A true friend is pure gold, and the communicating is on a whole different level. I wish I was better at socialising and keeping in touch but I'm just not--I'm glad the few friends I have forgive me for it!

i beati said...

I love this show more than I can ever say . Their voices hahahaahahah

kj said...

okay, i've calmed down now. i got steamed by a comment here.

we get and give different things from different people. but baino, for the life of me, i don't understand why you would feel worn out by seeing a good friend once a month, or once a week for that matter? not an obligation--just getting together, hanging out, chit-chatting, having coffee. i have three good friends: one we try to see eachother every week and often do, one we plan to get together at least once a season, and another we hook up at certain holidays. to me the key is hearing and caring about what works for both of you and going from there.

and baino, screw the funeral part. the truth is if you even hinted that you needed my friendship in person, i would do my best to get there.

:)