"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!