Gray Matters - The evolution of friendship
Belfast — All of this ongoing planning for my upcoming 20-year class reunion has really brought a lot of people I haven't seen for many years out of the woodwork, which has been a lot of fun.
But the people I have been connecting with more regularly than usual are those in my class who I considered my best friends.
My two besties from the Belfast Area High School Class of 1994 were a crazy lady named Paulette Desveaux and an equally crazy guy named Carl Pomeroy, a fellow who has also been known by his family nickname, Mannie.
It's not that we really lost touch after high school, quite the opposite really, thanks to Facebook and other social media that has allowed us to carry on as if we were just a few miles up the road from one another.
In reality, we've all built our lives in different states all across the country. Despite the fact that there have been hundreds of miles separating us, that we have not been in the same zip code together for well over 10 years, and sometimes months will pass before we get a chance to catch up by phone, every time we do speak it's still the same. Each of us just pick up where we left off, whenever we left off, as if we had just wrapped up our last conversation yesterday.
Now, with the reunion shaping up for a weekend in late fall, we've begun to solidify plans to catch up in person, and it's exciting to think I'll have that chance to sit down with both those besties, have a few drinks and fill each other in about what it's really been like to be unleashed on the world as adults.
Life seems so much more complicated than it was back when I first met both of these people who have become such huge parts of my life. Back then it was so easy to just decide how our lives were going to be, and to take false comfort in that decision simply because we said it would be so. For instance, it was not the least bit laughable for us to believe we would buy a bunch of houses that neighbor each other, attend college together, work at the same place, and then end up in the same nursing home together.
And through all of those years, our spouses would become the best of friends, and all of our children would grow up knowing one another, attending school together, and from us the friendship cycle would continue. Through that time, we could of course squeeze in all of our old favorite pastimes, such as racing abandoned shopping carts down Main Street hill and giving goofy looks to random passersby for the sole purpose of amusing ourselves.
Sure, why not?
Well, life is really the why not, isn't it? It's that thing that happens when we leave high school and the safety of our family homes to go out and see who we really are, decide who we want to be and find ways to make it so. For both my besties, as is the case with lots of young Mainers, they sought their opportunities in other states. I am so happy to be able to say that Paulette and Mannie have gone on to do great things, and I am so very happy to call them my friends.
I found my way here, and looking back on it, I wouldn't change a thing. I'm not saying I don't have days when I want more than anything to have just an hour with these two very special people in my life, but just like any native of Waldo County, we do the best we can with what we have.
These relationships do not always advance as you think they will in your youth, but in this I have found another total truth that I find comforting. That is, no matter how much we have all changed and grown since we left BAHS all those years ago, the ties that bind us grow stronger with each passing year and we have never stopped valuing the things at our very foundations that make each of us, well, us.
And I think it was Ralph Waldo Emerson who said, "It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them."
To me, this is one of the most truthful statements about friendship that I have ever read. Seeing it always reminds me of Paulette and Carl, the way we can all still be reduced to fits of tear-jerking laughter while remembering our misadventures from many years ago. They are the ones in my life who will always appreciate me at my selfiest self, who will accept my many flaws and still think I'm pretty great in spite of them.
Those who still see me as that crazy girl who was just stupid enough to volunteer to be the first to ride in the shopping cart race.
And those with which I will always pick up where we left off before, whether it has been two weeks or 20 years since we last had the chance to talk.
Get ready Belfast, I have the feeling more great memories are going to be made.