Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Beautiful Friendships.

Have you ever fallen for a coworker?

I don't mean "fallen" in the romantic way. I mean it in the way that allows you to discover a real kinship with someone that you never would have sought out, just because you walk into the same office every day. You say your good mornings, you silently tolerate injustices together, you commiserate over shared hurdles, and you accidentally discover someone great. I still think of awesome people that I met at work: Some are now far away or long out of touch, but I remember jokes they made, ways they operated, stories they told.

Have you ever worked someplace where you have no connection to the people around you? You walk in there and it's all polite, but you wouldn't care if you never saw those people again. It's like a never-ending doctor's appointment. That's what makes the jobs with cool people all the more precious.

I met one of my best friends when he joined our "news" organization in New York in 1998. When he started work, he was always extremely nervous about doing something wrong and I thought he was way too concerned about things. He was the Fretful New Guy, and that's all he was to me. Then one day I was talking to no one in particular about a radio station in Washington. "Oh Christina," he said, turning around in his chair. "Do you know D.C. radio?" Thus, a friendship was born.

Other connections have not been so long-lived. I once joined a team of five people that made my job, and my life at the time, bearable because of the amount of fun we had. Every day, we filed into the conference room for our story meeting, and that was probably the best part of my day. But one of us eventually left the company, then another one, and two remaining people paired off and got married. I'm only friends with one of them now, but it was fun while it lasted.

My newest work coterie consists of myself and three other people. We should probably be sick of each other by now from the amount of socializing that we do on top of work, but somehow we aren't.

This quadro-friendship seems all the more sweet because it seems unlikely to last. Three of us are single and the other is married but with no real responsibilities. We are all at various stages of the honeymoon with our employer. At some point, something is bound to bring down our happy dynamic: a new job, a move, a new attachment, a falling-out. Something will happen, and things will not be the same. I guess one benefit of age is that your enjoyment of things as they are is enhanced by the awareness that they will eventually change.