Saw an old friend from an old job today after, I don't know, 10-odd years of living our lives and trading the occasional email. In the old days, we'd sit in the crappy Irish pub after work sometimes, drinking whiskey sours and talking about fiction-writing.
Today, we sat in a middling hotel restaurant at lunchtime talking about real life -- kids, jobs, real estate, book promotion (not that I have any kids or real estate or a book to promote) -- and yet, in a weird way, it was like no time had passed and we were still in the crappy Irish pub.
We talked about all the people we'd known and befriended from our old workplace. "The thing is," I said, "I don't really hang out with anybody at my job now. At The Old Network, I felt like I made real friends. Now, I'm not as interested. I don't go to happy hours as much as I should. I just don't care as much. There's a baseball game outing this month..."
"But it's all a lot of effort," J said.
"Exactly," I said. "It's like, I have enough of a hard time keeping up with my relationship, my family, and the friends that I already have. I don't want to meet any new people."
"Yeah, I don't want to meet any new people either," J said. He's married with two kids and lives by the beach in a lovely house in Connecticut, the lucky bastard.
"Maybe it's the stage of life we're in."
"It's the stage of life. It reminds me of this Sinbad routine where he says, you only need two people in your life: one to look in the window to make sure you're still breathing, and one to call 911." A Sinbad reference: impressive.
I laughed. "Yeah. Or, did you watch Six Feet Under? There's a scene where Brenda says, 'I always thought that as I got older, I'd have more people around me.'"
The actual scene I was trying to conjure goes like this (with thanks to this blog):
brenda: i always thought that i would have more people in my life as time went on.
billy: hmmph… doesn't work that way.
brenda: yeah. i’m starting to realize that.
billy: its almost like as we get older, the number of people who completely get us shrinks.
I've met my share of people who "get" me, along with my share of people who don't get me (or whom I do not get) but are grandfathered in because we met at a time of life when shared experiences, a certain sensibility and sheer availability threw us together.
I like to think that maybe (maybe?) there are a few more of both types of people in my future. They're just fewer and farther between.
Music: "Another Day"