Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Keeping up with friends

It finally feels like winter around here, right as the season is changing. Usually winter means rainy weather, but so far this season it has been abnormally dry. The last week or two has seen lots of showers, bringing some much needed precipitation. It's not like a steady day of gloomy skies and rain, but more like fits and spurts of rain. Sun for 20 minutes, rain for 15, sun for 40, rain for 10, sun for 10, rain for 30, etc. Essentially it's umbrella-toting weather. Also, it's been really gusty lately - winds from 30-50 mph. Since we have all the windows open we have to have any and all papers weighted down in order to prevent a total mess.

I finally called one of my MN friends the other day. Well, technically she's no longer a Minnesotan. She was in TN, now NC. She's still working for Thomson and moving up the corporate ladder. I'm very happy for her. It's nice to see the system actually work - where hard-working people are promoted and moving up the income bracket. I only talk to her every (very) few months which is a shame. Actually, that's true for most of my Minnesota friends. It's not that I don't think about them, not that I don't wonder how they're doing, but for some reason I have a hard time figuring a time to talk to them. It takes actual effort to coordinate time zones and schedules to accommodate a phone call. In a lot of ways Facebook is both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand it allows me to keep tabs on my friends through their postings, but on the other, I frequently use FB as a substitute for actual interaction be it e-mail or phone.

I have one good friend back in MN that I haven't talked to since . . . May? Maybe June. We talked on the phone once, I doubt it but maybe twice, since my trip back to MN last Memorial Day. We played a little bit of phone tag. Months passed and then she sent me an e-mail about getting together during my winter trip. I haven't called her since the holiday season since the holiday season was just a few weeks ago, right? Oh wait, you mean to tell me it's the middle of March? Yeah, I'm a terrible person. I get promotional e-mails from Tiffany's and Old Chicago which remind me every week or two that I need to call her. (Two places that we used to hang out regularly.) And most often whenever I want to talk sports, I think of her. She's one of the few female friends I have who likes and understands sports. I've spent more than a couple NFL drafts with her, eating pizza, drinking beer and commentating on the reaction of the athletes as their names are called. We took a road trip to Austin, TX to visit her folks and watch Longhorn baseball while the ground was still frozen in MN, and I was in her apartment watching the BCS national championship game when Vince Young led Texas to the national title. (She's a UT alumna. Not as nutty as some of them, but definitely proud of her school.)

She helped me through the break-up with my ex, when I was at my lowest. I was there for some things that occurred in her life too. I just don't understand some days how I've let it go this long without talking to her. How do you share a close friendship with someone for years and then fall out of contact because of distance in the 21 century? I think part of it is that I rely mainly on e-mail and Facebook as communication tools these days, and those aren't her primary tools for connecting. Although, it's been months since I've talked to her, so my information could be out of date. She could be checking her e-mail all the time, chatting on Facebook every evening, and I don't know because I haven't talked to her in forever. But then again, I guess it's a two-way street. She could reach out to me. I just feel like the ball is in my court.

I think this "issue" of maintaining friendships is just going to get more complicated as time goes on. Bernadette leaves next month and I know that I want to continue our friendship as she and Ken head back to the mainland. But, like my Longhorn friend, our friendship has been predicated on hanging out in person. We don't usually e-mail or Facebook. I wonder how our friendship will change as we go forward. And who knows how many close friends I'll make as Zac and I move with the Navy over the next 10 years? (Hopefully I'll make a few.) Then I'll have even more people that I want to keep tabs on. It's a bit overwhelming to think about. I guess I just have to hope that my friends understand that my love and affection for them continues, even when the communication doesn't.

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