Friday, February 16, 2007

Old blues and losing track

You'd think I'd be better at staying in touch with some of my old friends- after all with my interest in railroads I shouldn't be losing track. That's not the case.

What is it that keeps some people within the pull of gravity and orbit? I was going through old slides the other day. In my hand I held a picture of a friend in a cold creek up near Burnsville. Knowing the way things have changed that creek is probably now sitting in the middle of some gated community. If only those folks knew we would skinny dip up that way. Thirty years or so things were different. For one thing we were skinnier so skinny dipping wasn't that obscene. If we did it today we'd look like whales and sound like huffing puffing stam locomotives.

But that is not my thought today. My thought today deals with why some friendships keep going and why some seem to drift by the wayside eventually coming off the track. (So to speak).

I couldn't tell you where my college roommates are. Damn we lived together and then we drifted apart. Of course, in a couple of instances there wasn't much there to start with. My first two roommates were sort of school mandated. My first roommate had one thing in common with my- our birthdays. Other than that we were way way apart. But there was one roommate that was close in mindset- at least at the time. We lost touch almost immediately after parting. Some folks might say we grew apart. Nah. We just didn't give a damn.

But there are other folks I thought of as friends. There are a few I even look back on and wish we'd stayed a little more in touch. I'm not talking about the "pre-requisite Christmas card" that goes out to lots of folks.

I think one thing that keeps some people in touch is that there is a sense of "growing" or maybe a sense of living that comes from the relationship. Why bother if we don't feel like the other party is helping us change in a positive way? Maybe that's the problem. I just didn't offer something to some of the folks I once knew. Maybe they are guilty too. Maybe we just got too caught up in our definition of survival. Maybe I just lost faith because I shifted in other directions and they didn't. I don't know. I'm just grasping at straws.

What do I have to offer? A good question. I have food recipes. I can answer questions about a thousand insignificant things. Want to know how to troubleshoot an electrical problem? I might not be able to fix the problem but I can usually make suggestions that won't get you killed. How about woodworking or the Internet? Want to know about N scale railroads? I'm your man. How about Zen Buddhism? I'm no zen master but I can point you in the right direction. But some of my friends didn't want to know about those things. Some didn't want to listen to me talk about the books a read or the music I listen to or what I think about certain politicians. And so we drift.

And when I catch myself drifting, I listen to old blues and I look at old pictures. Touchstones to times that can't be again.