It takes all sorts of friends to make up a life.
A pair of mine, 10 years or so older than me and from my decades-ago past, had a significant mentor-like impact on my late teens and then my early ’20s, at which point the three of us lived together briefly in London.
Much immaturity on my part and unaddressed expectations all round led to estrangement that was never healed.
I’ve searched for you, Phil and Ali of Careys Bay, many, many times online!
It doesn’t help that I expect you’re not the sort of folks likely to leave sizable online footprints – if any at all.
Nor does it help, Phil, that your name is identical to that of a Very Famous Jazz Trombonist.
But I miss you!
Of course, successfully tracking them down need not mean we would have anything to talk about after all these years – or any affinity at all.
Nor can I expect they will be as keen to hear from me again as I am to make contact with them!
For most of my life, journalism has provided the bulk of my friends – and even my family of sorts.
Changes to the industry means those day have gone.
Regardless of the esteem and affection in which I hold my current colleagues – and hopefully they, me! – the transient nature of the industry and my own now chronic role as a casual worker seem unlikely to yield the sort of friendships that last decades and lifetimes.
But I do enjoy staying fully in the loop with several much-loved buddies from my full-time journalism days. Sometimes social media inter-action even yields to your actual real-time face-to-face encounters – but not nearly often enough!
There’s other friends in New Zealand and the US so deeply embedded in my life that the relationships stay strong despite only minimal email or phone contact.
Sometimes that contact, by mutual assent, seems to be geared to be just sufficient enough to maintain contact in friendships that can and do spring back fully to life when opportunities present.
Like so many people today, I have friends I have never met face to face – people I “met” while participating in online forums and, subsequently, on Facebook and the like.
It is the nature of such relationships that they come and go a little more glibly than those forged in the intensity of family, work, school or neighbourhood circumstances.
Still, I count myself lucky to have accrued number of such characters who I am happy to call friends and look forward to the times when I can actually press the flesh with such pals.
Then there’s my son and children in general.
Bennie is now old enough that he need no longer be considered an intensely loved but nevertheless high-maintenance junior human being.
He’s grand company and in recent days has provided surprisingly insightful advice and reflections on a couple of issues affecting his father. And I’ll certainly be getting him to run his eyes over this post before clicking on the “publish” button.
It’s common place for parents to describe a child as their “best friend”.
But no matter how agreeable, loving and life-affirming such relationships may be, I wonder if “friendship” can ever be an accurate description of them.
And how about former partners and lovers?
In the most obvious case, I am blessed to have finally arrived at what seems to a be solid and loving friendship – although we can still have our moments!
In other instances involving other people, such relationships have not been created – perhaps out a lack of any necessity for such to occur.
Although I am again blessed in that there is – AFAIK! – a measure of goodwill and a lack of animosity.
Life, after all, does go on.
And among all the many rewards Consider The Sauce is providing to us, new friends are at the top of the list.