Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Value of Friendship

I’ve noticed an unintentional theme of this blog has been the value of the human relationship whether in a political, economical, social, or emotional context; though this may have been inevitable as society is an extremely interconnected web in which we all rely on one another for…well pretty much everything. 

The people who know me best may consider me overnostalgic.  I often try to place mystical meaning on either successful or unsuccessful relationships and friendships as if my life and existence was a messy collage of faces and experiences with the more important ones larger or more colorful than the rest (though all holding value).  Obviously, this is a futile exercise because the sum of the experiences and friendships don’t really amount to a finite answer.  Sure all of them have influenced both me and my direction in life in some, way, shape or form, but to assign it a specific overall meaning is probably a gigantic waste of time since the effects and variables are infinite. But it doesn’t mean I don’t like to try.

A friendship is something that really beats the odds.  If you think about all the people you’ve met in your life, whether in passing, school, work, wherever and compare that number to the number of even semi-meaningful friendships you’ve had in the same lifetime, its probably a pretty small percentage.  As mentioned in an earlier post, humans are incredibly complex beings that are often volatile and, well, hard to understand.  So anytime two completely different humans enter a functional, symbiotic relationship (whether romantic, platonic, or otherwise) it’s, for lack of a better term, a beautiful, unlikely thing.  For it to grow into a close relationship where trust is paramount is nearly impossible and should be held in such regard. 

In my earlier post on how we view athletes, I mentioned how humans often view people they don’t know as virtually a statistic.  Or they whittle someone down to a basic thought before they really get to know them: for example perhaps you simply identify someone by a physical feature, an obvious personality quirk, or as an asshole because they cut you off on the highway.  Before we get to know someone, we define them by this simple characteristic and compartmentalize them into small sections of our thought process until the “mystery” is unfolded during subsequent experiences and conversations.

I love thinking back to the first time I met a close (or not so close) friend and placing myself back in the mindset the day I categorized them as “cute,” “cool,” or “annoying.”  And I often wonder how I would have reacted if someone told me the day I had to escort the new redheaded kid in my fifth grade class to the nurse’s office that, twenty years later, I’d be the best man at his wedding.  Or if someone told me six years ago the girl I was about to go on a Hollywood networking drinks appointment with would, six years later, be someone I talked to every single day, all day, about anything and everything (and, believe you me, she rues the day!)  It’s funny that I once thought of these two people simply as a weird ginger head kid in a Miami Dolphins jersey and a blond girl with aspirations to move to India.  And now I know them inside and out and both hold power to effect me in some kind of emotional fashion. (It's especially strange to think about a significant other in such simplistic terms as well because, well, there's nothing even remotely simple about a romantic relationship...but I digress)

The genesis of a relationship or friendship is a small, fragile seed that has potential to evolve into a strong, hulking tree. And when one becomes apparent, I wonder what decisions I made along the way to foster it.  On the flipside, I sometimes consider people who have dropped out of my life and wonder where wrong turns were made and how my life may be different if alternate experiences occurred (yes, I can REALLY overanalyze a break-up!).  But careers come and go, money doesn’t hold much of a conversation, and personal hobbies only give you so much peace.  But a human connection is the thing that challenges us, helps us grow, and causes us to learn more about the world. A relationship is a mirror of not only how we view society, but also ourselves (for better or worse).  

To overanalyze this may be a complete waste of time, and even in some cases detrimental, but it’s also why I’ll never forget your first day as an intern at work, that first little league practice (I figured you would be the best player on the team, but you sucked), that first day of Hum class in college, the day I met you on the bus to our first day of kindergarten, the day you were introduced as the new kid in our third grade class and held that hot air balloon trapper keeper, the day I laughed when the hot chocolate machine at 7-11 blew up all over your shirt, the day I sat next to you in Earth Science (and the day you pushed me out of that same seat), the day I thought you were Michelle Williams, the time we put art on the fridge, that table in the Astor Place Starbucks, that high school radio show with all the curse words, the first time I sat next to you in that cramped desk in that cramped Tribeca office, the day one of my best friends introduced me to you as his significant other (and later his wife), those days writing in the K-cafe, the time you handed in your stolen Portuguese paper in Spanish class, the day I watched a Broncos game with you in that crappy bar by my house, the day I met you in that internet chat room, the time we shared the last water at that Portland concert, the time I froze your Falcons hat, the time I froze your underwear, the fiction section of the Barnes and Noble, backstage at some rock show of some band I can’t remember, the day you were just my good friend’s annoying little brother, that cold street outside the Blues Xplosion show, the day you vomited on my shoes, the first day we worked together for that horrible woman, the day you answered the Craig’s List ad about the free room in my apartment, the first time I saw you waiting by the window at the Atlanta airport, the day I met you at that crazy bar in Stockholm, the time I tracked you down on the way to LAX baggage claim, talking sports at work, the day my friend introduced you as his weird college roommate, and the day we decided to get lunch as two boring temps with nothing better to do.

It’s incredible how people come in and out of life to shape you. And I love you all for making everyday a little more interesting than the one before. 


  1. Aw, am I the weird college roommate?

  2. Love the shoutouts. I should add in Eric Eats Eggs and my resulting departure from the gifted program.

    We love you too!

  3. love ya bird man (& loved reading this, too!)

  4. Isso é muito bom, Brett. Você tem uma memória muito louco, eu mal consigo lembrar como eu comecei essa frase. Manter o blog acima; Estou ansioso para que isso se torne uma leitura diária para mim.

  5. ha! thanks sean! (i actually put it through a translator and understood most of it)

  6. Those translators have come a long way since 1997. :)

    I linked to a few of your blog posts on facebook. Good stuff.