Saturday, June 6, 2015

Thanks, Facebook.

Had lunch with an old friend yesterday. I hadn't seen him in years. We were close in college, two working class townies surrounded by a couple thousand rich kids from New Jersey, but our lives took off in different directions and we had drifted apart. But a few weeks ago we found each other on Facebook, that great cyber-detective of the Internet, and before long there we were having lunch at Joe's Inn.

He looked good, not very different from how I remembered him. We began to catch up over a fried chicken club sandwich and homemade potato salad. After twenty minutes or so he laughed, "This is great. Thirty-five years ago all we talked about was women. Now we spend lunch together talking about our surgeries!" Sad, but true.

We talked about our kids. His daughter had just given birth to his first grandchild. I was jealous. We talked about our successes and our failures. He had endured a difficult and acrimonious divorce, is there any other kind? He was just now rebuilding relationships with his kids, and coming out from under the financial devastation of the thing. Listening to his story, I couldn't help but feel grateful for my wife.

As we talked, it occurred to me that I can count on two hands the number of people on this Earth who I have a personal, thirty-five year history with. Generational friends are a rare thing anymore. We are so transient, so scattered, our attention spans so short. It's far easier to just lose the connection, to simply move on to the next thing in life. But when we do, we lose something valuable. We lose a life connection. We lose the things and the people who anchor us to the world. I'm getting to old for that, too old to neglect the old friends.

It was a great lunch. We promised to do it again soon and I believe we will. 

Thanks, Facebook.