The Other Is Awesomely Gold
Here’s what I remembered within moments of arriving: There’s nothing like old friends to put you in an awesome mood. When you talk with old friends, it’s like code language. Words, details, names can get omitted and you still all know exactly what and who you’re talking about. Your landmarks are all the same, and I don’t mean only the physical landmarks, like your high school. (As a side note, when the Awesome Guy asked me this morning where I was from originally and I said Odessa, the other guy behind the counter said, “You guys have a great football team.” Love it. [Even if it’s not true anymore. Still, with Friday Night Lights, many people now know that landmark. Go class of ’89…])
With old friends, it’s shorthand. Even though your present-day lives may not have crossed in five years, somehow that stuff is easily filled in, even if it’s filled in in a decidedly (different type of) shorthand fashion. (An example: Kirby: “How was living in LA?” Me: “Terrific. I had a blast. I self-destructed in Los Angeles.” Larry: “You self-destructed in LA?” Me: “Yeah.” Larry: “Anybody need another beer?” Perfect. And I’m not being sarcastic.)
A couple of highlight quotes from the night:
Kirby: I've heard three of your stories, and two involved you bulldozing someone. From now on, I'm calling you the Bulldozer.
Me: Yeah, but the third one involved me getting bulldozed.
Kirby: I don't care. I know plenty of other stories. To me, you're the Bulldozer.
Kirby: You bulldozed her to the curb. You’re like a Pam.
Larry: I’m, like, a male Pam.
Larry: Are you wearing… shorts? Or underwear?
Kirby: I’m wearing shorts. (Climbing back into the hot tub) I’m wearing boxer… shorts.
Do you ever laugh as hard with people as you do with old friends? Whenever my best friend Shannon and I are together, we laugh hysterically almost non-stop. It’s unbelievably fabulous. And we’ve been friends since we were three. Same with my friend Melissa. It’s an endless laugh-fest, unless something’s wrong with one of us, and then we know we can always call each other to cry or complain or dissect – regardless of how long it’s been since we’ve spoken.
That was one of the beautiful things about being back in LA recently. Even though those friends haven't known me 31 years (wow, that's scary), there are still years spent together, and a knowing of each other that comes along with that. And having that moment of reconnect has put me back in touch with my LA friends in a way that was somewhat missing before, and I love that.
That's not to say that you can't ever have that with someone new. As soon as you begin to spend time with someone, you start to create that knowing and the older you are, I think, your stories come out sooner; you build faster. And if you continue to spend time with and invest in that person (as long as it's a mutual investment), you'll look up one day and realize that your new friend has become your old friend: someone who has known you, who knows you now, and who wants to continue to know you in the future. Two very new friends convinced me to come out Tuesday night and, even though I regretted it Wednesday, they had me laughing and happy when I had no good reason to do/be either.
The fact is, with old friends -- even ones you haven't seen in years -- you’ve got history. They want to know who you are now –- but it’s always filtered through the who-you-used-to-be and, in a way, that’s nice. Because the who-we-are-now is always informed by who-we-once-were. How awesome, then, to have friends who can know both?
In other awesome news: I have a kick-ass new t-shirt that says, “Proud to be awesome.” Love it. Thanks, Sam.