I went to the old friends’ get-together today anyway, 2 hours’ drive away, even though I had absolutely decided some days ago I would not.
Perhaps something happened when my mother’s operation had passed, made a little more space in my head … even for such things which are supposed to be fun.
Perhaps I just felt that MN needed to see me, even if it would be with little time for private talk about his parents or any other serious concerns in our lives.
Or perhaps …
I’m not sure what changed my mind but despite the long drive – after 1 hour drive to the family down south with Char and Jay, to let them off there … well, I ended up where I wanted to, with my old friends – or pals, if you will. And we had a great time.
Played a game, drank coffee, some beer. Chatted a lot. It was, in total, as superficial as expected but also as cozy as expected. And I got a few words with MN when we took a walk on a nearby beach, during a break, and it was good – although the news with his parents is anything but …
So all in all it went as it should. And I am glad that I went.
It is interesting, though, what changed my mind and suddenly made it feel okay to spend time and energy on this. If we leave MN (and JMO) out of the equation I had precious little commonality with any of the other old friends, except perhaps PL. We only see each other once a year or so – at MN’s place for this kind of gathering.
And the talk was about much the same things, as it always is. And nothing much had changed with some of the others – in their lives, in their outlook on the world. Nothing bad either, just … not much change. About what it has been the last 10 years or more, with a few exceptions.
Which is the reason I felt I would not use time and effort to go in the first place. Overall the net benefit in deep conversation or relation was negligible, if – as said – we factor out two of my still closest friends who were also there.
I don’t feel an answer is forthcoming, even when delving on it. But I suspect perhaps, as hinted above, that when we got a few days on the other side of my mother’s operation … I felt more as if I could do anything else than lock myself away in our apartment and just have some coffee and draw a bit. Which was what I originally planned. That and calling in ill with MN, our host. A little white lie, but what the hey – I could call him, as I also mused some posts ago, and we could talk about everything important in one phone call. I could do that another day.
But perhaps it was not so much about me, but about MN and his need to escape the world for a moment, doing this event for us – with games and coffee and beer and chit-chat. And it would have been less worth to him if we had not all been there. Sure, some of the ‘old guys’ could not come, but considering how close a friend I am, he would probably have taken something – if not a lot – from the occasion if I had called in sick. For MN.
I’d like to believe that is true – that it was important for him I was there, a part of the whole. Even if it was just being there, and even if we did not get to talk much.
It was the gathering of old friends itself that was important, and that was a gathering that should not be watered down too much – with too many absentees. Also, it was MN’s need to escape with a bit of fun and games and company of that sort.
Not to talk about serious matters in fact. He even hinted that much when he thanked us for coming.
So … a good thing to realize here, about my own place in the overall scheme of things. At least for this occasion. For another occasion my place – and role – might be different.
And this was what my friend needed, and I wanted to help my friend. When I considered not coming I thought about my own needs first, and – yes – they were indeed real some days ago, when I felt exhausted. But when some of that exhaustion lifted I could see this for what it was – and for what it meant to MN.
And then the decision to go was very easy.
At least that is how I see it now. But I think it is very true. And good.