I had dinner tonight with an old friend from high school who has spent the summer in New York interning at a law firm. He will be graduating from law school next year and may end up accepting a job here, as well. As we were chatting over pizza in the East Village tonight, I kept thinking how crazy it was that we have known each other for 14 years now, and that just 10 years ago, we graduated from high school together. It’s like every time we see each other, we are aging a teeny, tiny bit more.
On the bus ride uptown afterwards, I thought about why I’ve managed to stay in touch with some people as opposed to others. He mentioned a few people tonight that I did like in high school, people I am actually Facebook friends with, but I don’t actively keep in touch with and vice versa. Some of us tried to keep in touch shortly after high school and somehow drifted, others abruptly stopped responding to e-mails and phone calls, and others seemed to have just disappeared from the face of the earth. I thought about this friend tonight. Why are we still in touch? He is a self-professed cynic, which may or may not be a healthy thing for me to have in my life considering how cynical I have become over the years. Maybe we’re still in touch because there’s some weird understanding we have of each other because we grew up in similar environments at home, and because of that, we can understand each other in a way that gets others befuddled. It’s that feeling that when you share a bad experience you have had with a parent, that this person will look at you, and just by that look, you know he gets it because he’s experienced the same exact thing almost play by play, and he will never, ever say to you, “but he’s still your dad.”
Sometimes, it’s the optimistic people in these situations who really can’t help you.