Sunday, October 21, 2007

The Road

Tonight, as I was finishing one last bit of studying before the midterm I have for my Biology class tomorrow morning, my best friend Jim called, just to catch up with me.

In the course of our conversation, we talked about the Biology class, which he'd taken a few years ago, when he was considering a nursing career. He'd worked for a long time as a graphic designer, and had become frustrated with the field; most graphic designers work in advertising, and advertising is the first thing to be cut when there's an economic downturn. Fortunately, someone had the good sense not only to hire him permanantly in the field, but to promote him into management a couple of years ago. He shelved his plans to enter the health care field, but his foray into the classes in that field made its mark. We talked about cell structure, the electron transport chain, evolution and the universe. It was a typical conversation for us.

In fact, a typical conversation might also include art, history, global warming, karma, families or ethics. Or any of a thousand topics. He's someone who I can mention Crick and Watson, Roger Maris and asterisks, or make a joke about Jackson Pollock and he knows what I'm talking about without me having to preface or explain it. He's babysat my son, been the best man at my wedding, and knows every skeleton in my closet. He's celebrated every success and commiserated with me on every failure of my adult life. We have more "in-jokes" than I can count.

I talked to him about my recent work experience and how if I hadn't have lost the job downtown, I wouldn't have ended up in the current job, which I love, and would probably have had to drop my class. He told me how much he's enjoyed his new hobby, running in 5K races, and when his next couple of runs are. We made plans to talk before next weekend to make plans to get together.

After we hung up, I got a glass of red wine and settled in to spend an evening hanging out with Kim and watching the Red Sox and Indians play, and I thought about the road to where I am.

In the course of our conversation, we had talked about how, statistically, we have about another 40 years or so left to our lives. We are, statistically, a little past the half-way point in our lives. We are, as they say, middle-aged.

After talking to him, I thought about my first 46 years and the beginnings of our friendship when he and I were 18 and 22, respectively. I remembered a hundred great times with him, including the "Gentleman's Lunch," an institution that cemented my and Jim's friendship when we were in college together. I remembered the couple on the tandem bicycle, "adamant" and "copiously." Like I said-- a million in-jokes. I'll probably blog about them all over time.

Something he reminded me of tonight, and always reminds me of, is that there are things that you think are bad that turn out to be blessings in disguise. The road you take sometimes isn't what you thought it was going to be when you turn around the bend. And it occurred to me that sometimes, it isn't just the road you take; it's who walks beside you that is important.


Monica said...

it isn't just the road you take; it's who walks beside you that is important

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Chatting with old friends is definitely one of those things that gives me perspective and keeps me grounded.

Skylers Dad said...

I have a wonderful friend, Dennis who I have known since we were both 4. I can pick up the phone and call him and immediately we are both back in high school busting each others chops.

Those old friends are the best friends, aren't they?

The Idea Of Progress said...

I'm generally more concerned about who is following me in that car.

(great post...what was the Gentleman's Lunch?)

Natalie said...

He sounds like the best kind of friend to have and you seem to have many of them. You're a lucky fellow.

That cell picture brought back so many memories. I heart the golgi apparatus.

cheer34 said...

G Man has walked next to me and I next to him for 33 years. The road, path or waterway never mattered as long as he was, is next to me and I next to him. thank you for reminding me of this.

Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein said...

Wistful post Mr. Yen. I feel you on the middle age thing, although knowing my family's medical history my middle age was probably in my mid 20's.

The Lady Who Doesn't Lunch: said...

Amen Brotha! Everything good in my life now seems to be the result of a past mistake or disaster. Can't complain.

GETkristiLOVE said...

As an art major in Graphic Design, I feel his pain - I lasted about ten seconds in the world of advertising.

So who you going to root for now, eh?

Bubs said...

Another wonderful post sir. I'll have to show this to MizBubs:

"...that there are things that you think are bad that turn out to be blessings in disguise. The road you take sometimes isn't what you thought it was going to be when you turn around the bend. And it occurred to me that sometimes, it isn't just the road you take; it's who walks beside you that is important."

I've heard nearly those same words from my bride more than once over the years.

Tenacious S said...

Johnny, I couldn't agree with you more. I am far more concerned about who is with me on my journey than anything else. Events happen, places change, but the ones you share the journey with make life worth living.

vikkitikkitavi said...

Nice post, JY. I got similarly wistful this weekend watching the Red Sox game with my Spooney in our Pismo Beach hotel room.

I thought about how awful my divorce was, and how when it happened that I was so sure that being a 43-year-old divorced woman was just about the worst thing in the world.

But it led me here, where I am so happy. And so it goes, right?

'Bubbles' said...

That is very beautiful, and you are so lucky to have long-term friends like that.

I envy you. My life prior to the birth of my children is really just a black hole. With very little exception I either lost touch with friends prior to my 30's or was abandoned by them. It is one of my biggest issues, I suppose.

Not to say I'm a pathetic loser, damnit! I walk beside three of the most fabulous souls on this earth - and time changes everything, just as you said!

'Bubbles' said...

Oh! And I hope the exam went well!

Chris said...

Beautiful, JY.

I wish everyone could experience friendships like yours, ones that are timeless and unconditional. I know I have and I'm continually thankful for it.

Beth said...

Ain't it the truth!

Danielle said...

Hey guy,
Life took over for awhile but I'm back and missed you so much I gave you an award at my new spot.

As always