Over the weekend, a good friend came back to town for a friend’s wedding. They had been gone for a few months and were only in town for the weekend. I got to church late, so by the time I got there, there were plenty of people in the process of catching up with her. I figured that at some point, I’d stop by to say ‘hi’, but I wasn’t going to wait in line. I knew that she’d be back home for good in a month, so I wasn’t going to be upset if I didn’t get that time to reconnect. Besides, she was in town for a wedding. I wasn’t going to take things personally if catching up with me wasn’t on her agenda on this trip.
I eventually did get a few minutes to chat. Since it had only been a few months since she’d been gone, it was easy to fill her in on what she had missed. Sure, we had Facebook, e-mail, and blogs to fill in some of those cracks, but it was nice to just let the conversation flow rather than sitting down and typing up bunch of concise facts. Even though the time was brief, I didn’t feel like my time was rushed and I was able to share what I needed to share. It’s not like my life had radically changed in the last 3 months and it won’t likely change too much in the next month by the time she comes back.
A year or so after our move to San Diego, Bruce’s family came to visit us, or more accurately, they came to California to visit some relatives and were nice enough to swing by to see us for a day as well. Since they had other obligations, their time with us seemed brief but I was obviously thrilled to see them and made the most of it. After their visit, there was a 6-7 year gap between that time and the next time I would see Bruce. We kept in touch through the years with a couple of letters, the occasional (more like annual) phone call, and eventually instant messenger/e-mail when the technology became available. I didn’t see Bruce again in person until my sophomore year of college and when I went to the airport to pick him up, I wondered if it would be really weird. We were no longer kids, we could legally drive cars. We pretty much missed each other’s teen years (though that may have been a good thing for us). The dynamic in our friendship could’ve understandably been a lot different, but there I stood there at baggage claim wondering if I’d even recognize him right away when he walked by.
Luckily for us, things hadn’t changed too much. We still loved to eat and play video games. He got along with Phil, who generously drove us around, and I didn’t notice any awkward silence. I don’t remember discussing what we had missed out in each other’s lives at all, but I’m sure there was a little of that. I think we spent most of the time focussing on the present and the surreal notion that we were actually sitting in the same room as adults. I think I asked him if he thought I talked like I was from California now or if I seemed different because of my move, but the only thing that seemed to stick out as different was how large the size of the asian population was at my school. I think a lot of the big changes in either of our lives were mentioned mostly in passing and we weren’t very aware of the weight that they carried. My oldest sister had gotten married and had a child. I was already an uncle. That’s kind of a crazy notion, but I don’t think I understood that then.
I’ve always found catching up with people as kind of an intimidating task and sometimes I’ve even found it intrusive with the friends who’ve dropped off the face of the earth and have come barging back into my life wanting to know everything they’ve missed out on. I’m not sure where this disdain stems from, since I can’t really think of any specific instances where I’ve had a bad experience. I’ve had to catch up with someone who missed out on years and years of my life in Bruce, and I’ve caught up with someone after just a few months of being out of the loop, and I found both instances to be refreshing. Perhaps I can put whatever bad taste was in my mouth behind me, and look forward to a future where I’m happily sharing about my past.