Once Works Well was pure technology. Now it seeks merely to divert.
Pansy subjects - Verse! Opera! Domestic trivia! - are now commonplace.
The 300-word limit for posts is retained. The ego is enlarged

Monday, 14 November 2011

Friendship and good written stuff

What constitutes a friend? Shared humour, conversation, trust, self-evident generosity. Plus duration: five years minimum, say. I've worked out I may have two and a half friends, the half having recently swum back after thirty years. Another I have not included is distant with status uncertain.

None a woman but not by choice; better writers than me have struggled with that one. I look at my links list and realise its potential given my tiny “real” world. WW is three years old, so two years to go. But then comes the key issue of reciprocity.

HATED The Graduate. Was it serious or was it purely comic? Except for the music which came with worthwhile lyrics. From the same source here’s the middle eight (actually the middle six) from Night Game:

Then the night turned cold
Colder than the moon
The stars were white as bones
The stadium was old
Older than the screams
Older than the teams

But you’ve got to love baseball.

MORE good lyrics:

I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth. He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber. Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord is thy keeper: the Lord is thy shade upon thy right hand. The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul.

Alas the penultimate line is terrible and I’ve missed it out. The photo is in and around Scafell Pike, England’s highest mountain (3210 feet).


The Crow said...

Hmmm...that means we have 2 more years and many more conversations to go before we can be friends. Okay, I'm game, if you are.

Barrett Bonden said...

The Crow: Good news for both of us. A more accurate calculation works out at 1 year 179 days. I should point out that a friendly state can exist prior to final induction into the Hall of Friendship, after which one can aim for the MVF Golden Glove. (Roberto Clemente: It's tough to catch a fly-ball wearing a golden glove).

marja-leena said...

Count me in as well. Having met in person has added a few more points to this online friendship, I would hope.

And, oh, is it now WW's third blog anniversary? If so, congratulations and wishes for many more!

Rouchswalwe said...

... and Roberto Clemente had just made it to 3,000 hits. He's one of those people I would have liked to have lunch with.

Happy third blog anniversary, BB!!! (So you get three exclamation marks)

Friendship. You list "shared humour" and I agree and add shared concern. You list "conversation," to which I heartily agree and add nonverbal communication. "Trust" Yes! And "self-evident generosity" to which I would add tenderness. The only item on your list I'm uncertain of is the 5-year time frame. My Mama used to say, "you can be fooled by people for a year. But after a full turn of the seasons, you'd better know. Life is short." In my case, my oldest friend is from my high school days. She lives far away in Virginia, yet we are like sisters. My other two friends are living close in the same neighborhood. We've been through fire and ice together; but I knew right off the bat (baseball terminology there) that we would be lifetime friends. And so it is. No doubts. I saw them both tonight, and my heart was warmed as always.

Please don't ever scratch me from your blog roll, BB. If life is kind, we three (I'm including Mrs. BB) will be able to drink an ale together one day in the near future. Hopefully before the 5-year mark arrives.

Barrett Bonden said...

M-L: Almost 3½ years by now. Glad to know that our meeting at The Blogger's Retreat didn't get me kicked off the list. Often it's a close-run thing.

RW (zS): I saw RC play. The consummate right-fielder who liked to showboat with basket catches.

I'm not sure I can agree about tenderness but perhaps that's a boy/girl difference.

The duration is important even though five years may be a bit harsh. On two occasions after about 1½ years I experienced treachery; unpleasant at the time, but great to write about when the desire to respond maliciously had fully ripened.

Scratch you from the list? Ridiculous! But you're more mobile than we are. I hesitate to suggest The Blogger's Retreat; I think Germans tend to worry about germs. Yesterday Plutarch pointed out one or two improvements to me but we talked to the manager (An Asiatic whom P always refers to as The Gentle Proprietor) and we know that he, like us, tends to distrust change.

Julia said...
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Lucy said...

The sense of going back a long way with people counts for something it's true. However I spent an unaccustomed amount of time socialising last weekend with two lots of people I've known for quite a while, longer than your five years, and whom I respect, admire and have long had warm and friendly feelings towards, yet I ended up a bit downed and saddened, with a sense that we were rather going through the motions and communication wasn't all that easy.

I don't want to give up on them, or on myself, but I wonder if simple long duration is always enough. Never mind, probably just a dry patch. I'm not sure if they weren't fairly close at hand that the friendships would endure, though. There are so many factors; human contacts and bonds are indispensable, of course, but I'm wary of putting too much faith in the indestructibility of any of them in particular.

That said, I've got one or two oldies who I really can't imagine losing altogether, they blog too, which is a big help in keeping up a sense of running awareness of what's going on in their lives.

Rouchswalwe said...

A saying in my family that I firmly believe is: A little dirt sweeps the stomach!

Barrett Bonden said...

Lucy: It was ludicrously optimistic of me to attempt this subject in a third of a post. The origins come from a recent UK survey which threw up some interesting findings (eg, Most people have far fewer properly defined friends than they imagine). Unfortunately I didn't see the article, Mrs BB did, the newspaper has been discarded and I'm depending on what's imperfectly remembered.

Duration. This isn't part of the definition of a friend; it is a caveat. True friends are few in number and a five-year wait (arbitrarily chosen by me) can wipe out what one previously thought were contenders.

The disappointments you list appear to be predominantly social and this highlights the difference between friendship (a loosely defined state) and a friend (much more rigorous). If I wanted to be crass - and why not? - one might reveal to a friend (as opposed to a social acquaintance) that one had contracted a social disease. A few more definers like that and it is easy to see why friends are much rarer than we all think.

I agree about indestructibility. Anything can change. But my hastily considered opinion is that one often thinks in those terms about a friend.

RW (zS): I think that one requires further translation.

Lucy said...

I'm rather tickled by your social disease criterion! Hang on though, what actually is a social disease? Is it what might be called a socially transmitted disease? If so can you get it by sharing a fondue pot with someone?

Barrett Bonden said...


My father is a bastard,
My mother's SOB.
My grandpa's always plastered,
My grandma pushes tea,
My sister wears a moustache,
My brother wears a dress,
Goodness gracious, that's why I'm a mess!

In my opinion this child don't need to have his head shrunk at all.
Juvenile delinquency is purely a social disease!

Hey, I got a social disease!

Edited lines from Dear Kindly Sergeant Krupke, West Side Story