I expected this entry to come out through the interwebs a lot earlier, but I was sideswiped by a 90 minute Skype conversation. No emergency, but a very welcome call from my brother and Big Sis (in law) back home. I swear, despite the hyperconnected world we live in, my head is still in the 90s sometimes. Time zones, heavy costs and any other obstacle that could loom in my mind do, even though most of them have been rendered virtually irrelevant. I can talk to people back home with ease and to date I only have 4 contacts on Skype. 2 of them were added in the past 24 hours. For a long time I eschewed the notion of catching up with people back home. Everyone’s busy, everyone has lives to lead and no time to get in touch, right? If anything truly important comes up, it’ll travel via email or the social media grapevine and find its way to my view, so why would I need to expend energy keeping up with people across the world who I can’t physically touch? Priorities, people, and those people weren’t my priority. I saw it as almost a sign of weakness. Heading steadfast into a new country meant there was no time for or point in looking back.
Then came my friend’s birthday. My best friend in the world, I’ve known him for 27 years, when we were both in our infancy. He turned 30. 30! That’s older than 29, even. We haven’t really talked since I left the country, so almost 2.5 years. It’s the kind of relationship that doesn’t need maintenance. We’ve known each other for so long that any time apart is irrelevant. As soon as we see one another after a long break, we instantly click back in. Because of this I never tried, neither of us did. He’d always been better at keeping up communication and I’d felt crappy about it, so I resolved to at least put the tiniest effort in. I figured that sending a simple Facebook message was insufficient, so opted to get in touch and view. We started up the Skype and it was instantly warm. Space and time zones were inconsequential and the friendship locked straight back to where it was. It was a rush remembering all his mannerisms, the way he fleshes out his stories with such character and how fucking funny he is. Most of the expositional conversational stuff (where are you working? What have you been up to?) seemed incidental and was only mentioned in passing. We were together in a way we hadn’t been and none of that stuff really mattered. We just chatted like we would at any time. It was immensely enriching and made me hugely value the kind of relationship we had.
It made me realise that my layered pop-culture laden paradigm in life was something forged by my longest friendship. The media we consumed became a part of us as kids, we’d constantly be doing impressions or quoting our favourite films. The type of humour I’ve developed as I’ve aged has a direct correlation to my best friend. Even now as we’ve grown into quite different people, the values and ways of communicating are still there. There’s a resonance I don’t happen to share with quite so many others and it’s deeper than where we work or what we’ve been up to. We re-live the good ol’ days when we chat, but we also talk about new developments, the things we’re excited about and how it feels to be in a totally different stage of our lives talking to a person we used to top and tail (the first definition. Definitely not the second. Oh Urban Dictionary, you so predictable) with. The preeminent reminder that this is an important relationship in my life was a welcome jolt.
Now I’m thinking of friends back home who I’d love to chat to in real time. The engaged couples whose weddings a few seas will preclude me from attending, my friend whose band has been on tour, another mate who recently moved in with his significant other, a couple who’s probably awful close to their first wedding anniversary, a pal who finished his thesis and may be heading closer to my shores. The list goes on and on and the more I think about it, the more excited I am to have these people back in my life in a more tacit fashion. I can live where I want to, but like Jenny from the Block still know where I came from.
Or like Hannah Montana have The Best of Both Worlds.