A college friend posted this on Facebook the other day about friendship:
friendship means cutting away a small piece of your heart and allowing another person to fill that gap. (Herrick)
It takes a lot to get me to make that surgery, to bring another person into my space, into my village, into my “stuff”. I’m not very good at maintaining friendships; I tend to disappear without saying goodbye and reappear like a hurricane with a new story to tell. The people I truly call friends know this about me and still stick around.
Lee (@leezbtv) is one of the only people that I consider a friend, and not just an acquaintance. Very few people fall into that category for me and even fewer live in both my professional and my personal life. He gets me.
I’m not completely clear on what got us talking, but I’m pretty sure it had to do with a Mets’ hat. Or a Mets’ something. It was fall 2006, my first semester of graduate school at Suffolk University. I had just transferred from SUNY Albany and moved to Boston a few months earlier. We connected immediately over sports and sarcasm. I think if I were enrolled in the program full-time we would have spent more time together, but I was married and working full time, and generally exhausted. We did spend time in the Orlando airport after the 2007 ACPA/NASPA joint conference waiting out a snow storm (at least that’s how I remember it). He can probably fill in lots more dates but I have a very selective memory. But those specific gatherings are not what’s truly special to me.
Even more than spending time at the pub, we connected through emails and texts and AIM (yes, we’re that old). Open, honest, sometimes brutally honest, sometime beyond hysterical conversation. That is what I appreciate the most.
He listens patiently (or so I hope) on the other end of our chats as I rant and rave about whatever is in my head at that particular moment. Work, life, traffic, relationships, parents, money, Bruins, Mets, you name it. When I have a question about Residence Life, he is the first person I turn to. I don’t feel embarrassed asking him what some people might consider silly questions. We talk a lot about sports because well, it’s tough to be a Mets fan in Boston. Okay, it’s tough to be a Mets fan pretty much anywhere outside of Queens and Long Island. More importantly, we celebrated winning the cup.
Lee is one of those people who has drifted in and out of my life but who always has an impact. I could, and still can, bounce any idea off of him and I know he won’t try to just tell me what I want to hear. In fact, to this day, I still wish I listened to him when I told him I was going to make a drive to Rhode Island one December night. My life would be very different right now. I trust him explicitly (another rarity). I trust him because he will call me on my manic moments, just like he will bring me out of a depression.
We’ve criss-crossed the country many times and luckily we keep ending up in the same
time zone. Some of our conversations can last days because we both know if we up and leave (or just stop responding), it’s not because it’s over or we’re upset, it’s just life and we have that kind of friendship. When I can’t sleep, he listens to my insomnia-driven rambling. When I feel silly, he’s there too. We pick up right where we left off, even if I disappear for weeks at a time. Because that’s what friends do.