If your circle stays unbroken, then you’re a lucky man.
‘Cause it never never never has for me.
Ronnie James Dio
High School was lit by Dio and Led Zeppelin in some personal ways. But Dio’s words at the beginning of ‘Invisible’ were a special touchstone. I had a small circle of friends, and one was dying of cancer, one was being moved by her parents to some remote Alaskan town. And me? I broke my ankle and wound up moving here to Portland. My circle was shattered. I wouldn’t meet up with any of the fragments until I found Linda in a small Idaho town (and we’re back out of contact).
Today, my circle is expanded. The obvious reason is because of the Internet (and being an adult). I have friends all over the country. People I know who would stand at my back in a knife fight. Friends here in Portland, friends in Boston. I even have friends in Anchorage. But also because the rings interlock, or your circles intertwine.
What prompts this navel gazing?
There are some people in my circles who surprise me. Sean, a friend from College who is running a gaming store in Georgia now. When I met him, I didn’t go out of my way to talk to him, or commiserate, or what I would normally consider how you “make friends.” As far as I knew, we didn’t have much in common (other than a slight geekiness) and we didn’t go out and do stuff. But every time I ran into him, about once a month or once every two months, he’d remember me, he’d be excited to see me, and we’d have some good words together. Our friendship blossomed from those seeds he planted. But I don’t know why he chose me for his dirt.
I had coffee with my friend Chris. (Chris, if you read this, I’m not asking for an explanation). Chris has some technical challenges he’s facing at work and he thinks I can solve them. You can’t swing a dead CAT5 cable without hitting a web guy, but he thinks of me. We met through Drew, who had both of us working on his stuff (more or less at different offices), but I’m not sure what makes us click like we do. Yet, when he drives to town from Las Vegas, he wants to visit and chat. Sometimes it feels a little strange; why does Chris trust my judgement? What is in our songs that make them harmonize?
I have a bunch of terrific friends. Some, I can see the road to where we became friends (Erich, David T. David D., my usual crew) and some, the road comes up from a foggy dell, Chris B, Sean. Some are combinations of those (Matthew). I don’t appreciate any of them enaough. But the circle, if you want to call it that, isn’t really round, or even contiguous any more. It’s more like a fishing net with a bunch of holes in the pattern (no, I mean, a net should be regular but this net isn’t, not the normal holes in a net, don’t over analyze that analogy).