Friends?

Waking up in the middle of the night (OK it was actually more like 4 am which isn’t far off getting up time), I mused about the people I haven’t heard from this Christmas. As you do.

There were two joint contenders on my list. I’ll start with the oldest friend of some 35 years.

The one who I met at university, shared a flat with for a while when we worked together on archaeology digs, went youth hostelling with, always stayed with in London, was a bridesmaid in a rather OTT frock at their wedding etc etc

It’s six years now since I’ve seen her. When we moved to Spain she finally condescended to visit en route from a dressage course near Jerez. She’d visited Spain a few times previously – Madrid, a couple of trips to see a pal in Mallorca, and somewhere else too, Barcelona maybe? I finally got a look in.

I should have realised I was rapidly approaching my fecha de caducidad (sell by date).

Birthday cards became email greetings. I used to reply to them with a chatty mail, but never received anything more so I stopped wasting my time.

In 2011 the birthday greeting from her was a few days late. She was busy with her mega house-warming party (marquee on the lawn in the home counties mansion) which happened to be on the same day as my birthday so obviously it was understandable that I was right at the bottom of the priority list.

My aversion to Christmas cards is well known, but she was one of the handful who received one. And what did I get in 2011 following her late birthday email to me? A ‘Season’s Greetings’ email on the 29 December.

I sent her a birthday greeting mail in 2012. It might have been pretty short, but at least it went on the day. I didn’t send a Christmas card. Or an email. I figured I’d wait. I’m still waiting. I guess I thought about it on 30 Dec because it was past the date she had sent her cursory mail the previous year.

In fact when I woke up, I couldn’t remember if I had received a birthday greeting or not so I suddenly fired up the computer to check. Nothing.

I can’t say I’ve sobbed buckets of tears over the realisation I’ve not heard from her in more than 12 months. These things happen. We have very different lives and what use is a friend in Gibraltar and Spain if she doesn’t turn up for an ostentatious house-warming party? Or she has a poky house in Spain?

On the plus side, my other two university friends both send me a card as usual. One invariably includes a long letter, easy enough these days, top and tail it for each person, and hope you don’t confuse Great Aunt Mabel’s letter with the one to roughseas. The other one just usually signs the card and says nothing, but even he had included a photoshoot newsletter of their year.

One perceptive comment from the letter-writing one – he’d had to email me for my address (!) so we’d had a quick exchange of mails, was that, although he wasn’t into Christmas, he did find it a good prompt to keep in touch with people.

And the other prime contender for non-friend of the year, was someone who emails as and when. Dropped off from more than once a day to nothing for months. Says he’s still around and still a friend – except I don’t hear from him. Although he seems to manage to log into a few internet sites often enough. I think I can work that message out too.

But other internet friends are still around, some who I’ve known for a few years now. As one of my longer-term friends said, on her summary of 2012, you lose friends and you gain them.

I’ve met some good and extremely interesting people through WP blogging. Some come and go, and some have stayed around. The internet is what it is. Transient, superficial, and just occasionally, we may find the odd gem within it.

As for blogging, I really hope not to see one more of those ghastly wordpress summaries of stats. The same picture, the same drivel. People, if you want to include a summary of your year in blogging, at least make the effort to do something yourself. Do you realise how boring it is to see the same post popping up all over the place? Even the annual hits seem to have similar figures eg 18,000, 27,000, 67,000.

I wonder how many new friends I will gain and how many old ones I will lose this year?

One of my favourite quotes from the James Bond films was in Quantum of Solace.

‘A friend of yours?’

JB: ‘I don’t have any friends.’

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About roughseasinthemed

I write about my life as an English person living in Spain and Gibraltar, on Roughseas, subjects range from politics and current developments in Gib to book reviews, cooking and getting on with life. My views and thoughts on a variety of topics - depending on my mood of the day - can be found over on Clouds. A few pix are over on Everypic - although it is not a photoblog. And of course my dog had his own blog, but most of you knew that anyway. Pippadogblog etc
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24 Responses to Friends?

  1. Vicky says:

    I sent about a dozen cards this year, but received over thirty, I’m wondering how many cards I’ll be taking down this time next year

    Like

    • Wow! Ms Popular. I sent seven and received nine, but one was the political card, and the other was Pippa’s catblogging friend πŸ˜€ – so apart from those it was all very reciprocal. I’ve never had 30 in my life – not even at school, probably because class numbers were below 30 anyway. Any more than a dozen is silly I think. But Ms No Mates would say that πŸ˜€

      Like

  2. cobbies69 says:

    Xmas cards are becoming a thing of the past.. I send about six four to my bro’s and sister and that is a joke and another story..One to a long aged friend in Newcastle, who had stroke at 22 but is still going, and we write a couple of times a year and email. he has been there since 71′ and my long time buddy from school days, he now lives Seattle and comes over a couple times a year for parents and friends. As for others, many come and go, depending on the circles we are moving in. It is quite weird how people think, just because you are not into their ways…again a nice read and thank you for being a cyber friend at least..;)

    Like

    • I never had many anyway, so not an issue to me. I do like ecards when people take the time to personalise a photo or whatever. A nice gesture I think.

      How odd we both have contacts in Newcastle and Seattle. Sounds like the six links thing. Where is your Newcastle friend, ie which suburb?

      You are welcome. Likewise.

      Like

      • cobbies69 says:

        He comes from Gateshead actually but I have referred to him from Newcastle.. He and two others came on a camping holiday to my home forest village and long hair and guitars together we started chatting and have been ever since..I am not sure if Gateshead is classed as a suburb or stand alone town..It was always part of Newcastle with its address years ago but the address has now changed. same place but different address…

        Like

        • Dangerous territory there. Gateshead is not part of Newc and they wouldn’t like you to say that! I know little about it apart from visiting a couple of hospitals there. And my pal designed the trendy new bridge between the two cities.

          Like

          • cobbies69 says:

            Yes I do get a feel like that, as in football, Sunderland and Newcastle,,, but in the seventies the address was down as Gateshead , Newcasle upon tyne, but today it is just Tyne and Wear. but since my days of 1971 etc the place has expanded a great deal, the by pass the bridge, and that Angel of the North… before we could drive straight in on the A1 and more or less and to his house but now we have to go all around and doubling back .. get there in the end..

            Like

          • Redistribution of counties or seats or whatever act it was called that created metropolitan counties. 1974 maybe? I’d need to look it up but too idle.

            Sunderland people are Machums. Newcastle ones are Geordies. No idea what Gateshead ones are!

            Like

          • Here you go, I got the spelling of Machem wrong (still pronounced Machum)

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mackem

            Like

  3. bluonthemove says:

    2 cards sent, 3 received. 3 neighbours handed cards, 3 received back. The extra one was from my neighbour’s sister who’s address I don’t actually know.

    My friend count stays pretty consistent. I have 27 friends on facebook, many of whom live outside the UK. None are “Internet” friends, as my facebook rule requires me to have broken bread with them (well atleast tea and biscuits).

    Blogging has introduced me to several interesting people, one or two of whom I may well meet with over the course of 2013. Them apart I don’t think I have any Internet only friends that I’ve never met up with, and that’s despite using the damn thing now for 22 years!!

    Like

    • Oh, you beat me, as in less cards!!

      Well I certainly don’t have 27 friends nor ever have done. I do like close friends, but I’m not into a big circle of acquaintances, too superficial for me. But close friends can be as and when too. Just nice to know they can be around. Some are better than others though.

      Luckily I am not on FB so you won’t need to reject a friend request from me πŸ˜€

      Internet meets are currently on the positive side for me. 2013 could be our lucky year πŸ˜€

      Think I started internet when I did my MBA, early 90s? not far behind you.

      Like

  4. A sad fact of life – friendship is transitory! I hope I will still be reading and commenting on your posts this time next year!

    Like

    • It is indeed. But I would rather people accept that than pretend it is for ever and a day. When I was in Sydney in the early 80s people were talking about meeting up in Trafalgar Sq in 2000. I mean how many of those people would have been in touch five years later let alone 15?

      Hopefully I will still be around this time next year for you to comment (and argue πŸ˜€ )

      Like

  5. angryricky says:

    It’s a shame you don’t have a Like button here. I want to express approval and solidarity, but don’t really have much to say. Just that I know how you feel.

    Like

    • I get sick of the ones who click on like and don’t even read posts, they might as well be spammers. I put it back on roughseas out of interest, and the same old avatars always crop up again.

      Anyway, your words are perfect. You don’t need to say any more. Thank you.

      Like

  6. Jean says:

    I still have your address and nearly sent you a card this year but after all the stuff which went on before you left Facebook wasn’t sure if it would be well received. Wish I had now though. I had a break from all Internet stuff mainly cos computer blew up and Internet connection went. We now have wifi and I have iPad so just starting to catch up at long last. I hope this comment is relatively polite ! ;0) and on reading my comment back I see it is still all about me lol!

    Like

  7. Jean says:

    I think sometimes its not all about the amount of friends you have but the quality. Also I met up with a friend a few times recently who I was at primary school with. She was nice, she was still ok, but yes, friendships are transitory. You can’t get back the past and how it was. And I realised she was also a bit boring. That’s life.

    Like

    • I totally agree there. I’ve never been into a zillion friends either on terra firma on virtually. (pippa has :D)

      What a succinct and accurate comment though. Yes, it’s hard to let go of our past, but we do need to do it and realise that things change, however emotionally charged it may occasionally be.

      Like

  8. EllaDee says:

    I’m back, and amongst the horrors of realigning myself with city day-to-day life and the challenges of the office, I’m wading my way through hundreds of WordPress post notification emails… but I had to pause and read this post… and was glad I did because it so resonated with me.
    I missed my favourite WP bloggers, and was unbelievably happy that they liked and most especially commented at the post offerings I made via my phone while we were away.
    It was an eye-opener how many times I thought of those same people as the G.O. & I went about our holi-days, and missed the reciprocal insights into their days.
    The only time I thought of ‘real life’ friends & family was with one exception of an enjoyable day visit from old family friends, was to be grateful none of them were there!
    I sent Christmas cards because it’s a way of keeping up with remote (in so many ways) family, even though I’d like not to bother. Same same as you – very little return, and except for the inclusion of 1 set of photos no effort…
    But, I no longer question or even think about it but realise I am quite regularly the driver of the friend bus that’s leaving town. Times change, things, people move on. Same as you, I like my life and don’t need statistical friends and family [or those blogs] to justify my existence…

    Like

    • Missed you too, but was pleased you managed a few ‘phone updates to keep us all informed of your wonderful holiday.

      Glad to see you are ‘back’. I’ve finally had my Christmas break (!) so am back too. And also catching up.

      Like

      • EllaDee says:

        Your post Christmas break sounds good, just as the rest of us are contemplating reality…
        I don’t know how long until I’m properly back… As soon as I returned to the office, it was insane. The only consolation of doing 12 hours OT Wed-Fri last week was it was extremely hot outside the aircon tower! Workwise I’m expecting similar this week, then we escape for 4 days (TA again) for Australia Day weekend.
        I’ve whittled the WP emails down by deleting but haven’t got to reading/commenting on many. As for posting anything… hah πŸ˜‰

        Like

        • I know the feeling. I may not be in an office any longer (thank goodness) but sometimes I might as well be with the amount of personal paperwork I have to do here in Gib.

          It was hardly worth you coming back!! I’m still getting my head around being back, emails to catch up on, blog comments, blog posts to write. Domestic chores to do….. As for blog catch up, I don’t get emails sent as that would be a nightmare!

          I wish I wasn’t back πŸ˜€

          Like

          • EllaDee says:

            Too true. Every day life in all it’s forms is far more time consuming than it seems it should be and I usually spend some work time covering it off, so annoying to be too busy to do so, and work commitments were the only thing that dragged us back, Prior to day 1 at work I lay in bed moaning I want to go home [to TA] but by late Friday evening I was “…give me wine, I’m so glad I’m home [city apartment]”… I’m looking forward to reading what you’ve been up to πŸ™‚

            Like

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