Thinking of People I Knew Along the Way

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Tanya, as I am calling her, had a best friend of 30 years who fell, accidentally hitting her head. Soon the friend was in a coma and dead.

Then the news came, followed by the unexpected trip from Toronto to Calgary for the funeral.  When Tanya made it back home, one of her other friends showed no empathy, or understanding for the circumstances that had happened. In a way, she had lost two friends.

burialWhen I worked as a film technician for IATSE 873, I heard the story of Chris Howard. Howard had invited everyone he knew and worked with to a party to celebrate the Super Bowl. It was a lively party, so I was told, and then the TV went on the crank. Howard then got on a ladder, made it to the roof, tried to fix the aerial, lost his footing, and fell off the roof. He was also soon in a coma and died. Such a horror silenced all the party goers in the house. For years, his picture hung in his honor on the crew trucks. I don’t know why I mentioned that anecdote; it just came out that way.

Any hoot, some people need to show off their support. “I am your very best friend,” they would say with all the gusto and enthusiasm they can come up with. In the end, you find out your friends when something good, or bad, happens. In this lifetime, you will be lucky if you can find one companion, or one person to love. Another person I knew signed a contract, was cut out of the deal, ripped off, went into a downward spiral, lost money, lots of friends.  At such a point, his then girlfriend asked him to marry her because she wanted to have kids. But soon enough she ran off with his former best friend in his darkest hour.

Two months passed by, he got news that had been published, and all the anger dissipated and he had found peace. The now thoughtful man then looked around with renewed insight, seeing what he had won and lost.  Some people you can know from childhood and they will never really understand you, while another who knows you for five minutes can figure you out just like that, joining you in a laugh over your very foibles.  Imagine starting a job in some office and the person behind the counter sometime down the road becomes your wife, or husband.  Or maybe they get wrapped around another person and they eventually come back. Who is to say? Human nature is not always about the study of psychology. But people come and go like wives, girlfriends, or life partners. And what does last forever?

I remember I befriended a very charismatic person at age 19. He had cool friends, a girl friend who I found a bit too odd for my tastes. He and I would drink for hours after work. He had moments of what the experts say he be manic.  This bud would drink too much, kick the bejesus out of an ATM machine, go outside crying, begging to know if I am his one true friend in his hour of need. Promises were made, tears shed, whetted, dried, and the night gave way to adventure…two years would pass and everyone would be strangers. We would pass each other in the street and no would know the other. I remember those days like it was yesterday.

When I worked as a food server in 1988 at Canada’s Wonderland and as a ride operator in 1989, such larger than life characters befriended me and I have the memories to prove it.  Maybe it is not such a bad thing that the perfect girl got away, or so and so got married, and his wife, who I never had a problem with, edited me out of the picture. But the average person does not want to be wise as Buddha.  That being said, you can do every trick, or gimmick, in the book but you can’t make people like, or love you.  Nothing that good ever comes easy. Nothing is easy. Sometimes I feel I have no friends but then the telephone rings, or a familiar face approaches me on the street.  And the joy returns.

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