“Strangers When We Meet” is how I have felt about some people I’ve known in the past.
The jobs were one lesson in impermanence since they were all short-term. Unlike the grocery store, where I stayed on for one reason or another even though I hated it, I didn’t have to stick around if I didn’t want to. I could always move on to something else, provided I found something. At the same time, I found my relationships with people weren’t always permanent, whether I had control or not.
With one good friend I had in the late 1990’s, I found him increasingly difficult to deal with and I ended the friendship. We have since reconciled and are good friends again, but I couldn’t handle his contrariness and what I perceived as his negativity at the time.
I found that even professional relationships weren’t always built on rock. With the professor I call Joseph K, this was definitely the case. This man who’s night course I took to satisfy an American Lit requirement quickly became my mentor, advocate, and friend. However, he ejected me as quickly as he took me in. At the same time, my loyalty did erode towards the end, and nothing could fix it. For a while, our relationship was a shaky one, but all it took was one act of betrayal. Expanding my professional ties resulted in one being severed.
In contrast to those two examples, I have been fortunate to have some longtime friends. My longtime friend Avril is one such person. We’ve known each other for almost 20 years, meeting at FIDM and then loosely staying in contact for a few years on and off until the late 1990’s. We even managed to find time to hang out and transportation was bitch for both of us.* A few years ago, Avril discovered she had British citizenship connected with her mother and having been born in Scotland, so she got her passport, flew off to Europe, and never looked back. She’s been back to visit here in San Diego a few times, but she’s found her home in Europe. Obviously, we can’t hang out as much, but I count her among my closest friends.
Friends and acquaintances have come and gone from my life, but now we’re one big happy digital family on Facebook. Even that doesn’t provide any measure of permanence as some unfriend for a variety of reasons, especially as one can unfriend me or I unfriend them. Co-workers may drift back into my online life, but do I really connect with them? Or did those relationships proved to be as impermanent as the jobs I knew them from?