A week home in suburban New Jersey, doing nothing more spectacular than sleeping late and spending late nights talking over a drink with an old friend or two, has been supremely rejuvinating. Even at my age, really old friends — people who knew you in (say) early adolescence, as an embryonic but recognizable precursor of the person you now are — are rare and precious, all the more so when you’re living in a relatively new city. These are also, fortunately, the ones you can pick up with after a long absence & just chatter like no time’s passed at all. This is, when you think about how much people change in the ten years between 13 and 23, a rather strange and wonderful thing.
I tend to be massively personally unreflective. In general, I think this is a healthy part of adherence to the Mr. Magoo Principle: blunder about in a minimally self-conscious way, and the grand piano dangling from the mover’s rope will crash to the pavement just behind you every time. Still, it leaves me in need of those occasional chats with someone who knows me well. In a sense, the absence may even help. I think it’s like when you’ve been out of the country for a while, and suddenly when you return all these quirks you didn’t notice shine out. Or when you come back home after those first few months at school, and suddenly feel like you understand your family much more clearly. Anyway, here’s to old friends; I’ll keep the barstool warm for y’all.