Monday, April 28, 2008

Making Friends

When we were seven it was easy to make friends -- heck, even best friends. You could forge an insta-friend in as quick as it took the teacher to read Stone Soup and just in time for you to finish your Handi Snack.

Now, without snacks to share and without dorm-organized floor events, the pool of new friends to choose from is somewhat limited. Not that there is a lack of people, but it is the meeting of these people that presents a challenge.

So when I found myself after college graduation meeting some of my most favorite friends, I considered myself lucky. And even better, some lived and worked within 3 miles of me and my place of employment so that my 3 mile radius-big world was just that much more convenient.

Moving 400 miles away presented yet another friendship challenge but was easily solved with the glorious technology of video chat. Helping to simulate a realistic "hang out session," if you will, it was easy to spend time with video chat-enabled friends. A good example of the near flawless re-creation of a typical real-life hangout over video chat is Irene watching a Korean drama while I steam a shirt to wear to work the next day, her laughing intermittently, me trying so hard to relax these darn wrinkles.

But there are times when it would be nice to have friends who physically live in your area. Like last week when I wanted nothing more than some happy hour spicy tuna and tempura. Which is why I decided to go on a friend date, the sole purpose of which would be to have someone to share a laugh with, someone not too overly boisterous or too timid and most importantly, someone to keep me company when the desire for things like happy hour sushi struck.

I arrived early and sipped my lemon water. I wanted to be sure to make it for the $3.50 roll special.

Whenever I caught someone in the corner of my eye walking through the door, I'd look up with a look that said I was friendly but not overly anxious. Finally, my friend date arrived and ate at a good pace to match mine. And we learned that we had both been hit by cars earlier this year. And afterwards, that we lived 0.1 miles away from each other. This, I decided as we parted ways, would be a good friendship to have.

After a few days passed, BBQs were attended, hikes were hiked, runs were ran and work was worked. It crossed my mind that to build the friendship either she or I would have to contact the other again. Perhaps it could be like a one-friend-date-stand. Or maybe we will hit it off and she can hang out on video chat.

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