Reading posts on Trip Advisor has gotten me thinking about the meaning of friendship & the difference between friends, frens & acquaintances.
Some claim to go to a resort for a week or 2 & make good friends with staff in that period of time.
Then there’s people with 200, 400 or even 1000 Facebook friends.
To me a friend is someone you can open up to, tell anything, ask for help (& get it) at any time. You also need shared experiences, not necessarily together but the same situation. Most importantly, you feel relaxed when together, even if it’s been a few years since you last met. Also in this internet age it is still necessary to meet face to face to form a friendship.
If the above feelings don’t apply then they are just acquaintances.
Of course there are also people who come in & out of your life for short periods, usually around that mid-life time, that can be “special” to you. These fall into an entirely different category.
There are also hypocrites who profess to be friends, display all the right signs but are merely doing it in hopes of personal gain. These are your employees who profess undying loyalty & friendship, right up until the point you close the doors,sell out & lay them off. Then they forget you ever existed, never to be contacted again. Not just me either, same happened to an acquaintance who sold his buses shortly after I did. *there is one exception you will read about later
Using the above guidelines, I can count the true friends of the past 65 years on my fingers. I tend to be discriminating in making friends. *note relatives, although they can be friends, are excluded, as you don’t have choice who your relatives are.
I define my life in chapters, the growing up years (some will say I have yet to complete that chapter), the pipeline years, business years of course the final chapter “the trash-heap years” is an ongoing saga. Of course the timeline blurs & overlaps in instances.
Using the above outline I can only define 3 friends from my growing up years. One was a neighbor who lived a couple miles away, we grew up, went to school, partied together, shared some experiences that are best not posted on a public forum, our friendship continued through the pipeline years, lapsed during the business years, renewed on my nostalgic trip to the home place & continues on facebook.
The 2nd friend while living in the city spent all his holidays at his uncles farm, we met through the 4-H club, hung out with the above friend, a next door neighbor, our friendships were intertwined, only difference is he’s not on fb & the email address I have doesn’t work so we have kind of lost touch again.
Third friend rode the same school bus as I though most of elementary school, moved with his family back to the city for a few years but always summered at the farm. Although he was acquainted with my other friends the friendships didn’t overlap. We lost contact during the pipeline years, reacquainted during my nostalgic trip, found him still living on his fathers farm but again no fb, no email, no more contact.
The pipeline years brings 2 more friends, normally pipelined in the summer, returning to La Belle Province in the winter. The first I met while driving for a local transport company, he later became dispatcher in the city & my boss who taught me to drive tractor trailer. Still remember the day I equaled his record of 30 city drop-off/pickups with a tractor trailer in one day, on the way back to the terminal I was stopped for driving on the shoulder of the DeCarie Expressway (traffic was slow & I was in a hurry). Went in the office (without checking who else was there) & boasted that I had beaten his record, 31st stop was a ticket. When I had finished he says “Dave I would like you to meet our insurance man” Oops!! Once again renewed contact on nostalgic trip but no fb, no email.
The other from the PL years I met on a spread in London ON, little did I know at the time but he was to become my brother-in-law & also teach me the intricacies of bush road driving + the reason for the set of single chains amongst your jewelry, 1 for the steering axle, 1 for the trailer or in the case of just a tad of ice put them on the first drive axle. Haven’t seen or hard of him in 30 years, not even sure if he’s still alive.
Next in the 30+ business years are many acquaintances’ but due to being in business very few that became friends. Overlapping the pipeline & business years were a couple neighbors with whom a lot of Royal Reserve Rye Whiskey was consumed in the garage next door, a lot of skidoo trips in the Ganny became adventures & many evenings spent at the local Orono auction barn or even trips to Lindsay, Woodville & Hoards Station, in search of deals on pigs, goats etc. Eventually both moved north to cottage country, one still there whom I saw a year ago, the other back near family whom I meant to visit last spring but never made it. Both of course no fb or internet.
A couple of the first people I had dealings with in the business years were the brothers that operated the tire shop on Main Street, over the years they became friends, also imparting a lot of pointers in the fine art of tractor pulling. Still have the trophy I won, beating them at the local fair one year with dad’s Super C. Attended their going out of business sale this past June, closing out an era & cutting my ties with Ontario. Again not big on the internet so will loose touch,
Also at the sale, among the multitude of acquaintances whom I will likely ever see again were a couple more friends. One that I first met shortly after moving to Kendal, the mechanic who could fix anything, provided you didn’t take offense at his ranting about the piece of junk that never should have been made. One of the best guys one could meet, shared many good times together. The other another old pipeliner who was on one of my first spreads but we never met until years later, he progressed from a pipeline skid truck driver to a spark eater & now just works out of the local “onion” hall, shared many good times & a lot of whiskey together. once again neither on the internet.
That leaves one last person, the exception to the rule, whom was not a friend during my business period, actually worked for me but, if I remember correctly quit before he was fired over a policy disagreement. However in the last couple years between selling the school runs & dissolution of the company, he was rehired as my only driver, we became friends & remain so until this day. Although, for personal reasons, he isn’t on fb we stay in touch by email.
During the transition from my business period on a trip to mothers I made a side trip to an internet “friend” who lived in the area. Found we had a lot in common & have since become friends who keep in touch on fb & email.
An ironic development of my blogging is that a person from the teenage years whom I never really separated as a friend, she was going with a friend & they were a couple for a while back in the day. Has resurfaced via email & I now consider her a friend in her own right.
As you can see during the writing of this a few more friends surfaced from my memory & I am now using one foot to complete the friend count.
Also during my travels, there are people I have met, have clicked with so well that given different timing & circumstances, I feel I could have easily become friends with. One owns a Route 66 motel in California, another is a football fan from Brum. Then there’s the lady I just can’t get out of my mind that I met at the Lovina Beaches in Bali, mustn’t forget the grandmother in BC, on the bay overlooking the US. Fortunately all 4 are friends on facebook so we still stay in touch. There are more but the above spring to mind first.
I also just spent 2 months at a guest house in Phnom Penh where the family running it used the common area as their living room. After a while I was given a discount on meals, free bananas at supper, when the granddaughter had her 4th birthday party, those of us in the restaurant at the time were given a piece of cake & a free beer. However that was just good business, not a sign of friendship.
I use facebook as a way of staying in touch with interesting people I have met, relatives, as well as the few true friends that also use it.
So what’s the point in this rather lengthy (for me) rambling post?
Just to point out that anyone believing that they can go on holiday, even multiple times & make true friends in a different culture is either extremely naive, a person craving friendship at any cost or a very shallow person with no idea what true friendship is. Sure it’s possible as it happened to me in Bali but most of the time they are solely acquaintances or at worst frens.
As to facebook friends, sure for anyone in hospitality or entertainment business it makes sense to be friends with patrons. However just a quick check of my fb friends shows that only a couple have more than 60, guess that’s one reason that they ARE my fb friends.
For what it’s worth that’s my take on friendship!