Something big happened last weekend. I’ve waited until now to blog about it because I wanted to consider what to say publicly about reconnecting with three of my old Boston University college roommates.
Now, a week after dinner with Judson and Dana followed by drinks two days later with Judson and Nick (along with Nick’s lovely wife and Judson’s protégé), what I have to say is simple: letting us drift apart was a colossal mistake. (And what a mitzvah Judson performed to come all the way here from LA to pull us together.)
I learned a couple of things being with my old pals. First, we really don’t change. Nick, Judson and Dana are exactly what they were when we were buds in school. The same reasons I loved them then apply — in full measure — today. Gesticulations, ways of talking, the looks in their eyes — all precisely as I remember them. And, today they’re more of what they were then. These three guys have done what they’ve done, succeeded where they were successful and taken arrows where they weren’t, all of which has made them intensely more of what they were in college. Cognac comes to mind: as it ages, goop in the barrel evaporates (which causes a fungus that lives on the evaporate to form on the cellar ceiling. What a life, eh?) but the stuff left behind gains flavor all out of proportion to the original taste.
Second, age brings both wisdom and dimmed memories. I had completely forgotten that Dana and I had been both sophomore and senior year roommates. None of us seem to be able to remember the fifth roommate (Nick thinks his name was Ben, but who knows?). But we still remember the Third Annual Irish-Polish Lobotomy Picnic (though there were never any other picnics, before or after), singing in the stairwells and very specific professors and classmates. Collectively, our memories form the best history of our individual lives then — a reason in itself to stay connected to each other now.
Third, it’s too damn easy to let friendships go. This may be my particular failing. Sure, I am busy with a career, two kids, life in the ‘burbs. I used to travel all the time on business. I was gasping just to keep up with my job and my family. It’s been a 30-year marathon I suspect my pals are running, too. But I never lifted a finger to find these dudes, with the exception of a call or two to Judson five or six years ago. After you let friendship drift away, you convince yourself it doesn’t matter and then you just forget about it. But that’s like propofol, the black hole of memory, making you feel better about forgetting something central.
So, guys, I wanna work on it. Nick, Tricia and I definitely are coming there for hot dogs. Dana, you gotta come by on your way to Sunderland. Judson, we will come see you in LA one day soon.
Count on it.