We spent our Independence Day holiday lazily barbecuing with our friends Chris and Courtney. E prepped a seemingly endless area of fishes and dessert dishes, and Chris manned the grill all day between trips back into the AC.
Courtney and I mostly just ate cheese.
Chris and Courtney are new friends, but Chris is an old acquaintance. In college he was always a friend-of-a-friend. The guy with the crazy stories about flipping his truck or blowing up things in his backyard. I would never call him up to offer to hang out.
As a result, E didn’t really know him at all. When we re-met him last year at her shared birthday party with Ross we laughed non-stop with him and his new girlfriend Courtney, and kept gravitating back to them in conversation in a room full of people we knew better. A few months later, we called them up for dinner on a whim, and now we’re semi-regular friends.
I find that a lot of the people I spend time with fall into the category of “new friends,” though it’s less down to meeting people at parties, and more because of social media. Yet, the things that give me fodder for discussion on Twitter are the ones keeping me from hanging out with the people I’m tweeting! And that’s okay – that’s how we Twitter-met, after all, and we still all have Twitter to chat on. I can be busy and physically anti-social, but still digitally mingle.
Chris and Courtney were an exception. They don’t tweet. They use Facebook to collect photos. They occasionally text. If we wanted to see them, we would have to put in the effort and the phone call and actually see them with our eyes instead of a screen.
We’ve kept it up over the past year, and every excursion is a fun one. Lately, we’re beginning to take the same methodology to our existing friends – both collegiate and online. Do they want to stop by for lunch? Can we meet them somewhere for a quick cup of coffee?
That’s what I spent my Monday night doing, with @PurpleCar. We sat and gabbed for two hour straight in a diner. E invited my dear high school friend Ariel over for lunch on Saturday. We might go to a BBQ that day, as well.
Friends are more than just a square of illuminated pixels and bolts of notable musings dashed off between other engagements. Friends are people who make your face hurt from smiling, whose stories you relish and rehash once you’ve known them all.
We spent our Independence Day with friends, unfettered by cell phones and check-ins. It felt apropos.