28 January 2014

A love letter to my friends

Every once in a while, something happens in my life that feels like the kind of thing that only happens in stories or movies. I rarely write about them, perhaps for fear of being unable to grant them the magic in writing that they had in reality. The writing conference in Maine in July 2012 included several of those instances: the 80s night at the bar, a night that ended with us all drinking the Hemmingway, afternoons spent in the sun reading writing aloud to each other, the cruise, the last night on the pier with the bio-luminescent algae. Another was one night in DC in particular, bar-hopping in Dupont Circle with the grad school writer friends. The birthday party of a new Indy-based friend, Sylwia, with a ridiculous amount of vodka and a high-rise apartment overlooking night-lit Indianapolis. The George Watsky concert I attended in Indy with my sister before she moved north to start her fancy new Civil Engineering job.

The most recent example was last weekend. I had coffee with Sylwia after work Friday at a very cute cafe near my home. We went to the swing dance and even though I didn't prepare for it at all  didn't do my hair or my makeup or even change out of my work clothes  I felt more fantastic out on the dance floor than I'd felt in some time.
Maybe it was the previous weekend spent at a blues dancing workshop with David and Sylwia at my old Alma Mater that gave me new confidence or new ideas or at least more permission to be unafraid to look a fool. Thomas even showed up unexpectedly from Cincinnati for the Friday dance, and with David in attendance it was almost the entire Old Gang, which is a funny term for a group that only formed about six months prior. And then my dance shoes were stolen from beside our table at the Steak n Shake, rediscovered on the feet of a woman at the next table, and retrieved via direct confrontation, which perhaps wasn't the smartest idea but I was high on exhaustion and caffeine and wasn't even thinking about it. Uncontrollable laughter.

Despite  perhaps because of?  all the weirdness, it was a wonderful evening. I suspect I wasn't even dancing particularly well that night, as one lead I'd never spoken to before felt the need to impart unto me advice on how to improve (a practice which is generally frowned upon on the social dance floor unless the feedback is requested). Nevertheless, I had an unabashedly enjoyable evening of the sort that seems surreal.

In some ways, I had wondered if moving away from Washington, D.C., its opportunities, and my group of graduate school friends would be a mistake. I wondered whether I would be able to build that kind of thing again. Historically it has taken me quite a while (in terms of years) to make true new friendships. And I certainly miss my DC/Baltimore friends. But I've seen that there are people to be friends with every-where, even for a book-loving quasi-introvert who is often kind of awkward and tends to over-analyze just about every single thing.

But somehow here in Indy I have book-loving friends. I am beginning to explore the writing community, so perhaps I will have local writer friends. I have dancing friends. I have friend friends with whom I have ridiculous text conversations and absurd adventures.

And next month I am visiting my DC/Baltimore friends and probably doing all sorts of shenanigans. And perhaps next July I will get to Portland with some yahoos from the undergrad days. And next August one of my grade-school friends is getting married and there shall be guitars and beers and probably ridiculous singing around campfires with all that crowd.

And I am so lucky in my friends.