I’m not sure when it happened exactly, although I do know that it was quite some time ago.
Friends slipped away, or more to the point, I allowed my friends to slip away. Not all of them are gone, I have to point out that “gone” sounds much more ominous than it actually is. A few…..okay a couple have slipped away and since come back, although I’m not sure that had much to do with anything I did exactly. Plus I still have my best friend, who also happens to be my girlfriend, so I have that going for me. Looking back I guess I just…..outgrew most of the friends I had, that, or they just never grew up.
Most of the friends I used to have, came from when I worked in the restaurant business. I think I was a different person then, actually I know I was a much different person then. I would stay out all night, partying and drinking. We would drink after hours at the bar I managed, sometimes staying until it was almost time for me to start work the next day. In the 5 years I worked at this restaurant I drank enough to last me a lifetime. I did other things besides drink too. Things that you smoke and things that you swallow, things that make you think…no believe, that lamb-chop puppets are talking to you. But that is a post all unto its own, a post for another day perhaps. This is supposed to be about friends.
I did this, drinking all night, working all day and most of the night, 6 or 7 days a week for 5 years. I had many, many friends at this time……although I’m not sure if it was me they liked or the me that I portrayed. I suppose either way it’s my fault since I only have myself to blame if I wasn’t acting like “me”. Then I left. I told them I was quitting, finding something that wasn’t in the restaurant business. Which didn’t really work out, and eventually led me to another 5 year stint in a different restaurant but, I’m still glad I did it. I walked away because I knew that I needed to, even though everyone was telling me not to go. Sure I could have stayed and just changed my ways……but I don’t know that I could have changed my ways if I’d stayed. Looking back now, I do know that it took a long time for any of them to change their ways, and many of them still haven’t 10 years later.
Now, just because I didn’t work there anymore didn’t mean I stopped talking to them. That was more of a gradual thing, something that just happened. I would go out with them or go to see them and it was like I was right back working there. They would all drink as much as they could, act as stupid as they could and then brag about it the next time. “Do you remember last week when I did those 12 shots of tequila and then got in a fight with that guy at the bar? That was so funny!”, ummmmm no it wasn’t actually…..at least not to me, not anymore.
So now I have acquaintances, people who I talk to when I see them, we chat about different things, things that aren’t really important. I have many, many acquaintances. I can take people in small doses, it’s when the doses get larger that I have a problem, it’s when things are expected of me that I feel the need to escape. Not with all people of course, just most of the ones I meet. Which is why I have no problems making friends…..my problem is in keeping them. I can probably count my “friends”, the ones I actually talk to on a semi-regular basis on one hand. Okay, I may not have to use the whole hand to count them. But, I’m okay with that. I like having people who I can have pleasant, civilized and grown up conversations with. People that have careers, mortgages, car payments…..responsibilities. I still have my best friend, who I can talk to about anything and everything. I may have to answer questions about those things that I say after, which is something I dread sometimes, but she listens which is nice.
Then I have the wonderful people who I’ve had the pleasure of “meeting” through this blog. I certainly never thought that I’d become as close as I am with some of you, you know who you are. But that is great, a pleasant surprise that I am very thankful for.
I still see some of those old friends once in a while, I actually used to play poker with a few of them once a week. Which worked well for me because it meant that either they didn’t drink like fish, or they did and I could take all their money. If you’re wondering which one they chose, I’ll just say that for a while I made more money playing poker than I did working. But money isn’t really important to me, and watching them act the same as they always did wasn’t something I wanted to watch, so eventually I just stopped going. We’re still pleasant when we see each other on rare occasions, I think we would still get along if not for their partying, or my lack of partying.
I’m okay with all of this though, it is the path that I’ve chosen and nobody forced me to do it. I doubt that anyone could, I have always been one of the few people I know who have no problem saying no when friends or family are pressuring me to do something I don’t want to. I like that about me, although it does cause problems sometimes. Such as, who am I supposed to go skydiving with now?