Friday, August 15, 2008

Keep Your Friends Close

. . . and your enemies closer, the adage goes. An axiom that has special poignance for the people of Georgia these days. (The one that's a country, not the Bigfoot hunting grounds one.)

It's always shocking to come face-to-face with the reality of how much can change in just a few days. Ten days ago, most Americans couldn't have found Georgia on a map (the country, but it's possible that statement extends to the Bigfoot hunting grounds one as well). Now we've seen footage reminding us in very clear terms that the Russian bear is back - if, indeed, he ever really went away. I'm not going to get geopolitical here; better minds than mine are working on the snarl of issues raised by breakaway provinces, Russian passports, and tanks rumbling into cities. Rather, I started thinking about the concept of quick changes.

In the theatre, "quick changes" are just what it sounds like - rapid transformations, usually of costumes. The actor exits the stage and voila! re-enters in a completely new outfit, delighting the audience who gets to marvel at the precision it takes to smoothly accomplish a quick change. In life, it's messier. Maybe I just need a better dresser.

Sorry, I digress.

We all have moments in our lives that we can point to and say, "That was me before; then that happened and that's me now." These are the "quick changes" I have in mind. Sometimes, it's something awful - the death of a close friend before his time or the moment where you must admit that the center of the marriage can no longer hold. And we often use the "awful" as a yardstick in our lives. But just as often, the yardstick is something beautiful; we just don't usually notice - a young child hands you a chalk drawing, insisting that it was made just for you or you catch yourself humming tunelessly one morning as you realize that, sometime during the night, fiery passion transformed into something much deeper and solid.

I've spent too much time being a spectator in my own life - that sad truth may have something to do with the way I currently look at the world. About a week ago, a group of friends gathered at the always-hospitable home of Stacked Librarian to watch the opening ceremonies of the Olympics. Turns out part of the ceremonies were faked, but the warm glow of good friends sharing a meal and oohing and aahing over human accomplishments (did you see those drummers?) was real. Victorian Marxist and FryDaddy engaged in deep conversation over the writings of Chairman Mao while Barefoot and I rolled our eyes and ate more of Stacked's delicious Chinese-inspired food, which all of us had helped prepare.

Life spins on a dime, people. So hold hands when you can and keep your friends close. You never know when you're going to need them.

(That's one reason I give them fake names in the blog! Wink!)

1 comment:

Stacked Librarian said...

Loved the code names! I had a great time, and I am glad that you did too. FryDaddy and I were just discussing how we needed to have a progressive dinner, and the possibilities of serving goose at the opening ceremonies for the Vancouver games.