Wednesday, May 9, 2007



By T. 5/3/07

I love friendship. Do you? I love my friends. But, there is something wrong about it. I do not like it when they leave my toys on the floor. Let me tell you what friendship means to me. It means a lot to me.

This simple essay disguises the angst and anxiety of a first grade year fraught with loneliness, ostracism and confusion but also, in the end, connection. About four months of the year, the late fall and winter, were spent wishing he could go back to kindergarten and the friendships and love he felt there. Loss and grief are felt so acutely in childhood perhaps partially because children do not have the benefit of perspective. Everything is so immediate.

I love friendship also, but there really are some things wrong about it. To me friendships/relationships are like walking through the back fields at dusk. I am continually amazed but, also startled by the things which appear out of the gloaming. I don't have the same bearings and orientation that I do in the day. I don't have the same sureness of footing. In relationships if I rely on my own sense that the intimacy of communication or the ease of interaction have meaning, I am inevitably brought up short by the other person's view. At other times, certain someone does not desire my presence, I am flummoxed when I discover I should have shown up.
Even with the benefit of perspective that age brings, when it comes to other human beings, I can feel like I am seven years old again, in first grade, and wishing for the simple kindness of kindergarten.

Ultimately, I agree with T. "I don't like it when they leave my toys on the floor."


Anonymous said...

If friendship is liking walking in the dark, what is the daylight? Are you saying you're more sure-footed when you're friendless? I guess that could be true. But it may be instead that an absence of friends is like not walking at all. It's like being a couch potato, without self-doubt but also without challenge, adventure, or stimulation.

CHANCE said...

Maybe you read what I wrote too quickly. I said walking at "dusk", the time when we still can see but our vision is somewhat vulnerable to misperception. I said I felt amazed not just startled, which implies an often positive, pleasurable experience. To me personal relationships are so mutable that I do analogize them more to a time of day that is transitional. It has actually always been my favorite time of day and my favorite time to walk. The cool night air is coming in and the chores of the day are over. It's always a time to relax,to enjoy my children, to eat good food and talk. Yeah, definitely I have felt more confident during the "day" in school or work situations where I have a structure, a base of knowledge and definable goals with articulated strategies. The people I worked with had a somewhat set identity that I could interact with on a professional level. It was easier to measure achievement and to rely on the strength of my mind.

I definitely have reasons for questioning my instincts about people but that doesn't stop me from taking risks and exploring relationships with others, though that may be self-evident. I missed something important last night because I apparently underestimate my role in someone's life and I feel confused about how I so misread some things. Yet, I know that it was not just my misreading it was also defective communication from the other person. But I was ignorant that those two things were occurring until after it was too late to change it. Thus, the things which startle us. We think we are working with a common reality with someone and then find out we are not. It becomes somewhat of a mess and thus the wish for the wise kindergarten teacher who always seemed to know how people should behave and also made everyone pick up the toys.