I don’t drive. Rephrase, I can’t drive. I’m in my early 20s and I don’t even have a provisional. I’m that recalcitrant clubber who whips out their passport for ID – the same passport that does not fit in the clutch bag and therefore inhibits your once-in-a-blue-moon party hard nights because you know if you lose it, the levels of poverty you will sink to in order to replace it are just depressing.
I’ve been meaning to apply for a provisional for over a year now, it’s part of my ‘get your ‘ish together‘ To Do List, but in the meantime my legs and I have become best friends, and my feet are as trained as an SAS soldier hitting his PB for the fourth time in a row.
However, saying all that, today I got a lift from a friend after some dissertation fieldwork I was doing 2 hours out of town. I’d had to power-walk, bus and train it to my chosen destination, but on the way back the motorised cruise was a welcome break to my slightly blistered feet (because, note to self, it does NOT take 20minutes to walk from my house to the station).
I have found, that like most people after a certain age, in life, especially in a life where contact is easy, one has many, many acquaintances, and very few friends. Friendships take time, heck, even well meaning acquaintances take time and ‘intentionality’. You have to want to get to know somebody more than stalking their Facebook photos and briefly catching the side of their chin across a crowded room soaked with perspiration and alcohol fumes.
And time is something no-one wants to part with – because it’s precious. But it’s also necessary. It’s necessary in order to develop you into that person that survives and goes on surviving every test, every hurdle, every fork in the road that comes into view.
During my exam term last year, I sat with one of my best friends in our canteen for a revision break. Mourning the lack of food on our plates and the stinginess of the dinner ladies, our conversation undulated between dark humour to student wisdom. In and amongst this raucously sincere conversation my friend challenged me about friendships.
“You’re someone who does a lot of stuff. I’m sure there are plenty of people who would like to get to know you, but they probably think you don’t have time for them. So they never approach you and you never get to know them.”
[insert dramatic script writing, e.g.:] He looked at me from under his young eyebrows and said in a grave voice that belied his years
“You have one more year in this place [BEAT] make it count”.
I do do a lot of stuff. This year has barely begun and my diary has been highlighted in four different colours, whilst each designated day is covered with permanent black scrawl and lead pencil possibilities. No doubt it will look like a spiders web of ink by the end of next week and a fully illustrated manga volume by the end of the year.
Yet my heart twinges when I think there are people out there, people who might enrich my life, that I won’t meet because I appear too busy.
Sure i’m getting myself geared for battle, but every soldier gets a few days of R&R. So today, as I drove home during one of those rare moments when work, internet access and urgent phone calls were not even a possibility, I had a chance to chat, more or less uninhibited, about faith, and from faith to school work, to what a carburettor is, to how a car engine works. From compliments to aspirations to affirmation and then it lead to key chains and sprockets,guitar strings and microwave meals and jam sessions and – discourse.
I might not get such an opportunity again, but that drive, those few hours outside the bubble reminded me that there was something I was moving towards that was on the other side, and it was populated with, living, breathing, growing…people. And when you get a chance to talk to those people, you get a chance to grow.