It’s a line# from Its All Over Now Baby Blue [By Bob Dylan].
I have been thinking about the nature of friendship recently. An old friend from work, about ten years ago, recently came back into my life and we got on well. I was kind of surprised to tell the truth: our lives and the bonds and shared interests that drew us together in the first place have altered so much in the intervening years and I couldn’t see what we would have to say to one another. In fact, I was reluctant when it was suggested. How many friends have I got? Do I want more? What would the price be for having more? Are the ones that I do have genuine friends or just blabber-mouths who in fact are parasites happy to unburden themselves on my wise and [fairly] genuine interest but start fiddling with their phones when I start to talk about something that is actually of concern to me?
I think at my age it is hard to maintain a lot of friendships; I don’t want to anyway. I haven’t made any effort to stay in touch with old work colleagues and I used to know at least forty individuals either pretty well or very well. I don’t want to know. We had business and doors in common, sometimes one or two additional interests like music or walking but we had to put aside our private lives, our politics, our troubles because business was what brought us together and we had to have a working relationship. Of course, some people I had to accommodate I disliked and for sure, they disliked me but there weren’t many I simply couldn’t work with or work for. Now that I am free from those constraints and I don’t have to talk to Alan X, I don’t.
It leaves me with fewer friends and acquaintances but if the relationship is only good for oiling the many wheels of the working environment, what does it provide on any other level? Lots of unanswered questions today. And . . . contrary as ever . . . the guy who recently got in touch used to be my accountant when I ran the business. Anyway it is early days for all that and we shall see how we get on.
You can join groups or attend Education classes: meet people. I was invited to join an all-male Investment Group that meets once a month. There are 11 of them and I knew about half of them already, two or three quite well so it wasn’t a challenge. I must say, they were good when I was ill recently. Unexpectedly so since our meetings don’t usually touch on the personal.
The friends that I do have I have known for forty+ years and are none of them, work-related. My best friend if that is still an acceptable term, is a woman . . . a divorcee, Susan Gray. Her ex, Brian and I were very close but when they divorced, I went with Susan who I liked much more. I think he thought I was the one she was having an affair with, but I wasn’t and wouldn’t. I never fancied her, still don’t our friendship is about mutual respect, many, many mutual interests . . . in the face of a true friend we see a second self . . . [Cicero] . . . and when we meet up, we just talk and talk which to my mind is the very definition of friendship.
It isn’t easy for a married man to have a close friendship with a divorcee.
And yet, sometimes it doesn’t work. Eddie Gainford, who designed my book covers should be a friend. We share many interests, are of similar age/class, both ran in my case, running in Eddie’s, their own intense, high-tech businesses and he seems to genuinely like me a lot. But. Whenever I have reached out beyond the current issue engaging us, he hides. Do I seem needy, Eddie? I do not care that much to be honest, I’ve just dumped forty work-related friends so I suspect needy is the wrong adjective. These are only my observations; I am just saying you only get one life, one chance but if you don’t want to reach back, then that’s your choice. There are people who want me to be more friendly with them, who believe we could have a closer relationship but for whatever reason, I don’t want to. Usually, probably because I know it would be all on their terms.
#In a way, it is a kindly gentle thing to say. He could have shrieked eff-off at Joannie who simply wouldn’t accept that it was over but instead, he composed this song.