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February 18, 2004

Friend Recovery

These days have me working in an odd set of ways. I think that I'll never quite understand how it is that people know me or think about me. It's deep and basic and I think for me, fundamentally imponderable. It's why I'm a writer. I don't believe that I'll ever be certain things to people, and it keeps me explaining and expounding.

That's why searching for friends is always a fascinating compulsion for me, and it's what I'm in the middle of doing these days. Since I joined Orkut a week or so ago, as prompted by George Kelly (my Friend!), I've been sending out invitations like a madman, thinking about acquaintences past.

As part of this, I've hooked up with my highschool alumni network. (too late for the 25th reunion however) So now things are happening in my biorhythmic extreme. Mike T., whom I haven't seen in at least 3 years dropped by the house the other night. Rick just emailed me. If there is anyone to whom I owe a great deal, it is Rick. (He's Richard to me but goes by Rick, heaven only knows why). He is responsible for introducing me to Star Trek and is one of only three living witnesses to the first computer program I ever wrote, 'NUTZ'. Stewie is in the loop too. I haven't seen Stewie since '98, and then only for the reunion even though we live in the same town. He has two boys at the highschool, damn! Then I see in a completely different section of the Kwaku Network, an advert from Don G. He's now a meditative guru!

These wonders of wonders are not too much to take and I hope I deal with them well. As I wrote in my quick update at the alumni site, I've moved about 8 times in 10 years. I have yet to have in my life one refrigerator neighbor - there is nobody in my life to plop on my sofa as casually as I do. I think all those are the people who don't have email. The people who think that when I sit at the computer I'm not speaking to anyone but the computer. At the same time, I am taking my e-pals for granted as they play second fiddle for the moment to people who only knew me as a teen. When have I really spoken to EJ Flavors as a person and not as an audience? See? This is why I'm f'd up.

Along with my Rock Recovery, this Friend Recovery is, I think, an important part of my growing up. It's about making amends with those things and people in your life that you failed to give adequate attention as you were busy trying to get to where your step on Maslow's pyramid wasn't pinching your last nerve.

In my youth I always wondered when I was going to quit - when I was going to have the passion for things in my life that all the people around me were having. I think this is a very critical question for young black men in general although I can only be specific to my generation, and there's an excellent story that I'll write next tangential to this. But you see at some point I got used to young men around me failing in ways I couldn't allow my self to fail. I refused to become consumed with the anger and frustration attending that failure, consequently I couldn't be as much of a friend as ordinary circumstances would allow. I had to choose worlds because I knew that the small racially constricted one was not for me. In choosing worlds, one chooses game faces and allies.

But these men from my highschool past were always my choices and yet fate spread us across the country. Our parents should have been refrigerator pals, but we came from artificial ghettoes and fissioned with nuclear force from those places. Now, half a life away, I'm trying to recover.

Posted by mbowen at February 18, 2004 10:05 AM

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I reserve the right to marinate. *smile*

In all seriousness though, I have managed to have some friends blog. That is, until southern Alabama life reared their ugly head, and they managed to go back into the depths of which they came.

I got used to men failing around me, and just living in the south making due with what they had. I made my escape, but still can't help feeling that I need to go back down and triage the ones who want to escape, who need to escape.

Recovery is a mutha.

Posted by: ej at February 19, 2004 05:18 PM