The last weekend of August came time to celebrate Joseph’s bachelor party with a few days on kayaks in Tomales Bay just north of SF. (It was also my birthday, but that’s not important.) As part of my best man duties, I coordinated the trip with the help of Adam, another groomsman. Joseph invited his two good buddies/groomsmen, Stacey and Dennis, from Tennessee to join us.
That weekend could not have been better—great weather, great conversations, great company. Lots of stories were shared among the five of us during those two nights as we passed around a bottle of Bulleit sitting next to our campfire; memories of college, growing up as kids in the 80’s and teens in the 90’s, past relationships, current opportunities, future plans. I was excited to hear new stories from Dennis and Stacey about Joseph as they grew up in TN together.
Joseph and I have been friends the last 5+ years. We met through Project M back in 2009, moved to Half Moon Bay together in 2010, and picked up where things were when I moved back to the Bay Area in 2011. Camping trips, bar hops, burritos, frisbee sessions in Golden Gate Park, “Pizza Hut Nights”, concerts, even experiencing a Vipassana together… we’ve hung out a lot.
After an amazing weekend, we got back to SF that Sunday night. While unpacking my gear, two thoughts kept coming back to me.
1. Joseph is one solid guy with a lot of people in his life who love him.
2. Having friends, real friends, is one of the most important aspects I consider in life.
“Real friends”? You know…
Those that know you well enough to call you out on your bullshit, but only because they love you.
Those that will help you when you ask for help.
Those that will help you even if you think you don’t need help.
Those that will always be there even after weeks of not talking.
Those that encourage you to be the person they know you are, no questions asked.
Those that send you random emoji texts that mean nothing and everything.
When I was a teenager searching for the “meaning of life” in high school, I read a lot philosophy. Ralph Waldo Emerson was one of the old whites guys I would read. I go back to this quote often when I think about a “real” friend,
“A friend is a person with whom I may be sincere. Before him, I may think aloud. I am arrived at last in the presence of a man so real and equal that I may drop even those undermost garments of dissimulation, courtesy, and second thought, which men never put off, and may deal with him with the simplicity and wholeness, with which one chemical atom meets another.”
That last part, “and may deal with him with the simplicity and wholeness, with which one chemical atom meets another.”, is so important for me. It’s establishing a connection with another human being to simply be one with the other person, to experience life together.
I’ve dropped by “undergarments” in the presence of a handful of people in my life (You know who you are.) I’ve opened up to and shared with these people my secrets, fears, failures, dreams, and aspirations. I know I can trust them and they can trust me. I have friends and then I have friends. I value, respect, and appreciate those I can get “buck” in front of and feel no judgement or criticism.
I’m excited to be by his side as he starts the next chapter in his life with Michelle.