Posts Tagged ‘chips are down


I Feel Bad For Girls

huge-storm-covering-ship-backgroundYesterday was like living inside a cloud – misty, rainy, cold and windy, the perfect day to not get out of bed.

I was working on a pitch presentation when my ol’ buddy Graum called to see if I was keen for a few beers at Percy’s at 4 with our buddy Pukey.

I told him it wasn’t likely. I was elbows-deep in this thing and the going was slow, but I’d see how I was doing at 4 and let him know. Come 4 I wasn’t much further in and the world outside looked like a cold, wet and inhospitable place, so I did what any man in my situation would do.

I put my coat on, trudged through the dogshit weather to Percy’s and sat down for a pint with my friends.

Barbarian joined us after an hour or so and it felt like old times.

By way of explanation, Graum, Pukey and Barbarian form part of the posse I used to get fucked up with during our first year at varsity. Puke-ass bailed out after that, but drifted in and out of all of our lives continuously over the course of the next nine years.

Barbarian was in it for another year after that when he hit the skids pretty hard and, for the sake of his waning sanity, had to get the fuck out of dodge.

Graum and I weathered out the storm for another two years as digsmates in varsity and then lived in Joburg for another couple of years as flatmates.

We shot the breeze yesterday while the Wimbledon final played out in the background and one pint became four. It’s two years since I saw Pukey and nearly two and a half since I’ve seen Graum, but like any good friends will tell you, it hardly feels like we missed a beat.

In a city that I’ve struggled since I arrived in to make any real, meaningful friendships, having three of the guys who fought in the trenches with me all those years ago and who have proven time and time again that they have my back went a long way in restoring my faith in this world.

And yes, I know what you’re thinking “fought in the trenches” is a little dramatic. It’s a reaction I’ve had more than once when I try to tell people what it was like back in those days and I don’t blame them because they weren’t there.

They weren’t there when the going got tough, when we saw each other fuck up, fuck out and get fucked up.

They weren’t there in the good times, when we rolled through the streets of that fucked up little town like we owned them because we did. When he laughed till it hurt. When life filled us to bursting with wonder and promise and hope.

They didn’t know the kids we were, the things we went through.

I’m not that kid anymore. The one who chased his next high so far down the rabbit hole, that make-believe world meant more to him than the “real” one ever will.

The kid who walked a tightrope between this world and the next, somehow surviving the falls he took only to climb back up and do it all again.

I’m not that kid anymore. He’s dead, gone and forgotten by all but a handful of equally fucked up souls who were there, in the trenches, fighting for God knows what, but fighting, always fighting.

I feel bad for girls because generally they don’t make friends like guys do. They have different groups of friends that move through their lives and seem to suit them at different times in different situations, but it’s rare that they connect in the effortless way men do.

There are exceptions to every rule, but sitting at that table yesterday talking about everything and nothing with my old friends I got this feeling like it will always be this way.

Empires will rise and fall, but as long as we’re still rooted to the firmament and maybe even if we aren’t, our paths will continue to cross and when they do it will be like it was today, like we never missed a beat.

There is only one thing you can ever ask of a friend; that they hold on to the pieces of you that you lose or forget over the course of your life and keep those pieces safe to remind you of them when you need it most and even sometimes when you don’t.

Don’t waste time or emotion on “friends” that can’t do that for you or you’ll spend your life surrounded by mere acquaintances who only make an effort when it suits them and who, when the chips are down, are nowhere to be seen.