|Two pooches in the Millsboro B.J.'s parking lot 4/12/2011|
Friends, a subject I've written about before but bears writing about again.
In the course of life one is fortunate to have acquired a few good friends that last a lifetime. I have been one of those lucky few.
To me a true friend is a person who accepts you as you are, flaws and all. A true friend doesn't try to dominate or control you. A true friend cares about you. A true friend doesn't look upon you as an opportunity to further their own advancement or for what they can get out of you. During the course of my almost seventy years on this planet I have encountered all types of 'friends."
- I have had 'friends' who looked upon me as only a sexual object for conquest.
- I have had 'friends' who have seen me only as an opportunity for what I could do for them to either with my skills or my money to make their lives easier.
- I have had 'friends' who were only friends to advance their own career. When I no longer had a career they no longer needed me as their friend.
- I have had 'friends' who have mistakenly identified my good natured and easy going personality as a weakness and thus an opportunity to dominate me, tell me how to live my life, mock and scold me and thus use me to build up their own selfish egos.
- Those are my former friends. Granted, sometimes I have had difficulty identifying these 'friends'. It has taken me longer to end those friendships, sometime very reluctantly because I didn't want to believe what was right before my eyes. Sometimes the parting has been painful. Sometimes the parting, long overdue, has come with great relief.
Then there are my true friends.
I am happy to say that I have more than a few true friends who have stuck with me through thick and thin.
- They were my friends when I was young and attractive and they are still my friends now that I am old and unattractive.
- They were my friends when I have a great career and made loads of money and they are still my friends when I am now working part-time as a hotel front desk clerk making $10.75 an hour and mopping floors at night.
- They are my friends in spite of the fact that I am moody, immature (at times), do dumb things (sometimes), and wish to be alone (many times).
- They are my friends in spite of the fact that I have a lot of annoying habits like clearing my throat, taking pictures at almost every dine out.
- They are my friends in spite of the fact that I cannot give them money, sex, career opportunities or a home to live.
They are my true friends.
- They did not desert me when I was falsely accused of sexual harassment in one of my jobs.
- They did not desert me when I was being railroaded out of a job because of a new boss who was homophobic and didn't want any 'queers' working for him. The excuse I heard "I would like to help you Ron but we're concerned about our own jobs." That was the first time I realized that real life wasn't like life in the movies or TV. When there is an injustice most people, including people who you think are your 'friends', will toss you under the bus for expediency. They will risk nothing for their 'friendship' with you. Ironically, when I was going through those two bad periods of my life, even though I saw many false friends I found a few new friends. People I totally unexpected came to my defense. It just goes to show that you never know who your true friends really are.
I'm coming up on my Old Age now and beginning to wonder, as I see some of my true friends die off either physically or mentally (one longtime friend has dementia), I wonder will I be alone in my Old Age.
I have no children. I have many nieces and nephews but I want none of them 'taking care' of me.
I moved to this area of southern Delaware not only for the low taxes but because there is a large GLBT community. This area of the country isn't as homophobic as where I came from (suburban Philadelphia) but I have encountered my fair share of homophobia even here. My longtime partner is thirteen years old than I am and thus probably will be die before I do. I had hoped that I would find a network of friends in this area but that hasn't turned out to be the case. I've made a few friends but generally the GBLT community is very tribal (cliques) in this area as it is in other areas of the country. I've met some nice guys (the lesbians don't have anything to do with gay guys) but that's as far as it goes. No close friends. That might be me.
Unfortunately I've encountered some of the same problems here that I did earlier in my life. Either it's a sexual liaison hookup (which I am absolutely not interested in at this time of my life) or what can I do for them (provide a home or replace their screen door ), or be dominated (no one dominates me), or be constantly mocked, criticized or scolded (I only allowed my Mother to do that and she died last year).
So this is where I am at today. Contemplating what is going to become of me if and when Bill leaves me and I am ALONE. I try not to think of it but the thought keeps creeping back in my mind.
Yesterday I spent about three hours with my longtime (and straight) friend Larry on FaceTime. Larry and I have been friends since third grade. He does not judge me, he does not criticize me, he doesn't ask me for money or to fix his screen door. He knows me and knows my faults (as I know his.) I feel comfortable with Larry and he feels comfortable with me. He knows when I get in a mood and I know when he gets in a 'fowl" mood (as he said earlier this week). I give him space as he gives me space. He understands.
Bill, my Life Partner (and husband if they ever change the laws in this backward country in my lifetime) is my Very Best Friend. Ever since we began living together forty-six years ago the only thing he has ever asked of me is just for me to be me. It is also the only thing I ask of him. Do we have our differences? You bet. But in the end I know I can count on Bill and he can count on me. He won't desert me at the first sign of a better opportunity of when I get into trouble.
Of course my bestest friend ever in the world was my Mother. She died last September 16th and I still feel her loss every day. Towards the end it wasn't pretty because her personality had changed due to the effects of dementia. She got nasty. But I forgave her because I knew that wasn't my real Mom.
Someday in the not to dissent future I will be gone from this earth. I've come to accept the fact that my passing will make about as much difference in this world as the water level in a bucket of water after a hand if pulled out of it. Their will be slight disruption but the water level will return to where it was before and the hand that was taken out of that bucket will quickly be forgotten.
Until that day comes, I will cherish and value my true friends that I have here on this earth. When I lose those friends then I'll get a cat (or two).