Thursday, April 14, 2011

Friends

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).


22 comments:

  1. You may come and play with my cat, Memphis, anytime you want. Your love of cats is evident.
    I enjoy your blog immensely.

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  2. Ron, that was beautifully written. I liked it.
    And I'm sorry for looking upon you "as only a sexual object for conquest." I don't know what I was thinking. I know, I'm too old for you anyway.
    Your Friend, if you'll have me, m.

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  3. Anonymous10:24 AM

    Hi Ron,

    It sounds like you are having a very retrospective day today. I am having the same feelings. Yesterday my 67 year old sister was diagnosed with Alzheimers & put on medication. We all knew her forgetfullness wasn't just from aging but we couldn't come to terms with it until the results of her brain scans performed last week came back. She is 8 years younger than my Mom when she was told by the dr. that she had it. We will all go down that path again and I'm selfishly worrying about myself. Yes, I have a husband & 2 sons but no one wants to be a burden to anyone not even family.

    We have to all hope for the best. I don't know about you but I'm going outside & work my worries away in the yard. Have a good day!

    Fran

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  4. Don,
    Thanks for the offer! Your Memphis is a sweetheart, I can tell. Thank for the generous compliment on my blog. I was feeling a bit negative today. I try not to post too much negative but I felt the need today. Something pretty tomorrow!

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  5. Mark,
    I thought long and hard about putting in the "sexual object" statement because it makes me seem like I'm all about myself but I decided to put it in anyway. The pictures that I posted earlier of me on my roof deck in Philly reminded me of the 'problem' that I had when I used to go out to the bars. I had too many guys hitting on me that I didn't want to meet (I'm not attracted to aggressive guys) and my nature isn't one of putting someone down so I usually had a problem getting rid of those guys without insulting them. More times than not I didn't meet who I wanted to meet and usually went home alone. Hey, it ain't easy being a sex object! :) Thank goodness I don't have that 'problem' now. No complaints from me though, I scored a few times with exactly who I wanted to meet. That was enough.

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  6. Fran,
    We're on the same wave length! You understand completely. Yes, I was having a very retrospective day. I try to always make my posts positive but sometimes I feel the need for introspection. I think it is a sign of this time of our life. I think about these things but I try not to worry too much about them. There isn't much I can do so why not enjoy the present as much as possible? Your suggestion for going outside and working in the yard is the exact remedy for this moody, introspective period. I'm going outside now!

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  7. This was beautiful and thought provoking. Friendship has always been a very important aspect of my life and have struggled with the various faux friendships you mention here but am also lucky to have many true friends as well as a loving and supportive husband (Sorry, I just don't need laws to tell me I have a husband, legally recognized or not.) Based on what I have learned about you so far in the short time I have been reading your blog posts, I believe we would have made great friends. Thanks for sharing so much of yourself here. Keep writing.

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  8. Just don't become the Crazy Cat Man of Delaware!One or two is enough. Anything more and you've got a ranch and herd.

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  9. You mean I've spent all this time luring your into a false sense of security so you'll fix my screen door, and now you're saying that's not what friendship is about?

    Just as well we don't have screen doors here in Scotland then :)

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  10. You made me tear up! The things you said about ciques are so true. You can't go looking for friends. They find you.

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  11. Breenlantern,

    I appreciate your comments. Friendship has also been a very important if not the most important aspect of my life. You understand.

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  12. Will,

    Seriously, I DO worry about being one of those crazy cat people when I get old. I used to deliver newspapers to a Cat Lady when I was about 10 years old. I've always loved cats. My partner doesn't like cats that's why I don't have any now. However, should he go before I go I'm afraid I'm going to go overboard to make up for all those lost years without cats and clean out the local animal shelter of all the homeless cats. It is a big fear of mine. I don't know if I could resist not doing so.

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  13. Jeff,

    You are absolutely right, you can't 'go looking for friends, they find you.' The only problem is look who is finding me. Not many true friends. Most of them want something from me and it isn't friendship. It is what I can do for them. I don't do that to my friends. I ask nothing.

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  14. Kim,

    You can't fix screen doors? A man of your many talents? I don't belive it. ;)

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  15. I think we all have a lot of acquaintances but relatively few friends, and we tend to confuse the two. People we work with are acquaintances, for just the reasons you described above. People who we can call at 3am and who will race to our location to help us, and do so with no questions asked, are friends. And true friends are few and far between.

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  16. You are absolutely correct Cubby. Most of us have many acquaintances but very few friends. I have a few 'friends' left, most of the rest of them having either died or now have a mental illness like dementia so they mit as well be dead. One of my former friends (the infamous 'Jeff' who now has dementia) always said my biggest fault was that I was terminally naive. I plead guilty. I thought friends would happen when I moved to Delaware but all I gai Ed was more acquaintances. That's the way it is. Maybe it's time I grew up and face reality.

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  17. I hope to count you as a friend
    And I have missed you.

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  18. ron,
    i value my friends more than any relationship i have ever had. they have lasted longer, as well. as you know, my blog is about "getting older", and i am looking for a place where i can build a community of friends as well. guess i won't choose delaware! as an existentialist, i realize that "alone-ness" is something that we all fear. but we can do something about it. i intend to. i don't have a longtime partner, but i refuse to go into my older years alone. sounds like you won't do that either. a beautiful post.

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  19. Spo,
    You can absolutely count on me as your friend, without a doubt. I wish I knew more people like you. You are a joy.

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  20. caliman,
    Thank you for your comment. I too value my friendships more than any relationship that I've ever had. Even though I have a partner he is more my friend than a traditional 'partner'. 'Aloneness' is something that I fear a great deal. Since my partner/friend is so much older than I, I fear that I will be alone and vulnerable. I am concerned and I don't know exactly what to do about it.

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  21. Great post!
    I'm 60 y/o and don't have ANY gay friends left. Strange thing is that really doesn't bother me. I've sort of gotten to the point where if we get along and you accept me for me then we'll be fine. Luckily I have a next door neighbor who is a single, divorced Mom with two girls who accept me and I really can count on them as true friends. In the past I've met and made a few gay friends at work but they were usually much younger and couldn't relate to them much. I could never live without a dog or cat for companionship and unconditional love. Your so damn luckly Ron to have found and had Bill all this time.

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  22. Stan,
    Thanks again for your complimentary comment on my post. That post was from my heart. I have a few gay (and straight) friends but they are friends from many years ago. We continue our friendship at a distance. I've made some acquaintances down here in Delaware but no true and deep friendships which somewhat surprises me. One of my long time gay friends who lives in Philadelphia read my post and sent me an e-mail asking me "What is it exactly what you're looking for in friends?" That was a good question. I guess what I was looking for was a replacement for Bill should he die before I do. I know how very lucky I am to have Bill. He has always treated my like a prince for the whole forty-six years we have lived together. He has been my constant companion and someone I can always talk to. Even more, he is someone I can trust and feel safe with. I know quite a few gay guys (and straight folk) down here in Delaware but none that I feel 'safe' or 'comfortable' with. I hesitate to write that in my blog because I don't want to offend anybody.

    The way I ended my blog posting was appropriate because if and when Bill does leave me I will get a dog and/or a cat for company and manage the best I can. I see so many single guys who are doing that right now and they seem to do all right and not be terribly bothered by being alone. It is just something that I will have to adjust my life to. I can't imagine living with someone that I don't like or trust. I would rather live alone.

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