I’m a very social person. I keep my family and friends close and I like to know that everyone else I meet like me. I like to entertain people. It’s important to me. However I’ve always accepted that people come and go from your life and I’ve reached an age where that happens more than possibly any other time. It seems that from the time we graduate from high school and through our early and mid twenties people are continually coming into and leaving our lives. It’s come to the point for me that I’ve learned to expect it from at least 90% of the people I meet. I’ve always felt that there were some people who I’ve let myself lose close contact with who were meant to be in my life, if not physically there, then at the very least, by taking advantage of modern technology and talking regularly.
This is a lesson, I’ll admit, I’ve had to learn and relearn, and still it doesn’t always sink in. I’ve been taken care of by a few long lost friends during my travels and there’s no way to express my gratitude.
In Rapid City, I was surprised by a friend who gave me a couch to sleep on if I felt like I needed it. In Salt Lake City, I had to sneak around in order to do my best to learn what life was like for the homeless. I simply know too many people there and I guess they all love me. In Seattle I had a couch to sleep on both from new and old friends. From the time I left Seattle until I arrived in the Monterey Peninsula, I really learned to miss familiar faces. That’s not to say that I didn’t come in contact with some great people, new friends just aren’t as calming as old friends.
When I arrived in Monterey, I knew I had a friend here and I was excited to see her. I’ve let some people drift away, that I never should have, but that time apart has made me realize just how important their friendship is to my life. Many of my friends who I’ve made since I parted ways with one such friend have heard more stories than ever wanted about “The Blonde One”. (I went through a stage in 2007 when some of my friends were described by the color of their hair.)
In my first week in San Francisco I was visited by her. Walking away from Fisherman’s Wharf that afternoon I realized that I had just made back a friend that I thought I’d lost forever. That day I told her I’d do my best to spend a couple weeks in Monterey so I could visit her again.
Two days after I arrived here, I was reminded of another long lost friend who lives here. I’m so thankful also to this friend and her husband. They’ve given me a place to stay if I need such a place. They’ve made sure I had enough to eat and told me where to go to look for work.
There were always times that I wouldn’t see a person that was always at the same dinners and shelters as me in other cities for a night or two, and then when I did finally see them again and asked where they were, the answer always came back the same, “I stayed at a friend’s house. I just really needed to get away from this for a while.” Homeless people aren’t loners. We’re not people without family or friends. We’re also not happy feeling like we’re mooching off of friends and family members, and so, people stay on the streets trying to make it out on their own. But, there are times you need to get away from sleeping on a park bench or on the floor of some church next to some smelly, snoring dude. It is times like this that you take advantage of the invitations of, “You can sleep on my couch/spare bed” or “Let me take you out to dinner”.
Moral of the story is: We all know who our true friends are. We need to cherish those friendships more than we do sometimes. Maybe I’m not telling you anything you don’t know, but it’s something I’ve only recently learned… again.
Well, I guess this is growing up.