Tuesday, April 16, 2013

One on the basis for friendship

I have begun Crossing to Safety, by Wallace Stegner. The hat tip for this book goes to Karen, who posted a review of it, which prompted Meredith to read it, and Meredith then told me to “run, don’t walk” to get myself a copy. So I did.

What happened was I texted a friend on Saturday to see if she wanted to catch up, which led to a Saturday evening dinner rendezvous. She was coming across the Harbour by ferry, so we arranged to meet at Circular Quay, which meant me taking a bus, which required a book to read. (And can I just say, the city on a Saturday night is never all that you might hope for. We ended up in the Australian Hotel, because we couldn’t find where else to go, sharing a “Coat of Arms” emu and kangaroo pizza, then we walked through the Opera Bar and the noise was so deafening I couldn’t have tolerated any sort of “drink” other than a very stiff one in it. But we had a pleasant enough evening strolling about the Rocks and the water. I tried to take a self portrait by the Harbour. I said ‘let’s put our cheeks together and pull fish faces like the young folks of today’ but this is what I actually got (when I turn my new phone around I can't then find where on the screen to push the shutter and it all goes ridiculous). I "cinnamoned" it, because a flash that close to your face is unkind.) But, back to the book, I picked up Crossing to Safety because it was smaller than Peace Like a River, by Leif Enger, for my hand bag, and because both of them are a lot smaller than Dostoevsky’s epic. Thus far am I absorbed. I think this is indeed shaping up to be my kind of book.

Here is a little portion on friendship, which I keep a category for here in the fog. It made me stop and think about how it is I come to consider some people friends, or to respond to them.
Is that the basis of friendship? Is it as reactive as that? Do we really respond only to people who seem to find us interesting? Was our friendship for the Langs born out of simple gratitude to this woman who had the kindness to call on a strange young wife stuck in a basement without occupation or friends? Was I that avid for praise, to feel so warm toward them both because they professed to like my story? Do we all buzz or ring or light up when people press our vanity buttons, and only then? Can I think of anyone in my whole life whom I have liked without his first showing signs of liking me? Or did I (I hope I did) like Charity Lang on sight because she was what she was, open, friendly, frank, a little ribald as it turned out, energetic, interested, as full of vitality as her smile was full of light?
The truth is, I do think I hold some reasonably objective criteria for who I hold in esteem, but perhaps we are all suckers for enjoying the company of those who make it obvious that they appreciate us.

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