[I might have used this image before, but I felt it was appropriate...]
Thanks to Facebook I am able to see parts of my friends' worlds - worlds I am very much not a part of - and it's strange. Mostly, I refer to the friends I made at NBTSC They all live in the USA except for a handful of Vancouverites (we're not very close) and Fi and me.
2006 was, by far, my best year at camp. I was part of a group that always hung out. It was something I'd never experienced before but always wanted to. In that group with me were Kay, Chris, Jessie and Nick. We all lost touch even though we're friends on Facebook and had MySpace prior to FB. Kay was my best friend for quite a while, but shit happened, life happened, and we don't talk very much or as easily as we used to. In addition, I met D that year. At camp we regularly stayed up until around 3AM talking. When he returned to California and I returned to BC, we kept in touch. We could still talk like we did at camp, and even when we stopped talking for a couple of months, we came back just as able to talk late into the night. I loved talking to him, but again, life happened - mine, his, then mine again, and finally his. That was it.
Each camp session has 100+ish campers so I've met a lot of very interesting people over the years. I know some campers better than I know others and I wish I was able to get to know them even more. However, they have lives. Sometimes I forget this. Any chance I get, I let my American friends know that they can come up to the Great White North to visit me (even if I'm not in the Northernmost, Whitest patch of Greatness). Although I'm not in Vancouver any more, my grandparents live there and it would be no trouble at all for me to go to the mainland and see my fellow camp-friends if they were disinclined to travel slightly farther West. Even so, lately, a few friends have been venturing up North to visit the Vancouverite campers. The Vancouverites don't mention it, the Americans don't mention it, only Facebook does. It doesn't hurt me as much as it does distance me, but I feel a little sad too. They don't think of it, they don't think of me, but that's okay. After all, maybe they're really much closer with the Vancouverite campers than they are with me.
It's easy for the Minnesotans to stay friends, it's easy for Seattleites to stay friends, but it's still easy for some who don't live in the same state. Is Vancouver taboo? Does the border between the US and Canada interfere with telephone lines and internet connections? Or is it me? Did they actually become really good friends at camp when I wasn't looking?
It doesn't really matter, but it makes me think and it makes me envious. I want to have friends like they do.
Living on an island, even if it is but a ferry-ride from the mainland, seems to make people think I live on another planet. It takes 2.5 hours to get from my house to someone on the mainland's. Maybe the body of water separating the two land masses interferes with telephone lines and internet connections. The kind of communication we/I have with people on the mainland can be described as second-degree forgetfulness. Third-degree forgetfulness, the most severe, applies to those living in another country. First-degree forgetfulness, although less severe, is actively present in the relationships I have with people on the island. So, what happens?
What causes relationships to fade? What causes friends to forget that you exist and that you care about them? I faced this when I moved from White Rock to Vancouver, then again when I moved here from Vancouver, and even now that I've stayed in the same town for several years.
The fact that life happens is the only explanation, I think. People move on. They graduate, they go to school, they get jobs, they move, and in the process, they make other friends. It's probably harder for me because, although my memory can be complete rubbish sometimes, when it comes to friends, I don't forget them. That's probably my biggest problem. That, and the fact that finding somebody with whom I have things in common has proven to be a tricky task.
That's where college comes in. I've made some friends here recently but we don't have that much in common. As my mom reminded me, once I start taking regular courses, courses in the field I wish to get into, I'll be seeing the same people around campus because we'll be interested in the same things. Therefore, I'll be meeting people I share common interests with. That's my best bet for making friends I can actually talk to. Maybe then I'll be able to focus on those friends, when I'm not focusing on my schoolwork, and I'll have less time to think about the friends I no longer have.
I think my idea of a friend doesn't always match up with my friends' idea of a friend. I'm calling them my friends when they're really not. They're nice people. I met them, I talked to them a little, I like them, but we don't talk or hang out on a regular basis. I can't count on them; I can't go to them when I'm in trouble. They're more acquaintances than they are friends but I don't like calling them acquaintances because I would rank them higher than a friend of a friend I met once or twice. They're halfway between an acquaintance and a friend. They're not good friends, they're not bad friends, and they're certainly not best friends.
Hoping people I know will become my good friends is unrealistic, I know, and I can't expect campers to remember that I, too, live in BC when they come up to visit the Vancouverites. I cannot be disappointed in people who move on just because I remember our friendships. However, I'm not going to close any doors or burn any bridges because I don't believe in doing that; it's never beneficial. There are few exceptions. My door will always be open for new friends - whether they're good, not-bad, or the best - and for old friends - if/when they remember I exist and wish to be a part of my life again, even though I never expect that to happen.
I'm going to get even more metaphoric on you now...
I may see the distant worlds of friends through my Facebook-telescope, and I may be envious of the clusters of friends they're a part of, but who is to say I don't have a gravitational pull of my own? I might just be a single floating object wandering through space and time, but I'm dynamic and magnetic just like the other objects floating around me. Just because my composition is dissimilar to many of the other objects doesn't mean there aren't other, equally different objects out there that I share similarities with.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go wander and float around some more... right after I check my Facebook.