A young fan of TLG approached me recently with a problem she wanted help with. This problem was about best friends. In a huff she exclaimed, ‘I mean – WWTLGD?
I had to laugh as I so confidently imagined this acronym as a bumper sticker of an old car driving down a winding dirt track of memory lane, pulling up at Kindergarten, the motor humming along, as I recollected dialogue and interaction from that first time I ever made a best friend. It was a two story doll house and I couldn’t get the elevator to move upstairs. My soon to be best friend simply pressed a button and up the elevator went. This was obviously one of my first experiences alone with technology and she was there to help me.
Park the car at the huge house around the corner where my other best friend lived: she had a real two story house and I always remember the banging of the trees against the glass windows the night we watched Twister and I remember feeling protected.
Speed up a little here – real fast down the highway – to my new house up the coast. Our car’s engine is coughing a little as we watch me on my first day at my new school. See the teacher choose a new best friend for me and the for the next four years see me “escape” by choosing other best friends and running amok with them.
Then there was high school. On the first day of high school I met a new best friend. Now move over because she is getting in this car so we can point out all of the funny things we used to do together.
Remember that guy’s backyard where we used to drive around that guy’s clothes line and out again before he could catch us, or drive in the park – sideways – failing to seatbelt the dogs, or driving our parents crazy by doing an impromptu house swap after school or something more sinister as stealing a cask if wine from the tennis club at school sport and drinking it on the school bus on the way home from school. “Its all just an experience!”
By the way, today is her birthday, so wish her a happy birthday. Then we can carry on making new memories. You see, we not only laugh over Yesterday but we are constantly enjoying Today – and Tomorrow we talk about with excitement in hope for all of the new experiences to come.
Put the brakes on! The two peas in the pod often rolled out and fell on unfamiliar territory where one was out of reach of the other. Like when one wouldn’t tell the other that they wouldn’t be at school that day and one had to catch the bus alone. Or when one found themselves overseas and in a pickle about to be spread on some freak-who has-a-fetish-for-pea-and-pickle-sandwhiches’, toast.
Since leaving school I have had many best friends from uni or work and from over seas. They come in all shapes and sizes, in all colours and in all genders and sometimes I would have a birthday party or a wedding or a weekend get together and they would all be in the same room as me and I would think, how lucky am I? Here are a bunch of people who love me and each one brings out something different in me that I love. Most of the time I didn’t realise that they spent the whole time with being super polite to each other out of necessity, or forming their own friendships as they held back my hair or spoon fed me fries.
On the back of the toilet door at my best friend’s house was a picture of a bird and this quote: “If you love something, set it free. If it comes back to you, it is yours. If it doesn’t, it never was.” I think that this symbolises a sense of trust matched with a sense of risk in friendship. And it is true. And so now, when I turn around and look for the eyes of a best friend I once knew in a crowd of best friends I think to myself, I wonder when they will come back and say hi. And if they never do, then that’s okay. And everytime I meet up with a best friend it is is always the same but as though the refresh button has been hit and we note the differences and talk in ephiphanic language and laugh at the lamb in the backyard or try to throw once loved posessons out or if it is my sister, buy packets of MnMs and divide them equally by colour and watch HP and write songs together and…
So, young fan of mine, when you have a problem with a best friend, or many best friends and in answer to your question: WWTLGD? – Just be you. And know that having many best friends means you are loved. But hear this:
My nan always tells me: “You have to look after number One first.” That way, you are strong enough to be there for everyone else. In the front of a grocery shop in Bali a lady approached me as I happened to be smooshing potatoes and wine into the compartment under the seat of my motorbike and told me: “You will not be able to love anyone until you have learned to love yourself.” And they are both right.
I have come to the conclusion that best friends are the ones that not only do you reminisce with but that you make new memories with too. So sit back, enjoy the ride and as you trail along smooth roads, broken and crumbling roads, in first gear and in fifth gear with your best friends – remember: “Everything is just an experience”.