A friend of mine is having a problem with his computer and his furnace at the same time, which is a tough double-header for anyone to handle. I’ve tried to offer some advice with the computer but don’t know if I can do him any good.
At least his plumbing is OK so he doesn’t have to deal with the third part of the unholy trinity. Plumbing is a real bugaboo for me — all I have to do is look at a faucet and it begins leaking. And if I should be stupid enough to try to fix it, it’ll fall apart under my hands. (Come to think of it, the pipes are everywhere. If they hear me talking about them…)
But trying to help my friend got me to thinking about past friendships and the passage of time. Although we make a lot of good friends at various stages of our lives, it sometimes seems as if childhood friendships are the ones we remember most.
I’m not sure if it’s true for everyone, but some of my clearest memories are of very simple days spent just playing with good friends. When you take into account that at the current stage of my life I often can’t remember what I had for breakfast – and I know everyone says that but I mean it – I am even more surprised by the sharpness of some of those childhood memories.
Of course, we all have some vivid recollections of our days as kids, but you expect them to be of major – even traumatic – events, not just a day spent playing. Although, on reflection, I guess there are things that might make a particular day stand out. For example, there was a period in my childhood when a friend and I spent almost every Summer day playing in a big, semi-wild area behind their house, but I specifically remember one day when we used our imaginations to make it a little more exotic.
The area was probably about the size of a city block, hilly and covered in scrub brush and trees, and had a tiny pond in the middle. It was a great place to play just as it was, but one day we decided that we had traveled back in time, and that it was actually a lost world, complete with dinosaurs, saber-toothed tigers, and wild cavemen. We spent hours running up and down those hills, shooting at giant imaginary reptiles with our BB guns, running from marauding Neanderthals, and just generally having a ball.
I don’t know why those kinds of memories should stick for so long, unless it’s because those are the times when a friendship was in its purest form — just a couple of kids who enjoyed spending time together.