"When faced with a problem you do not understand,
do any part of it you do understand; then look at it again."
~(Robert A. Heinlein - "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress")

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Thursday, February 16, 2012

“The French have a phrase for it ...

...The bastards have a phrase for everything and they are always right.
   To say goodbye is to die a little.”
     ~Raymond Chandler, The Long Goodbye (1953)

I had considered naming this post "Moving on" or "To absent friends ..." but, while I liked the punch of the latter, I have no reason to believe any of them dead, so it didn't seem appropriate.

Those of you who usually receive my cast of thousands (Ok;  a couple of dozen then :-) email notices may notice a few names missing from the mailing list.

Friendships and relationships do not always last forever; circumstances (in a word - LIFE) intrudes and entropy will have its say.

Sometimes, the true miracle is what does last.  In the mid '70s, by purest accident I ran into an Air Force buddy I hadn't seen in 13 years.  I didn't even recognize him at first, wondering if he might be an architect client of the engineering company I worked for then.  But he knew me right away, at least enough to inquire if I was Paul Binkley (my name when I was in the USAF).

He gave me his telephone number and asked me to give him a call.

I dithered about that for awhile (probably most of you have had the experience of running into someone you knew long ago and then finding that so much has changed since then that you no longer have anything in common anymore), but finally found the courage to do so and am so glad that I did.

I went to see him and his family (including a six or seven year old son that I felt like I was almost an honorary uncle to.  He turned out all right, and I'd sure like to think that I was a decent influence).

In this case, my friend and I reconnected almost at once.  Some years later, I even moved out of state and worked for him as a data-processing manager until he had to let me go (partly economic circumstances, partly my own failing - management wasn't my greatest strength; I was much better at playing with the computers).

Some of my other Air Force friends, upon reading this, will probably rag on him a little bit, "You FIRED Him?!!!"  Well, give him a break.  Under the circumstances, I don't see that he had any other choice.  We're still good friends, even though he's been seduced by the Dark Side and is now a lawyer :(.  He even reads my blog once in a while.

E-mail communications don't get very wordy though.  In that he shares a trait with the other Air Force buddies of mine, in that long-winded conversations just aren't their thing.  He's perfectly capable of replying in an email, to a long and detailed question, "Yep!"  (Strangely, for a group that was a language unit in the USAF, if Clint Eastwood could be described as a man of few words, they would be of even fewer. :-)

With him and most of my other Air Force buddies, that friendship and relationship will likely outlast the lot of us.

But other people have lives of their own and circumstances make it very unlikely that we will ever get together again.  I suspect that for some, occasional purging of superfluous contacts may be necessary for their own sanity, and to cling leech-like to them is simply not fair.

So, as for AK, BW, IC, JC, JG, JV, RC, SB, and TW, they were (and still are) my friends and I wish them all the best. I will never forget them.

But, they have moved on (it's really as simple as that) and it's high time I did so as well.

Bottom line: I think Raymond Chandler pretty well nailed it above.

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