*This is a completely off-the-cuff post. It is interrupting a pre-scheduled and outlined posting purely because I am in a good mood.*
I love questions that make you think. As much as I shy away from them, and attempt to give the stock-pile answers, I love being challenged to come up with a truly honest response, if posed by the right person. You all know where I am coming from with this: you’ll engage in a hearty debate, if you feel free of judgement, providing wrong answers, or coming off as a court jester. It’s for this reason that I love my friends. (No offence meant to the family reading this, but it’s true). It’s just a different feeling to verbally spar with someone on the same page as you, mentally, emotionally, life-wise.
It was an ordinary conversation I had with an extra-ordinary friend that got me thinking about all this. We were just doing the rounds, catching up on love, life and everything in between, when for some reason, they asked me if the series of fortunate events that led to our meeting hadn’t taken place, did I think we still would have met? In a perfect world, (and in reality) my immediate answer was yes. I held out hope, that some way, some how we would have crossed paths. They countered with, “think about it, so many different factors had to fall in to place for us to meet. One missed bus, a wrong turn, deciding to forego a concert. All of these would have halted us meeting. If not at that concert in the winter of 2010 in downtown Vancouver; when else, given what we know of each other, where or how could we have possibly met?” They had a point. We would not have met, end of story. Nothing about the lives we were leading at the time in any way intersected. Don’t get me wrong, I am truly happy things turned out as they have, but I shudder to think of life sans said friend, which could have been a real possibility.
Let me outline this series of “fortunate” events, so you can truly grasp how much luck had to do with this. In order to do so, we have to go back to Ottawa, in 2005, in a dorm room. Early in to the fall semester, I came to the upsetting realization that I lived across the hall from a musician. I love musicians, you all know that. However, this one played the trumpet, at strange hours of the day, without a mute. Writing a paper, I was fed up with the sounds of brass passing through 4 shut doors and a hallway, and marched across the hall to let the culprit have it. It was then he turned down a DVD he was watching of a British jazz musician. I grabbed a chair, and finished watching it with him- I was hooked. Fast-foward to March 2010, I find out that the British jazz musician is coming to Vancouver for a show, and look up that long-lost hall-mate from Ottawa. Yes! He’s living in Vancouver, and would love to go. We agree to meet, outside the venue in line to get in. March 20th, the day of the event, I rush downtown, barely making it at our determined meet time, he’s in line, and chatting to someone whom I think is a friend of his. Outgoing as I am, I hop into the conversation, hit it off with the random friend, and we all head in to the concert together. Ladies and gents, that random friend was no friend at all. The two had met in the line outside, maybe 10 minutes prior to my arrival. They were chatting about the artist we were going to see, and a shared passion for jazz, and their mutual trumpet playing prowess. Turns out, that random stranger is now the extra-ordinary friend of mine.
Damn, they were right, looking back, a lot of things had to align for us to have met, and I just covered my side of the story. Forget theirs’. When you add in the fact that my extra-ordinary friend was visiting from the UK, and made a last-minute decision to attend the concert, the odds are slim to none this would have worked out as it did. I wouldn’t have it any other way, that’s something we both can attest to. It is truly one of the great, and organic “meet-cute” moments we get in life. I can only say that I am thankful we had the ability to keep it going, and forge, what I hope is, a life-long friendship from it.
Who would have thought a concert would mash together two people, in similar places in life, with similar personalities (flaws and all)? I sure as heck did not. I most certainly did not think I would turn to that person for reassurance, the odd ego check, and advice. Above all, I did not think they’d be the one to call me on my shit, given that is usually a duty reserved for family (*ahem, sisters*). Sure, some of my friends reading this do that as well, (and I thank you for it), but not from 8000+ plus miles away, and purely from the intonation in my voice when we’re having a discussion. That eerie talent, leads to some truly frank conversations. No sugar-coating, no letting me figure out my mistakes; rather just pointing them out as I make them. This Brit just calls it, as it happens, regardless of the consequences it may have, of course, this is reciprocated. If anyone is going to give you the truth, it is going to be a friend. Your family will try to put it nicely or use a metaphor to help make their point. I respect that as well, but more often than not, your true “a-ha” moments come from within, or with a little help from your friends.
Tonight was an “a-ha” for me: realizing that when something amazing is put in front of us, it’s up to us to do something about it. To reach out for it, nurture, and develop it. Moments like the one I just outlined, I believe are in all of our lives. I’m sure one or two of you have something just as quirky as this one of mine, or are in the process of having one. Perhaps it didn’t work out as you would have liked, or it evolved into something bigger or better. Wherever you are, and whoever you are, I hope you take a second to think about my story. If you have someone as amazing in your life, or think you do, to take a moment to appreciate how you met them, what led to them popping into your life so unexpectedly, and why not having them around in some capacity would be terrible. If nothing else, it’s Christmas, so stop writing cards, baking, shopping and watching sappy movies for 5 minutes. Think of yourself, check your ego at the door, and seek out a little perspective on your life.
That, friends, is what the holidays should be about. Strip away the parties, the dinners, and religions. Let’s face it, if we were all poor, down trodden, or low on luck, it’s going to be that friend who helps you through. Yes, your family will be there, but there is something about an having that one objective person, who you know will always be in your corner, ready to throw a punch on your behalf, that is the ace up your sleeve we all could use once in a while.
To that extra-ordinary friend, miss you, love you, and I hope you’re still laughing so hard that you started crying when I said something so ridiculous, that neither of us could keep a straight face, this evening.