Wednesday, 4 July 2012

You get mistaken for strangers by your own friends

When we were little, our mom read us a book by Helme Heine called Freunde ( 'friends' in German). It is the tiniest, thinnest little book but it has captured the essence of what friendship is supposed to be better than any literary doorstop. It is about three friends: Franz von Hahn ('Franz von Rooster', von Cock somehow sounds too dirty for a children's book), Johnny Mauser ('Maus' is a Mouse in German) and der dicke Waldemar ( 'the fat Waldemar', he is the rotund pig).

Here they are:

In the book, they spend all their time together, but when they decide to sleep over, it turns out that the mouse's hole is too small, the pig's barn is too smelly and the rooster's perch cannot hold their combined weight. But although each one then spends the night in their own bed, they meet in their dreams, "because real friends dream about one another". 

I like the idea of not having to be bound at the hip to be good friends. Some of mine are closer than others (in distance, not in the way I appreciate them), but every one brings something different to a friendship. Friends are like a deck of cards : not every card is suited to every hand you play, but you need the whole deck to play a game. I know my simile is not the most complete since one could argue that some cards are never used and that the Joker is often ignored, but I still feel that every person contributes/contributed to the way each individual sees the world. 

Often, we lose sight of one another, or we go on different paths and only communicate by sending the occasional sms/BBM/WhatsApp message. We might even only spy on each other via social networking sites and stalk old friends through Facebook updates. On the one hand, it has enabled us to stay in touch and to be aware what is going on in other's lives without putting too much effort in it. But it has also made us impersonal: I should not know what is going on in your life without you wanting to tell me, without us actually communicating. Or is this the way friendship is going? Twitter updates and @friend statuses? 

I don't know. I'd rather be Waldemar and have my behind be used to stuff the hole in the boat so that the Freunde can go fishing in the pond together than to spend all my time with my electronics.   

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