A Little Help From My Friends

Nothing says friendship like holding hands and standing under bridges.
Nothing says, “friendship,” quite like holding hands and standing under bridges.

I just finished reading the book, Lathe of Heaven– which I highly recommend to anyone who enjoys thoughtful, semi-realistic science fiction. The culmination of this book referenced the Beatles’ song, “With A Little Help From My Friends,” eventually allowing the character to succeed by doing just that- getting some help from their friends (I don’t think I’ve given too much away here. It’s a great book, you’ll love reading it).

The mantra of getting by with help from your friends has rung so true for me lately, specifically with car situations. Elisabeth, my roomate Lauren and I went out today to St. John’s Catherdral park for an afternoon of casual and inquisitive photography. Eventually we had to leave and hopped back into Elisabeth’s car, and just as we were crossing the St. John’s bridge, something happened. We still don’t know what, but it was something really not good.

We suddenly found ourselves unable to accelerate past 20mph, chugging along the 405-N freeway. We flicked on her flashers and plugged doggedly onward until we finally (7 miles later) landed at Jean’s house, and retrieved my car. This is where friendship jumps in to play a winning role- Jean told Elisabeth to park her car in her driveway as long as she needed (keeping it out of danger from being towed or ticketed) and my car was waiting there, so I was able to give Elisabeth a ride back home and not leave her stranded in Portland indefinitely0 but not before buying her a drink at Rontoms and sharing the crazy story of our afternoon with a friendly bartender (thanks Bret!).

It got me thinking about how important having friends you can rely on is. Friends that care how your day is going, friends that want to cheer you up when smething bad happens. Acquaintences and casual friends are interested in keeping company with you, but they’re not the ones who will stick their necks out for you, or go out of their way to help you when you’re struggling. Those are the kinds of friendships that you nuture and cherish, because if they aren’t looking out for you, who will? I have the tendency to want to be best friends with everyone, but that just isn’t realistic (or possible, really). What I’ve learned is that you need to find those friends you resonate with, those friends that enjoy your company and person as much as you enjoy theirs, and stick with it. Be friends with as many people as you want, but be sure to invest the majority of your energy enjoying those select few people. Those are the ones that will drive across the river to help you find your car when you can’t remember where you parked it. Those are the friends that will lend you a few hundred dollars to get your car repaired when you’re between paychecks. Those are the friends that will drive you the half-hour outside of town so you can get home OK and those are the kinds of friends that care if you don’t like how your latest crush treated you or that you’re really excited about your new haircut. You need those people and they need you.

Namaste.

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