Dave has a best friend. Let’s call him Matty since that is his real name.
They go way back to the time when they had some job parking cars together at the winter fair (whatever that means) and they bonded over jokes at the expense of their boss. Their friendship grew into a very rich relationship during which they slept head-to-foot in a single bed and wrestled each other to the point of actual physical injury in the name of fun. And that’s how best friends are made.
In the above photo Matty is sporting a pretty amazing gold chain and Dave still had all his original teeth. Those were the days.
Dave’s friends from home are really important to him. And his relationship with Matt is his biggest priority. But yet sometimes, I just don’t get it. I don’t get the logistics of the male-best-friend scenario.
My best friend, Jess, is basically like another version of me but with ideas I could never think of and better hair. When we talk it’s an endless string of chatter about this then that then something totally unrelated then back to the original thing. And we talk…a lot. We e-mail chains of conversations back and forth for days about baby names or recent medical discoveries or Etsy purchases. If I don’t hear from her for a week, I get all ‘WHERE IS SHE WHAT IS HAPPENING SEND OUT THE BAT SIGNAL!’
Dave and Matt don’t cherish communication quite as highly. Or maybe they are just WAY more efficient. They e-mail maybe a handful of times while we are away during the season. They chat once or twice on the phone, often at a time that has one person sitting 10 beers deep in one time zone while the other person was rudely awakened in their time zone.
For most of the past decade while I eavesdropped errrrrrrrrrrrrr what? overheard casually parts of their conversations it was mostly about hockey (how is your team doing Dave? how is ‘Dub Dub’ Matt?) or another sport (something something Grey Cup, blah blah Tiger Woods) or a few tidbits of the most boring gossip from their hometown (so and so has lost it, so and so had a baby, so and so did such and such) or perhaps a brief moment where they both talk about their innermost hopes and dreams (the Jets returning to Winnipeg, dream fulfilled!). This short call is often punctuated with some profanity and a little friendly name-calling.
But these days, times have changed. Instead of forwarding each other e-mails with dirty jokes they are exchanging photos of their two beautiful daughters. Instead of wasting time on the somewhat ceremonial name-calling, they say some pretty awesome, lovely things about how they feel about parenting and fatherhood. Dave gives Matt tips on new music and Matt gives Dave ideas for his next shootout. They talk about their mutual friends, they ask about each other’s mothers.
And when Dave called Matt to check in over the holidays I was NOT eavesdropping but heard a conversation that sounded almost nothing like the two boys I once knew and a lot like two men with a really great friendship. Asking about family and talking about health scares and catching up on the milestones of their girls. Talking about plans for a vacation together, WITH our families, and looking forward to when they can teach their daughters to golf. Also, they did still talk about hockey and the Jets a fair bit.
All those years they stayed close over small talk and sporadic contact and my excessively needy self couldn’t understand how a friendship is sustained like that. And yet there they were, two men having an adult conversation.
And here they are two men holding beers, pushing strollers.