Thursday, August 11, 2011

"Not Talkin' 'Bout My Generation..." Being Friends with a Boomer

What's it like when one of your most trusted confidants is a 55-year old Baby Boomer, while you're a (still, somewhat) crazy Generation X'er? Totally terrific in some respects, for he has wisdom and knowledge and more life experience under his khakis with which to dispense advice and extend care. Sucky in other respects, for he is not part of the texting/techno world. In a lot of ways, we're operating on the exact same wavelength; in others, we're polar opposites. I told him that's half the fun of being friends with him. It's also, at times, frustrating.

I text him with some regularity, and am lucky to get a brief response 1/10th of the time, which I find gravely aggravating. It's not that he doesn't read my texts...he gets around to them eventually, and has said that he finds them, if nothing else, always entertaining. Texting in general, I think, annoys him, whereas it's yet another medium by which I express myself personally to my friends and family.

I texted him recently while he was on vacation, something to the effect of "I feel like I'm talking to myself." I heard nothing. He isn't chained to his cell phone like I am, and frankly, as are all of the rest of my friends. He rarely has it on, and doesn't check his messages with any frequency, and what he views as freedom and tranquility, I view as isolation and abandonment. Sometimes, I wish he'd just respond with a gentle, "Yes, I'm listening."

Purely coincidental, but my dear girlfriend Patti was just texting me about my day today, and asking me if I got to hang out with him at all and catch up, and I said we didn't have much time this week thus far. "Text him!" she texted me back. If only it were that simple. I have friends in different time zones, with conflicting schedules, doing things all over the world, with whom I text and Skype and communicate as if it were just as easy as dialing a rotary telephone.

I realize he's got a crazy, hectic, long-hours job, a family and a lot of commitments outside of our friendship, which leaves me as sort of low-woman on the priority totem pole, and I accept that, begrudgingly. But I seem to recall us coming to the conclusion recently whilst in conversation that we'd both like to become better friends and do more stuff together that we both enjoy, that other friends of ours don't, necessarily. In order for that to happen and be successful, which is the goal, we have to learn to give a little more, even if it's in very small doses. Damn it all to hell, I'm important too!

Admittedly, I'm sort of a high-maintenance pal to have in your posse. My life is laden with drama...some routine, some catastrophic, some just a pain in the ass. Other times it's rich with adventure, passion and intense awesomeness. I tend to turn to this friend most in times of heavy drama, though what I want is to include him more in the awesomeness. Because bipolar delusions of grandeur aside, I'm a very interesting person to be around. It's a guarantee that he has no one else in his life anything closely resembling me, which I hope he appreciates for it's uniqueness rather than seeing me as a daunting albatross around his already over-extended neck.

He's not old enough to be my father, but I forcefully declared him my Tatus, pronounced "Tah-toosh" a Polish term of endearment that loosely means "Yo, Big Daddy." He is like a father figure to me in a number of ways, but the more I get to know him, the more of a contemporary and peer-like he becomes. So our generation gap is muddied a bit. We have a lot of the same interests: artistically, intellectually, humorously. We're both Christians, active in our respective congregations. But I hang out with rock stars for fun. He goes blueberry picking.

All that said, I'll probably text him over the weekend about *something*. I don't expect him to respond. Those days when I feel like I'm talking to myself, I have to try and remember that it doesn't mean he loves me any less, and I don't love him any less because he doesn't respond...he just rolls differently like a lot of people his age do. Sigh...

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