A few months ago I met up with an old friend, Bruce, after a few years without any contact. I kind of knew where he was, somewhere near Birmingham, but didn’t have a telephone number or email address. I just didn’t get around to making contact. You know how it is. Anyway I rediscovered him from one of those friends of friends networking sites. It compared my, much out of date, address book with its own network, and as if by magic, there was his email address.
A quick exchange of emails, and a week later I’m arriving at his house at the end of a business trip (conveniently near B’ham airport for my flight home the next day). I was somewhat apprehensive about how we would get on after such a long time. You never know what it’s going to be like. We were good friends at school but that was err… some time ago.
What a nonce I am! There I was fingering my (metaphorical) worry beads and nursing my crappy little insecurities. In fact, my biggest concern was that Bruce would be an uncompromising unreconstructed student Marxist and CND type and that this would cruelly expose my own shift to middle class namby pamby Blairite liberal. Like that would be the worst thing that could happen.
In fact, right from the beginning we just talked like mates. Of course it didn’t do any harm that we are both now married with kids and dealing with regular thirtysomething type issues - but even so we ‘clicked’ without even thinking about it. Even better, he was just as vaccilating and confused about Iraq as I - it's obviously a fuck up, but Saddam was a dangerous mad bastard (with or without WMD).
Around 2am, we got discussing what a relief it was that we’d talked for hours and hardly mentioned the past. An early resort to nostalgia would have been the first indication that we had little to say to each other here and now – and that wouldn't be much of a basis for a friendship.
Inevitably we then spent at least another hour reminiscing – but that’s ok too. I finally went to bed just in time to get up for my flight (or so it seemed). I got home around midday, exhausted, hung over, but refreshed too.