Sunday, December 12, 2010

Keeping Faith, Keeping Contact

It's a cold, rainy Sunday morning here. Icing conditions were predicted, because the jet stream has dipped down and brought arctic Canadian air all week. I heard a sanding truck drive down the street early this morning.

I was concerned about driving conditions because I had agreed to have breakfast with two friends, one of whom had left the company about eight months ago. We've sent messages back and forth on Facebook, but there's been no face to face contact since he departed. I was looking forward to the meeting. I hoped the weather wouldn't interfere.

I was relieved to find warm conditions and rain when I went out to get the paper. The ice line was north of us.

Breakfast was great fun for me. The two young men aren't too far in age from my oldest daughter. It's more likely that they'd come by to chat her up and ask for a date than to spend time with her father. I'm flattered that they'd want to.

We fell into a little work talk to catch up, but not too much. We talked about working life, women, car problems, and strength training. I've had a great swimming year - my best ever; more about that in a later entry - but I've neglected strength training all my life. My flexibility problems are less critical now that I've made yoga a regular feature of my week. I'm thinking that a good objective for 2011 would be to work something into my routine to help improve strength and retain muscle mass. These two guys are perfect sources of information. I was glad to be able to ask questions and soak in their knowledge.

I've accumulated a long list of people that I like very much after hopping between jobs as often as I have over the last fifteen years. The problem is that they leave my life once we lose the shared context of work.

It seems to me that regular, face to face contact is the only anecdote there is for this malady. Technology won't do: all the cell phones, e-mail, instant messaging, chat, and Facebook applications you can think of can never fill the void.

Breakfast is the perfect way to sort this out.

It's a meal that's unobtrusive: early in the day is transparent to my wife. It takes at least an hour to order and consume, so you have time to sit and chat. It's inexpensive - we met at a diner and had simple breakfast food with coffee. I met the man who is the best friend I have early in my engineering career. Since I've switched to software development we've made it a point to get together for breakfast once a month before work. We get to catch up, discuss our favorite topics, and make it to work without a hitch. I wouldn't miss these get-togethers.

I enjoyed the conversation so much. This morning's meal was a reminder that I should expand its reach. I need to make sure that all these terrific folks I've met don't diffuse out of my life.

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