Old friends, new problems

Published 8:31 pm Friday, January 30, 2009

For me, it is very hard to keep in touch with friends. My friends — fellow artists, graphic designers, photographers and such — are now spread all over the globe. And since I’m not into Facebook or MySpace or any of those other networking Web sites people use to stay in touch with loved ones, I really like to rely on those moments when we can all get together and catch up face-to-face.

Thursday was one of those rare moments when a good number of us could all converge on Virginia Beach and engage in the acts in which men often engage, all while catching up with each other’s lives.

The reason for this particular convergence was the homecoming of my friend Kirk. He has moved to London to be near his fiancé and plan their wedding. To me, Kirk — in addition to being a very talented graphic designer — is that friend who is a great companion for road trips. When he lived in the area, he and I used to leave work on Fridays and drive to New York City for the weekend. It was a nine-hour drive through the night that we often stretched to 11 hours with our frequent food, beverage, and bathroom stops. It was always so refreshing to return to work on Monday after roaming the streets of New York for a few hours.

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But anyway, the five of us that could attend began catching up on the latest highlights in our lives at a tavern in downtown Virginia Beach. The talk began as mostly “who’s-dating-whom,” “who’s getting married,” “who’s embarrassed themselves recently,” etc.

But as the night progressed, we began to discuss the hardships of trying to endure in an economy that is raising unemployment to record levels and weakening the dollar and the pound alike. My friend Kirk expressed to me that money he’d made in the UK thus far as a freelance designer is not worth what it was when he moved there, a fact that was news to me. We also found out that one of our good friends had recently lost his job and was uncertain what he would do next.

I guess after the night was done and we’d once again parted ways, I felt even closer to my buddies because I could see, face-to-face, that we were all going through similar troubles in these trying times. Whether it’s trying to save money to have a decent wedding or simply trying to stay afloat, we’re going through it together. I truly felt glad that I have them.

Value your friends and family, folks. Very soon, they may be the only things worth anything.