Tuesday, January 31, 2006

There's a little something I like to call the comfort conversation.

It's akin to comfort food...but more like macaroni & cheese or lasagne than like ice cream or candy...it's the warm fuzzy kind of comfort that makes you feel safe and secure.

Yesterday, I got to have one of those conversations, and it reminded me again that I am blessed in so many ways, particularly in the way of friends and family.

In order to fully comprehend the comfort conversation, you have to know about the conversation that preceded it. I called a friend who lives on the East Coast. She's recovering from surgery. Since she's exhausted, and I'm better on e-mail, the fifteen minute conversation was kind of stilted and awkward. Still, she and I were both glad that we had talked...but it wasn't a comfort conversation.

I hung up and returned a call from my friend who had asked me to "call me back when you get a chance," but by the tone in his voice, I knew it actually meant, "Okay, so something weird happened to me, call me ASAP." I called. I asked what was wrong. He recounted the story of an overweight drag queen who kept following him and some of his friends around San Francisco. Now, the actual story is much less entertaining than that one line of description, but his retelling of it was just so...so...SEAN. I can't describe it any other way, and it was a great comfort to hear my friend just be my friend and to recognize the fourteen year old boy that I first met in high school in this twenty-five year old guy on the phone.

The other type of comfort conversation that requires much more than a thirty-minute conversation on a cell phone is the one that traverses the same paths over and over again. Talks about old teachers, talks about former classmates, telling over and over again the dreams for our lives and how we're somewhat confused. This other incarnation of the comfort conversation is very specific and must always follow a prescribed path. These conversations begin with a bit of catching up but always end with an hour or so of the same conversation. Almost the EXACT same conversation.

What both of these versions do, though, is remind me that the person I was in the past still exists somewhere, that someone (other than my relatives) knew me 11 years ago. I look forward to my next serving of comfort conversation. A shared past is a great safety net when faced with an uncertain future.

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