It just occurred to me one lazy Saturday afternoon; it was after my MBA class that a girl I just met invited me to watch a movie with her, only if I can find someone to tag along with us. Apparently, my newfound friend would not want to be caught going out alone with a guy. Or maybe, it was just plain and simple mistrust she has on me.
What struck me then was the five, ten, no, sixty minutes of thinking for this someone whom I can bring along with, to play the role of a lowly chaperone. And then the sudden realization—oh my, there’s scarcity of friends.
That I thought is a paradox in more ways than one. How come that as we grow older, we make lesser friends? Why is it that we cannot have the usual pre-teen and teenage friends that we can summon at a short notice, even to the point of bringing them to places not first known to them?
How things change as we grow old. What most of us have right now are plain officemates, classmates, schoolmates, friends of friends, and friends of relatives. Not really friends but simply acquaintances, or accidental kagimik.
To some people, there are characters like carpool mates, gym mates, and chat mates; playmates for the sports buffs, and bed mates for the promiscuous (also referred to as f*cking friends/ f*ck buddies). You may have your friendly neighborhood barber/ hairdresser, suking tindero/tindera, members of your church, parents of your children’s classmates, and your kids’ teachers. Then there’s manang janitor, manong guard, boy somebody, aleng Xerox, mamang taho, etc. Among these characters, only a few, oftentimes none, become true and faithful friends. Notice the use of qualifiers and the labels we attach to describe these people.
How I miss the simple life I had as a kid. Anyone can easily be friends with another. A new neighbor is eagerly welcomed in a game of patintero, a classmate is automatically a friend–and we call them by their first names, if not by their sweet, often repetitive nicknames.
Originally written in 2004 for peyups.com