a real friend

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[caption id="attachment_1451" align="alignleft" width="305" caption="he also looks really good with a wig and fake mustache"]
I am lucky. I have a lot of great friends. People who care about me. People who I care about. Due to my rather nomadic lifestyle, those friends live all over the place and today I want to point out the one friend who’s been around the longest and whose commitment to our friendship continues to amaze me. Sebastian. Sebastian and I grew up as neighbors in Plettenberg. Our mums worked together as nurses in a hospital and we spent our free time playing soccer – both on the field and on my Amiga 500. That’s all we did. Play soccer. We never were best friends but always were connected via our passion for soccer. When I turned 16, I moved to America. Sebastian began working in the biggest factory in my town, where to this day he maintains the machines and tools workers need to produce car supplies. Naturally, we still don’t have that much in common. Sebastian works in a factory in a town of 30,000. I work in advertising in Los Angeles, a city of millions. But thanks to Sebastian our friendship never missed a beat. And it really has been all because of him. He sends me birthday and christmas gifts. Once a month he walks down the street to visit my parents. Heck, the guy even sends care packages to friends of mine who’ve visited Plettenberg. Whenever I am in Europe (or anyone is in Europe), Sebastian becomes the tour guide and proudly showcases everything that our town has to offer. Every few years, Sebastian takes his annual vacation to come and visit me. He’s crashed on my couched and slept on my floor (albeit it being a floor in the girl’s dormitory that I used to work in). This year, Sebastian was planning to come and visit me. It was the highlight of his year. But due to the current economy, the state of the car industry and the fact that his factory is significantly reducing everybody’s work hours and work pay; he can’t. Today Sebastian reached out to me to tell me that he couldn’t make the trip. And he felt very bad about such. He felt bad for me, like he somehow has let me down. That is just nuts. The world is moving so fast these days, and while I do consider myself to be a good person, I don’t take nearly enough time to cultivate my friendships and to think of other people’s lives. I am constantly running from meeting to meeting, from social network to social network and project to project. Sebastian doesn’t. He works very hard, mind you. But to him friendships aren’t about having a couple of hundred friends on Facebook. They aren’t about following people on Twitter. To Sebastian, a friendship means sending people physical cards and presents on special occasions, checking in with people’s parents who we spent our childhoods around and thinking about others and not just himself. At some point, we’re going to have to wake up and realize that we need more Sebastians and fewer Marios. Or maybe it’s just me.[/caption]

1 Comment

  1. Anonymous April 27, 2009 at 1:07 am

    Well said! So sorry Sebastian couldn’t make it. I still owe that guy a trip to the Lewis & Clark Caverns and to a brewery or two from when he took me around when I was visiting your parents.