Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Our house was empty this weekend. I headed from Miami to Memphis to see my newly-minted 20-year old. I got to see her lead a tour of Rhodes College and perform with her improv troupe and I enjoyed spending quality time with her (like filling her fridge and gas tank). J David, meanwhile, headed to Atlanta to watch the Olympic Marathon Trials.
What was significant about this weekend, one of many over the years that David has devoted to watching or participating in a race or running event, was not so much the what but the who. David stayed with his friend Jeff Klein, whom he met his freshman year on the Emory Cross-Country team. They only overlapped at Emory for one year, but running forged a bond that has sustained their friendship over decades. And the same is true for most of the team. Many of them convened together this weekend (Jeff’s wife, Chris, was out of town, making it a true guys’ weekend) to watch the races, run together, and just hang out.
What is most impressive – and probably only to those of us who remember life before Facebook and cell phones – is that these friendships were maintained without the ease of group chats and social media blasts. I used to mock David for sending his running buddies his split times (and being just as invested in learning about theirs) but I also admired his tenacity in keeping in touch and bonding over their shared passion. Running is what brought them together, but they continue to stay in touch and make an effort to see each other because running also forged a lifelong friendship.
I think it is really important to have the space in a marriage to do your own thing. We have a lot of mutual friends and interests, but we also have our own worlds that the other visits occasionally but is mostly fine leaving us to enjoy on our own. David will accompany me to a Scrabble tournament here and there, and doesn’t begrudge my playing in them (most of the time) but the folks I have met over the years are my Scrabble friends just as his running buddies are his. I love that he has this group of guys. I love that they still enjoy getting together, having some beers, reminiscing about old times and catching each other up on what is going on with this new phase of their lives. There is a recharging that happens when you get quality time with folks who knew the young you and still like the current you that is undeniable.
David and I will reconvene next weekend in New York City to celebrate our birthdays (his is the day before mine) and to see Hannah perform in a one act play. I can’t wait to see them both and I am also really looking forward to my foodie weekend with Noah the first weekend in April, when we are going to meet in Chicago and eat our way through the Windy City. But I am glad that David got his running – and running buddy – fix this weekend. Just know that I am generally happy for you, David, but I don’t need the specifics of the split times.