Maybe it's just me, but it seems harder to maintain friendships in this age of cellphones, instant messaging, email, and short attention spans. It's strange, because I can communicate more easily with my far-flung friends than ever before, and yet I think because everyone's over-stimulated and over-extended it's harder to put in the time it takes to maintain anything more than superficial friendships.
Most of my closest and most cherished friends have vanished from my life. I had one friend who used to correspond with me daily by email; we were best buddies...she and her husband flew over from England to celebrate my 40th birthday with me, and I went over to visit them. But gradually she drifted away and stopped anwering my emails and I haven't heard from her in over a year. Another friend and I were close for 25 years but she never answers my emails anymore. (Most of my closest friends are women.) One friend told me earlier this year that she planned to call me every Friday morning to chat before work; she managed to call twice but now I just get an occasional email from her.
Like I said, maybe it's just me, but I think this is a wider problem and I think it has to do with the fragmented lives we live...so often when I'd be talking to a friend on the phone they'd cut me off to respond to a text message on their cellphone, or they'd be reading their email or surfing the internet while we talk. To me, a true friend deserves undivided attention. But nobody seems to feel that way anymore, and nobody (in my life anyway) seems to have the time to maintain a real friendship. It's sad.
What you wrote reminds me of myself. In fact, I was also reminded of a poem a friend of mine emailed me a while back. This particular friend now lives in Hawaii after living in Arkansas his entire life, which is where I am still. I know I am in need of widening my social circle, but after I get off of work, I feel so tired that the interest isn't there.
Anyway, here is that poem I mentioned. I don't know who wrote it, but here it is:
Around the corner I have a friend,
In this great city that has no end,
Yet the days go by and weeks rush on,
And before I know it, a year is gone.
And I never see my old friend's face,
For life is a swift and terrible race,
He knows I like him just as well,
As in the days when I rang his bell.
And he rang mine.
If, we were younger then,
And now we are busy, tired men.
Tired of playing a foolish game,
Tired of trying to make a name.
"Tomorrow" I say, "I will call on Jim."
"Just to show that I'm thinking of him."
But tomorrow comes and tomorrow goes,
And distance between us grows and grows.
Around the corner! - Yet miles away,
"Here's a telegram sir."
"Jim died today."
And that's what we get and deserve in the end.
Around the corner, a vanished friend.