Despite how you perceive me here, I actually do have friends in the real world. Don’t laugh, I do. We all have many different kinds of friends though. We have friends from school, friends from work, and friends in our neighborhoods or apartment buildings. We also have what I like to think of as “momentary friends.” These are people who may enter our lives for only a moment every day or once a week, but in many ways are as important to us as are the friends for whom we profess love and longing.
It could be the cashier at the supermarket you always go to because she has a nice smile and makes small talk about the weather. The security guard outside your office who holds open the door as you leave each day. Maybe it’s even a Facebook friend who was never more than an acquaintance years ago, but who always clicks “Like” to your status updates. The girl at Supercuts who cuts your hair and asks about your plans for the weekend. The guy who says hello as he passes you on his nightly walk down your street. Or perhaps the blogger who updates almost daily with a heartwarming story or amusing anecdote. We all have about a hundred of these people in our lives and for me I enjoy their momentary friendship immensely. I think we all do. As much as family or friends whom we know by name, these people also provide us with a sense of security. Often, more than “real” family or friends our “momentary friends” are dependable. They’re always there for us with that smile and hello, or perhaps only a knowing nod. Day in and day out, sometimes for years these nameless people are part of our lives and I miss them and worry about what happened to them when they don’t show up in my daily routine.
The fun for me is providing them with names and stories. I like to imagine who they are outside of that moment in time when our paths cross. How and why did they come to be part of my life every day? The best part though is naming them.
Some of the names we give these people are flattering and some are not. No matter where any of you live, I think you’ve all met my friend, “Man with bad toupee.” Then of course in every neighborhood we all know “Woman with enormous ass who’s always bending over doing yard work.” “Girl walking dog” always seems so nice. You have no idea where she lives, but she appears around the corner every evening at the same time. One person I hate, but would somehow miss if he/she were gone is “Silver Pontiac Jerk.” (In all honesty I use a different word than ‘jerk’ in my head) This jerk parks his/her silver Pontiac in my street every day, completely blocking off traffic on that side of the street. As infuriating as this is to me, if they moved away I’d miss the little adrenalin rush I get as I curse them while I sit behind their parked car waiting for traffic to pass so I can get by. It’s only perhaps a 10 second inconvenience about 5 times a week, but that adds up to 50 seconds per week, 3 minutes and 20 seconds per month, or 40 minutes per year. That may not seem like much, but since I plan to live in my current house for the rest of my life, over the next 36 years Silver Pontiac Jerk will have wasted the equivalent of a full day of my life.
I also secretly like to imagine that just perhaps, once or twice maybe my momentary friends and I have saved each others lives without even knowing it. Perhaps our 3 second interaction slowed one of us up just enough in our daily routine that we missed stepping off the curb in front of a speeding bus later in the day. So, for saving my life and brightening my days this post is dedicated to my favorite momentary friends: Supermarket cashier who likes basketball, Indian Girl at Starbucks, Walking Man, Girl with dog, and Security Guard. Without these people and their momentary friendship my day would be incomplete. I could probably do without Silver Pontiac Jerk though.
If you like my nonsense want to be my momentary friend you can follow me on Twitter @ThePhilFactor and subscribe to The Phil Factor on your Amazon Kindle. Also clicking the Facebook like button will make you my momentary friend and quite possibly save your life later in the day.