Drinks with Alpha the other night . . .fun. As always.
It started as it typically does. The (first) round of drinks. Too soon for appetizers. Settling in. A rush of work and life stuff. Typically stuff that has him in knots. He keeps a lot of plates spinning. He’s an army of one. He works harder than anyone I know, for everyone around him. When others slack off, it makes him nuts.
Often it’s the cable guy making him nuts.
At one point, after a bit of time had passed and drinks were replenished . . . he paused and smiled.
“There it is.” he stated and leaned back.
I wasn’t sure at all, what he was talking about.
“The moment.” He said. “It always happens. I can actually feel the moment when the stress has evaporated. A conversation with you, a few rounds of Guinness, laughing out loud. . . . I can actually point to the moment when it all shifts. It’s amazing.”
He’s a big, physical guy. He’s bigger than most people. He looks like he could pick up a Volkswagen and toss it aside. He’s a big, physical dude. He carries his stress very visibly. After a few years, I know what to look for. He has a jaw like an anvil. If he’s having a bad day, his entire head looks like something from a Transformer movie.
He’s right (as he is about most things). There’s a moment when you’re out with a close friend. You talk about a hundred things. Repeat stories you’ve told. Rant about life. Talk about the kids. You order another round. You lean back and get lost in the din of the bar. . . .and every time, with the right person, there comes a moment when you are reminded of why you are friends.
Of the bond. Of the connection.
There truly is a point when the dynamic shifts and you click. You can almost hear it. I know you can feel it.
And with that click, you can feel yourself relax a bit more. You’re reconnected at a deeper level. You begin to share a story, or a worry, that hadn’t dawned on you an hour ago, but it’s now central to a conversation.
It’s true . . . low lighting and too much to drink can make anyone look awesome, and sound brilliant, in a bar late at night. Or so they say. But that’s not what this is.
This is the to’ing and fro’ing between friends. The time it takes to fall into a familiar rhythm.
Ritual is perhaps too structured a suggestion. But there’s an easing into this . . . . and the moment often catches you by surprise.
It’s a bit like emptying a room of clutter. At the beginning, you’ll not sure what it will take to bring about the feeling of calm in a chaotic space. It takes time to move things out of the way. To make a path. To feel progress. And after a bit of work . . . you look around and you’ve done it. You’re there.
To be “there” with a good friend, with the stupid clutter of life out of the way is awesome.
Sometimes you can spend an hour (or more), on the stupid, cluttery stuff. Sometimes that’s all you need. Sometimes that’s the best part of a cup of coffee or glass of wine with a friend. Clearing the mental clutter.
When you take the time needed, when you can deeply feel the calm amid the chaos, it’s awesome.