Steve was my neighbor in a previous life. I had just bought the first house I’d ever own, a fixer upper in downtown Royal Oak. I was young, dumb, full of… er, gusto? And I was entering a marriage I would begin to regret in just another year or two. As with all new neighbors, you race right into awkwardness, our first hang being at my house with both of our (now ex) wives. 12 years later and he’s been my friend through a major life surgery, a divorce, multiple jobs, multiple moves, marriage to my now wife (he was one of 4 groomsmen), and 2 kids. I vividly remember trying to scrounge the fridge that first night we met because I didn’t plan ahead and grab beer. What a fucking rookie.

I was immediately drawn into a friendship with Steve, he was laid back, he liked to chill in the back yard and have a few beers, he spoke with intention and thoughtfulness, did I mention he was in a fucking band! So, as we sat next to each other in my house this past weekend, 12 years later, I’m wondering why, every time I see him, do we have to spend the first half hour of each hang reconnecting?

The terrorists have won.

1Let’s clear up this “most connected society ever” nonsense. There are 2 types of connectedness.

  1. We are all plugged into a shared network (and it’s awesome).
  2. But we’re not really connected. I would argue that seeing Steve’s posts on IG (which he rarely does anyway) or his comments on mine is a false sense of connectedness and it actually hinders the way that we really connect as human beings.

We see each other’s (heavily edited) lives on FB and IG, and it gives us this sense that we are staying in touch and actually keeping up with each other’s lives. Being connected with someone or something takes an investment in time and energy. It takes an investment of self to be close, to listen, to digest, and to really see those people. That is true connection. We share a connected network, but we do not share a deeper connection as a society because of it.

Steve and I live in different cities now, farther than we’ve lived since we first became friends. It’s hard to stay close to people when life gets in the way, but he did whip my ass at ping pong that this past weekend. A good ping pong game is at least 3 or 4 hang outs worth of connection.