JP: What is your philosophy on friendships between men?
John Crawford: The characters in “The Pine Barrens at Night” face a tough question: What do you do when your friend becomes, to put it frankly, a pain in the ass? Do you stick with him no matter what? How far does loyalty take you? It’s a painful dilemma that’s fueled countless gangster and cowboy movies.
True friends are not easily replaced, especially if you’ve known them for many years. If you forged your friendships in cafeterias and classrooms, bus stops and schoolyards, these are men who knew you when you were nothing, just a boy trying to find your way. You grew up together, became men together. You can’t bullshit a man like that.
I feel fortunate to have many old friends in my life. Our relationships are real and honest. When I’m with a long-time friend, we don’t even need to say much. Often, just being in each other’s company is enough. When we belly up to a bar, our shared history is there, surrounding and enveloping us.
Unfortunately, I don’t see my old friends as much I’d like. We don’t even call or email as much as we should. This bothers me, but what can you do? Life gets in the way. Wives and kids take priority, as they should, and my friends are far away, scattered around the country.
I miss them. I wish I had someone to hang out with once in a while, catch a ballgame or a movie with. Honestly, I don’t know if I’ll make another great friend again. How does one go about it? Do you ask a man out on a “date?” Building a tight friendship takes time, and after many a workday, all I want is to go home and ease out the evening.
So many nights, after my wife and daughter fall asleep, I find myself alone in my living room, the radio on, my laptop flipped open. I might think of old friends and the good times we shared, back at the bars and the movies, and long ago in classrooms and schoolyards.
Follow John on Twitter @crawfordwriter