As we set out on this month’s adventure, we were a little apprehensive about just how adventurous our expedition would be. We had plans to visit a waterfall, but we were getting a late start and it was pretty far away for an almost-empty tank of gas. Instead, we decided to explore the river area nearby, which turned out to be much less exciting than we’d hoped, although still beautiful. At one point we attempted to wade to an island in the middle of the river for a picnic. However, with each cold, barefooted step with babies and bags strapped to us, that the island looked increasingly more distant, hot, and rocky; we agreed to turn back.
After walking aimlessly in various directions, we finally tried trespassing through someone’s backyard in the direction of some shade, and found a nice spot by the river to set out our lunches. We ate with only a few tears and a bit of uncontrollable laughter, then prepared to head back home, ready to admit adventurous defeat — and that was when the real adventure began.
The adventure of an 18-year friendship is certainly one of the most educational, stimulating, emotionally tiresome, and rewarding journeys. Over Drie and I’s relationship there have been numerous trials that have allowed us the face the real shit, squash it, and continue on stronger, as companions and individuals.
In junior high Drie and I had a rather heated fight concerning the size of a black bear. While we were riding our bikes, a semi truck passed us that featured on its side a huge photo of a bear laying on a bed. I said that the bear would have broken the bed, because bears weigh at least 1000 lbs. Drie scoffed at my idiocy, claiming that black bears weigh no more than 300 lbs. We were so irritated by each other’s inability to accept our own claims that we both rode back to our homes alone. At school the next day, the encyclopedia settled matters for us. Black bears generally weigh between 300 and 600 lbs. Google now settles many similar arguments for us before we get too riled up, thank the lord.
In high school I began experimenting with marijuana and psychedelic mushrooms, and at first I was fine with Drie’s decision to remain straight-edge. But then I began getting uncomfortable with her sobriety in the middle of my paranoid trips. My new favorite topic to explore was reality and the effects of drugs, but she couldn’t contribute to the conversation, so I tried to guilt-trip her into trying weed. She refused, therefore I told her that we had to break it off. We weren’t friends for three years. It wasn’t easy going from seeing each other 365 days out of the year to avoiding eye contact in a high school of 400 kids. Yet, by graduation I had enough humbling trips to realize how sucky of a friend I’d been, and we started back where we’d left off.
There have been a couple other major fights in the midst of knowing each other, but it had been several years since our last one. Our uneventful adventure-day broke the drought. I was about to lose my first and only dog to some unknown swollen-belly disease, and Drie was in denial that he could die at only 8 years-old. He was there to witness much of the growth, partying and broken hearts of our 20s, and neither of us were emotionally prepared to let our quiet parter-in-crime leave us so soon — but Drie and I handle our emotions differently, which is hard to remember with death on the horizon. I get a fierce need to debate philosophical beliefs of justice, and Drie goes to a place of anxious positivity, both methods that allow us to escape the reality of things, but aren’t exactly related, nor enjoyable to combine together. I wanted to complain about disease, conventional treatments, and talk about the end of Hank, my dog, but Drie wanted me to shut up and not admit defeat. Our brief 4-minute argument of burning tears and racing hearts ended with Drie walking home while I was left to fold up the excruciatingly heavy picnic blanket all alone (which was really just the size & weight of a twin sheet, but how could she?!). We didn’t speak for a week.
I think what helped pull us out of those river-side grudges was that we both realized that 1) my dog wasn’t going to have a just nor positive end, and 2) that we needed to swallow our pride and allow one another to process life in different ways. In some relationships you simply need to go through the unreasonable blinded fits to remind both parties what it takes to continue on, and step it up. Not only do you need to allow room for different beliefs and ways of communicating, but you also need to be able to change the ways in which you suck at being a friend.
No one wants to face their sucky, prideful self, but sometimes you find yourself on an uneventful adventure and things start getting rocky, and you don’t want to admit it, but you chose the wrong path… and you decide that you’ll continue the adventure, but somewhere a little more rad.