In early March, I looked at a baseball schedule, circled a game, and called up a college friend. Two months later, we made good on our connection and spent a day together at his house in Cincy. The night before, I went to bed struggling with a sinus infection. I doped up on Benadryl and Mucinex to hopefully still make it. I woke up OK enough for beer, baseball and talk. Two hours after kissing my wife goodbye, I was walking through my friend's house. Sometimes a single day is enough with a friend (yes, this is a Mitch Albom type post).
My friend Pat and I spent about 10 hours straight talking and catching up. It's great to also now have us both have money in our pockets and not be small budget college kids. I have told him every beer I bought him was an advanced retainer payment for future legal services. Who knows when I will need them? He very obviously is living a bachelor's life with a folding card table as his dining room table and lots of sports decorations up. In about 10 hours, we went through pretty much a year's worth of life, discussing our respective near futures, and questions over what the hell happened to some of our classmates.
Pat finally has a steady relationship with a seemingly nice girl. Pat was a genius History major who got his heart broke by a tramp and then decided to become a 'monk' at school. He concentrated solely on getting to Harvard Law School, drank in moderation and avoided entangling relationships. He got to Harvard Law but spent the last two years at Cornell alone. I met Pat through weekend football; he was a 6 foot 3 tennis team captain, which translated to security blanket for passing plays. I called him "my Jay Novacek". I met him during his big break up, and befriended him through our final two years. At graduation, I would not consider him one of my closest 3 friends. He was one of the few who kept in good touch, and with a few more years behind us, he's one of the nicest, and most honest friends I have. Maybe he's just a good Midwestern kid. I laugh at Internet forums and comment boards that talk about Ivy League schools that churn out vipers who prey on society. Yeah, I knew maybe 20 people like that out of several thousand. Pat fits the profile as a legacy, tennis playing, straight, white male, but the phrase I'd use to describe him is "sometimes too nice for his own good".
Another thing that is odd, is that as he kept in touch with me, he's been one of the two college friends who has known my wife. I remember thinking if I had a big wedding, I'd have two college friends in the wedding. The two who have met her were not either of those two. When I brought my then fiancee down to a freezing cold Boston, so someone could vouch for her true existence, he told me about how he wasn't going to work for a big NYC law firm but chose to go back home to Ohio to work for XYZ firm. I got up, walked over, and shook his hand because I knew the firm as they were a prospective customer of my company and I knew of their standing in Ohio. He had this look of surprise and a big smile as finally someone knew the presitge of the firm and respected his choice to be close to home. "Yer wicked smart, and ya goin' home". He made the choice of going back home for less bank over making a quick $1 mil in a few years, yet people looked at him funny for that.
We spent 3 hours at a game, spotting "Cincinnati hot" ladies and talking. Cincy has a beautiful park, and for 3 hours I did not hear anyone say anything about the great recession. Pure escape. Many times he'd get me laughing, which hurt as each guffaw made my sinus cavity ache. We calculated how much money the entire row spent on food & beer, estimated the size of a child's bladder (4 bathroom trips-one soda), and set the odds on an arrest in the bachelor party behind us. A huge difference between Pat now and Pat then is sense of place. Pat was so driven in college for a goal, that when he reached it, he had to start over. When he was an undergrad, he was so focused that he was more just "wicked smart guy" than a rounded out personality. I am a character that has toned down a wee bit, while he is the block of steel gradually being carved into a sphere. I kind of feel cheated that he put the admission to Harvard ahead of being as much of a degenerate as my other friends. Maybe that's the reason he's the one who still emails.