Sunday, January 30, 2005

An End of an Era...

It is now official. I am the last surviving original Sheepsheadian working at our call center.

Writing "our call center" seems strange and implies my desire to hold onto the past. I must move on, yet how can I when all the stories at work involve such wonderful people? In telling them, am I not just glorifying the people I adore and love?

The Sheepsheadians formed when I was a helpdesk representative. Adam and I had become friends and had gone to a Barenaked Ladies concert together. Keem and I became friends by watching The Simpsons on the break room T.V. before our shifts each day. DM and I met and became friends when we worked on the helpdesk together, sitting in the quad right next to each other all night long. The four of us started leaving work each night together to go hang out in the parking ramp, to grab food at Fridleykins, and to play the most addictive card game known to man.

Soon after the formation, there were others added to the "club". Prominent members (who may or may not have played cards with us but were considered honorary members) included: Matt, Scott, Jim, and the Single Mother who Hates Me (SM). One by one, the members of the club left our call center.

Not after too long, it was back to Keem, DM, Adam, and I as the surviving members (dang you Matt!). Then...

At the end of September, Keem and DM both abandoned me completely from our call center. No more would I walk in on a sunny afternoon to see them there, spreading smiles.

Friday marked the end of my being able to refer to it as "our" call center. Now I am just going to sound like I have multiple personalities. Adam has moved on as well, leaving me at "our" call center alone. I am the only one who still knows about spending five hours in the parking ramp in downtown St. Paul after work, listening to songs from the radio, singing, dancing, and laughing. I am the only one in "our" center who still has the urge to drive to Fridleykins at the end of my shift EVERY night, knowing that Stuart (a former server) would be waiting with our sodas and plenty of napkins.

Yes, the other Sheepsheadians still remember, it's just they are not there, making my eight hours feel like "Playtime!" It's been almost three years since the four original Sheepsheadians went to Fridleykins every night, but part of me still longs for it. I long for the company, the stories, and the feelings. I am speaking about the feelings of knowing these are the people who you were supposed to meet and call friends.

Many times in our lives, we create friendships based on convenience. I think back to high school. I still talk to one person from high school, my best friend, Liese. We don't even talk all that often. If I look at my yearbooks, they are filled with autographs that end, "Best Friends 4-Ever!" What a lie. And it's not an intentional lie, it doesn't hurt, it's just still not true. When we are children, we tend to form friendships with people because they live next door or they are in the same class as we are. Friendships of children do not typically form because the children share the same interests. Some of the interests may be the same, yes, but the children only know what they are exposed to. There is not as much self-discovery. I know that when I was a kid, I didn't think, "Hey, this person has some of the same beliefs about life as I do and they can understand my thoughts about [insert topic]." In no way am I stating that I only look for those who are exactly like myself, I am stating that I try to find human beings that I can have meaningful conversations with over cups of coffee or gallons of Coke.

I have a strong core group of friends whom I would do almost* everything to help them. DM, Keem, Matt and Scott are primary members of this core. Adam is too, even though I sometimes I want to scream at him. They all go beyond the causal friend to being the people I want to see happy in life. I see this core group as my support group, my lifeline, and I think they are a reflection of myself. I see similar dreams and goals and hopes and beliefs in these people. I wish each of them the best in their lives and I want to be there, cheering them along each step of the way.

So even if the Sheepsheadians no longer work together, the club is still strong. We just don't meet as often.


* I do draw the line at murder or intentionally hurting others in spite. The whole drawing the line at murder does not come from not wanting to kill people (which I don't, but it's a minimal reason), it comes from the fact I know we'd get caught and if we're both in prison, I couldn't visit them. So I would not be an accomplice because then I couldn't keep my friend company while they do prison time.


At 7:47 PM, Wandering Coyote thought...

Alas, another example of the transience of life. I know how you feel and have had similar experiences. I'm glad your bonds of friendship are strong; that is a true blessing.

You're right about most friendships being born out of convenience. The trick is always to continue the friendship once the convenience no longer exists. It sounds like you and your "club" have the will to do this. Excellent.

At 10:35 PM, CarpeDM thought...

I miss seeing you for those 3 hours a week. I miss hanging out in the parking lot and having a blast. I miss going to Perkins each night.

Life throws many curves into the mix. I'm glad that you're still part of my core group.

Love ya!