“I wish I had friends like that,” is what most people have said lately. As I blogged a couple weeks ago, Austin and I are in a transition period. While we spent almost five days apart last week and Austin now has his own phone, there is still not one detail of the other’s life that one of us doesn’t know all about or can’t fully explain. I say this because recently we have had a lot of catching up to do with friends and we end up throwing in story tidbits for each other and finishing each other’s sentences. It’s a lot like marriage, because that’s what marriage is all about: finishing each other’s sentences, correcting wrong facts in conversation resulting in frustrated disagreements on the brink of anger explosions, and continually putting your arm around newlyweds and welcoming them to “the club.” Not to mention the wealth of new comedy material if you’re a pastor. Recently I’ve been telling stories about my dates (with a girl) last week and Austin has gotten so good at chiming in while I tell the stories that he has started telling parts of the story that I don’t even know. Britt (the girl who let me take her out) happens to be close friends with Austin’s sisters, who have let Austin in on some juicy background anecdotes and he’s slowly unfurling them to me, like a roll of bubble tape. So whenever I tell the story and Austin chimes in I quickly shut up, give him the floor, and smile in advance because, for some strange reason, his tidbits always make me happy. Did I mention that the dates went really well? I seem to be losing track here…The reason people have been jealous of my friends lately is this: Seeing us in this transition period inspired Greg and Christian to give us a gift: an all expenses paid trip to Pensacola just to visit them. It’s okay; let the jealousy flow over you like a waterfall and then shake it off your tail feather like water off a duck’s back. Greg and Christian are in Navy flight school and don’t have families (of their own), so they have a little money. When I spoke with Greg on the phone and asked him what we were going to do, he said, “we’re going to treat you two like kings,” and he wasn’t lying. This is our third night and all expenses really have been paid.
I hadn’t seen Christian in over a year, but it doesn’t show. Just like when I saw Doug for the first time in a year last week and just like when I see Mr. Bojangles dancing in heaven someday, we haven’t lost a step. He remains one of the funniest guys I know, and one of the most transparent. As we all sat at IHOP on Sunday morning, having our own church, Christian was able to unload some of his burdens and the rest of us listened and gathered them up in our arms and did our best to sling them over our backs. That’s why the four of us are together right now: sometimes to laugh and sometimes to not. It was the same when Austin and I got a ride to the airport with Chris on Saturday. Burdens were laid and born. The three of us sat together at the quaint Newport News airport bar, had a couple beers and spilled our guts. Well, mostly Austin told the most in depth tale of how he met his girlfriend, Keila, I had ever heard and it was riveting. Chris has an incredible ability to empathize and be happy for others without letting his own shit interfere (something most of us can’t do); so, it’s natural for us to tell every last detail to him because we know, without a doubt, that he really cares to know. After the story I think everyone was in love. I really wanted to call Britt, and Austin could tell as we sat on the plane, waiting for take off. “Well then just do it, man,” he said. “But I don’t know what to say,” I said defiantly, but I was already clicking to her name in my phone contacts. Austin pushed send for me.
So far it’s rained the entire time we’ve been in Pensacola. But that didn’t stop Greg, Christian, and I from going running yesterday. As we started to run (shirtless, on Greg’s request) Greg, in typical Greg fashion, turned to us with a huge grin and yelled out,” We’re all friends and we’re running together!” After the run I took a shower and dried off with a towel bearing Greg’s name, “SCEVIOUR G.P.” that he was forced to make at OCS. Today we did absolutely nothing. Greg’s roommate said we are the most indecisive people he’s ever met. That was after we played pool in the pool house for too long and then laid in Greg’s room reading his text messages out loud. It took us forever to decide to leave the house for a night of Ruby Tuesday and bowling and it took even longer for us to actually leave. Christian reminded us before we left that we were all flip-flop wearing dudes and that we needed socks. Luckily the Sceviour GP-brand didn’t stop at towels and we all left with white tube socks bearing Greg’s family name and initials. I’m keeping mine. Email me if you want a pair.
There’s still plenty more to talk about and the next couple days should be clear enough for us to make it to the beach. But even if it’s not, it’s always sunny here to us. And there are always episodes of It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia (a newfound love of mine… I know, I know, but cmon I’ve been in China!) for us to watch inside…
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