Reach out

One of the things they don’t tell you about being a grown-up is that you’ll lose friends along the way. Partly, at least in my case, that’s the outcome of living a full and adventurous life.

I wanted to talk recent times, but it dawns on me that I need to go way back to set up the scene. because I’ve lived a strange life so far.

My family moved from Wichita to Salina, KS when I was about five in the mid-70s. We lived there for two years, so kindergarten and half of first grade for me. Then back to Wichita for the other half of first grade, plus second and third, where I was at the same elementary school (Seltzer). Fourth grade in the gifted program at Minneha. Fifth and Sixth they split that group in half, and sent me to Clark.

That’s just elementary school, going to three of them without moving. Four in six years.

Then, for junior high (grades 7-9 in those days), they took half the folks I’d been with at Clark and sent them to a different school (Coleman) from the one the other part of us went to (Curtis). So all my bestest friends disappear and I’m pretty much starting over. Remember, this is before social media or even cell phones, in the early ‘80s, so they’re kinda gone.

Managed to stay at Curtis for all three years, which was amazing. And a record to that point.

Then all of us finally circle back to the same high school. (Wichita Southeast, when it was still on Edgemoor in town, instead of out in the middle of nowhere.)

But I’ve lost touch with everyone from elementary by this point. New friends in Junior High.

Then I graduated high school after what was functionally my Junior Year (technically skipped Junior and went from Sophomore to Senior, long story). So I was only in that building for two years, one of which I was suddenly in classes with folks a year ahead of me previously. They didn’t always react well to the kid. (Understatement.)

Graduate in May. Start classes at Wichita State in June. Don’t turn seventeen until the end of June, so I am not kidding when I say I started college at sixteen.

Stayed there three and a half years, which was my longest time in any school, and graduated in December of 1989. Took spring off. Went to graduate school in the fall in Los Angeles in the fall of ‘90.

Lived in LA until the fall of ‘95. Came back to Wichita, but only stayed about 18 months.

Moved to Seattle in the Feb 1997. New world. New life. Except that the woman who had convinced me to move to Seattle changed her mind after I got here.

On my own, in a whole new place. New everything.


I have been here (PNW) for twenty-five years now, having marked that six weeks ago. Was with Donna from 1998 until her death in 2008. Been with Fabulous Publisher Babe(tm) since 2013 (the second time around).

Worked for an insurance agency for a year. Then a property management company for two. Then I spent seven years (the HORRORS!) at a software startup. Then a year at Microsoft at as a-dash.

Swapped sides of the lake and worked in downtown Seattle for a year at one place before it shut itself down, then down at Pioneer Square facing the Pergola for three.

Then some friends from a prior gig recruited me to a new gig down near the stadiums, and I was there from 2012-2018, when I retired from the day job and started writing full time.

Social media works for me because I’m kinda feral, and have lived the exact opposite of that life where you and the same three guys you went to first grade with stay together for sixty years.

I tracked down my best friend in 4th-6th grades a few years ago, through an ex-girlfriend I remain on good terms with. Hadn’t talked to him for more than thirty-five years, I think. Haven’t talked to my best friend in Junior high and high school since just before we turned thirty, so that’s nearly twenty-four years now.


Amazingly, I am friends with half a dozen exes on social media. Like, interact with some of them at least weekly, and others regular enough to count.

But I obviously have lost touch with a lot of folks over the decades. Some, it was for the better, like a handful who are probably all-in Q-Anon whackjobs these days, based on where they were headed in those days.

Others simply vanished when everybody got busy and drifted apart.

The friends you make in school are because you see them every day. Once you get out into the world, you will see co-workers regularly, but I was in software for a big chunk of my career, in Seattle, where folks move around a lot. Being with three different companies that went out of business not long after I left (writing on the wall kind of thing) doesn’t help.

So that’s where I started this morning with this blog.

The Pandemic has caused a lot of folks to stay home. To maybe lose touch with some old friends because you haven’t been seeing them at work or getting together for beers.

As a man of a certain age, I’m also old enough to have not seen folks in a decade or more, and maybe only loosely track that number.

So I started reaching out. Just to say hello. Catch up on news. Poke sleeping bears. Something. Not all of them have responded, but there’s nothing I can do about that. Maybe they didn’t drift away but purposefully strode into the fog and I didn’t understand at the time.

Who knows?

But I keep trying. Maybe I have an old email address that doesn’t work any more. Or a bad phone number.

Or they don’t want to hear from me.

That doesn’t stop me, until they specifically say to fuck off.

You, now. When was the last time you reached out to that friend you haven’t seen or talked to in a while? Even to say hello?

What’s stopping you? Do you owe them an apology? Do they owe you one?

Has it been long enough that you don’t even remember why you haven’t spoken? I got a few of those, where I remember stepping back, but not what triggered it. Can’t be helped.

At the same time, there are remarkably few folks out there that I won’t at least say hi to.

Like you, I keep a list. Folks TSTL. Or folks who violate Wheaton’s Law. Something bad.

But there are a lot of folks that are just out there.

If you’re one of them, and I haven’t talked to you in a long time, maybe reach out?

We live in an age of polarization, but also atomization, as we can remain kinda in touch while being farther and farther away physically and emotionally.

But ya gotta try from time to time.

When was the last time you tried?