Dulcet tones from a modern pop group, merged with the aroma of cappucinos, as we sat in a swanky Parnell café surrounded by the ‘after work’ crowd of today’s Auckland. Its music, décor and clientele, all seemed to highlight the transition of a time that separated our current lives from earlier days. Years ago, the medium we enjoyed was each other’s company filled with the wailing cries of Jimmy Page and David Gilmour, all while cocooned in an alcohol borne insensibility in the back seat of a mate’s Mazda RX2.
But times had changed.
The umbilicus once holding friendships firm during formative teenage years had, over time, been reduced to a weak thread. Careers had hurled us along different paths from the earlier days when we’d known each other. The days prior to becoming adults, parents, husbands, nurses, electricians, IT specialists, doctors, teachers…
Ours was a time of the illegal ‘street car drags’ at Mission Beach on a Friday night. We witnessed the rise of what was at the time, New Zealand’s worst and cheapest beer – ‘Ranfurly’ which came in a 440ml shock dose! On the wireless, Cypress Hill’s Insane in the Brain pumped out as the song of choice for student radios around Auckland. And at the end of the night, we were the generation of the $1 Georgie Pie ‘munchies’ in the tired hours before daylight broke.
Even now, meeting up years later, the re-collections and associations of our adolescent friendship came flooding back like a familiar tidal current, lapping over and igniting synaptic memories of our past. Capturing moments that needed careful verification by an old mate to make sure they really did happen and weren’t just more imaginary stories from a lost youth…
“Do you remember the time we dug up the real estate agent’s FOR SALE signs in suburban Auckland, only to replace them two doors down in neighbouring properties?”
“Yep”. He said.
“And, can you recall the evening we were caught slamming tequilas by ‘whatyamacallits’ mum as we sat pathetically wasted in his basement room. Before bursting out in embarrassed laughter? – I mean, did that really happen? Or was it just a dream I had?”….
… “Dave mate, it really happened!”
Now in our thirties, it all seemed like a life time ago that our antics were being played out. After a 12 year friendship hiatus, conversation had evolved from the teenage dribble of “where to find South Auckland’s cheapest beers and naughtiest girls” to, “who offers the best vasectomies around?”
And in much the same way, it suddenly dawned on me just how different we too, had become. Not only from receding hairlines and our non botox’d faces, but, more a case of how we’d grown up…become adults, followed different paths and been through life’s inevitable ups and downs. To the point now of being parents ourselves.
Stepping out onto the evening footpath, it was a succint reminder of how quickly ‘times’ in our life seem to pass by. Today, we chatted about the bond of our friendship during adolescence. Perhaps next time we see each other, stories might involve our adult children and how they seem to be ‘pushing the boundaries’ from our days!
“Where’s the time gone?” my old mate said, as we parted ways, for what was probably our earliest evening split ever.
“Its gone too quick! But hey, shall we catch up again?” I said, shaking hands…
“Sure, on current form… I’ll see you again in 2025”!