The realization happened when my cell phone rang at work on the afternoon of June 18th and I saw the area code 403. I smiled; it was Dwyer. Sean Dwyer and I have been friends since 1985. Let me take you back to that moment we first 'met', so please, bare with me. The first time I truly 'noticed' Dwyer was in Mr. Hawrylak's Grade 5 class. It wasn't simply because he was the 'new kid' in town, it was because this kid was funny. Not class-clown-jackass-type-funny, but smart-intelligent funny. And at this time we were studying poetry. Mr. Hawrylak was a reading a poem to the class and every second line was "I feel joy." i.e. - "I wake up in the morning. I feel joy. I see the sunset at night. I feel joy"...you get the picture. When Mr. Hawrylak finished reading the poem and explained it's meaning he asked if there were any questions. Dwyer raised his hand. The room was silent, everyone was staring at the new kid wondering what he was going to ask. He said, "Sir, who's Joy?" The class erupted in laughter. I knew from that day forward Dwyer was my kind of peeps.
Our friendship has endured many, many more tales which took us through puberty, high school fights and dances, drinking underage in the woods, sticking up for him when he'd get crazy drunk in university, living in Calgary and learning what's it's like to be a young professionals together, attending his wedding, always being 'one of his boys', being the butt of his jokes and then recently seeing him become a dad. And through all of that, the one area where Dwyer has never ever let me down is the annual birthday phone call. No matter where we are or what is going on in our lives, he remembers and picks up the phone to call. And, for some reason, this year I noticed just how special a phone call can be.
Maybe it's because I have a heightened sensitivity to technology and communication because I'm fresh into a new job that is solely focused on bringing consumer experiences to life on the world wide web. I'm tasked with creating a two-way "dialogue" strictly through a computer and/or the many mobile devices we carry with us daily. Maybe it's because today I discovered that Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson died via facebook and twitter. And that made me wonder if we will ever say again, "Do you remember where you were and who you were with when....?" in a time when we continue to get immediate information delivered to the palm of our hand. Or maybe I'm simply getting old and nostalgic.
I'm blessed to have such a large circle of friends and I've always prided myself on the fact that they've referred to me as "the glue". I don't want to lose this title. And I know we are all aware of how difficult it is to stay in touch as the years go on, to be relevant to each others changing, dynamic lives and to ensure there is reason to be 'sticky enough' to make our friendships endure. But my big fear is that the benefits of technology just might take away from what's real. The human emotion and connection. Frankly, I just want to pick up the phone and feel joy.