Sometimes, you meet people in one capacity, and you never think that you’ll see them in other capacities. Sometimes our friends are silo’ed. They stay in their individual little places. We call them when we want specific things: I have friends I got out Drinking with; friends I Do Outdoors Stuff with; friends I Eat with, friends I Cook For. I have friends I Shop With, and Movie friends, and then there are the friends I Learn Stuff With.
I am squashily fond of the friends with whom I Chat Deep into the Night With Only a Bottle of Wine to Entertain Us.
My friend Peter the Planner is one of those, but he didn’t start out that. I met Peter in early July of 2002. i remember because this is the same weekend I got together with Jim. We were camping at Round Valley, mountain bike camping; and we packed in and packed out all of our stuff. We led a quick clinic on flats and cables and stuff, and then were off.
I know that Peter had said he was going to meet us somewhere en route. I’d never met the guy before. I was doing some pro bono media work for a non-profit racing association that we were both a part of. At some point on the trail a really sexy bike went by pedaled by a guy with impossibly long legs and perfect riding form–it looked as if his riding was effortless, and I was immediately annoyed–why couldn’t I ride like that?
Hello, Peter. Nice to meet you.
At some point after that we all went to see a movie together; and then we went out to celebrate Karen, Peter’s wife, on her birthday, at a vegetarian joint–was it VP2?–and then we went to a triathlon clinic together, and shortly after that we did a triathlon together, where we off-road people reveled in the three miles of trail run that broke up all of the awful asphalt; we had dinner together that night, and he came out a couple of times to meet me for drinks, and
And I began to notice what happens when you leave the right people: They Call You.
And keep track of you. And when you come home, they make every effort to see you.
Peter and i haven’t done anything athletic together in years. But I know that if we wanted to, we could make it happen.
While I was gone, I learned a lot about Peter:
- His writing, when he does it, is remarkably evocative of whatever it is he’s feeling at the time. (If you think this is easy, you don’t know jack, and you need to read more.)
- His sense of organization is ridiculously good.
- He is a tangential thinker: His train of thought goes in different directions and then he actually connects the dots, and whatever he’s saying is almost always useful.
- He knows Stuff. Or knows where to find the answer.
- He is the right person to talk to when things look grey and confused. Peter will either add some color or sit with you until the cloud passes.
Peter is the planner not only because he works for a major urban-planning think tank, but also because when I am having problems organizing my incredibly disorganized brain and life, I know he can help, and that he will be vested.
I met Peter mountain biking, but our lives revolve around people now. Here is proof:
We go to movies. We go to museums. We have picnics on the High Line together. Sometimes Jim and I get to see Karen, and Peter and Karen’s hilarious and wonderful twins, John and Henry.
Isn’t it nice when someone you thought would only ever fit in one area of your life suddenly spills over into everything else?