Coffee Share 200718: Friends and Ships

This is a Weekly Coffee Share Essay.
I’m part of a small group of bloggers who stay in touch and chat about blogging, writing, or just about anything else that might be of interest.
Link to This week’s full list
Link to my Story Blog:  Table of Contents.

Good morning,

As we enjoy a time of relaxation and hot drink, can you indulge me in a thought experiment?  I’d like to take a simple word that we all know and understand and mess with it some.

The word, Friendship, has a clear and recognized meaning that I don’t want to challenge, but just to see what falls out, can we break it along a clear seam and see what human metaphorical insights fall out?  It might be fun.  It might trigger ideas of stories that could — or perhaps — should not be captured and told.

You and I are friends.  We also have, umm, let’s call them, non-virtual tangible friends, because most of us have never actually met (unfortunately I think) face to face, but we know each other to some degree.  We enjoy a friendship, and these friendships have attributes or dare we say, parameters within which we relate to one another.  We joke, we share stories and insights, I care about your garden and you are kind enough to read about mine and so forth.

But let the experiment begin.  Breaking the word apart leaves us with two words that at first glance don’t really belong together;  Friend and Ship.  let’s play with trying to flesh out the metaphor that could be built using the distinct meaning of both.

We know what a friend is.  Let’s shorten this essay by just going with the simple meaning it brings to mind.

We also have a vague understanding of what a ship is, but there are lots of types of ships in the world of things that float and carry people about the watery parts of our globe. We know that, in general, they carry more than one or two persons, tend to be big and important and valuable.  They each tend to have been assembled for some specific purpose.

So — what does this lend to our new metaphor?  I think, and am certain the frozen surface beneath me is solid enough to sustain without shattering and dropping me into the deadly cold water below, that this works very well to underline how many different types of friendships there really are, easily as many type as there are ships.

fishermen trawler

If the type of our friend-ship is: [what?] then we do [what?] together:

  • Cruise ship: we tour and play and dine together. “Oh, look.  They have my favorite Chianti on the menu.  You have to kill a bottle with me.”
  • Sailboat: we enjoy the mild to gnarly challenges of wind powered navigation across the waters of life together.  “Hey, did you happen to pack some sunscreen?”
  • Cargo ship: we tote stuff around as our job and thus work together. “What do you mean a container fell off with that last wave? Can we blame Barry?”
  • Fishing Trawler: we carve out our living together doing a dirty job together. “Tell honestly Chris, does this smell ever wash out?”
  • Schooner: we trim and mend sails and rigging and scrub decks together all day, every day. “Do shut up now.  I’m cold and exhausted. I need to sleep for a week. No —no! Not another word until our shift starts in what, ugh, 6 hours.
  • Battleship: we fight a common enemy together. “They’re coming around again. Quick, site up and take the shot! You can do this and I’ve got your back.”
  • Submarine: we sink deliberately to hide and sneak around together. “You found her diary!  Cool!  Quick, what did she write about our date?”

sailors in storm

Surly you could add some to this list, but does our new metaphor bring any value, does it add to our ability to understand ourselves and how we relate to our friends?

I think yes.  Some friendships are spread out so much that we rarely, if ever, actually see each other, but we still find ways to communicate and build trust and accomplish things together.  Others, seem to exist only as a platform for us to party upon and deep introspective conversations would be out of place and unwelcome.  I find that my favorite friend-ships tend to be smaller vessels with just a few folks I know well enough to be less than perfect around.  They know my strengths, my weaknesses, my dreams, my limitations and care enough to ask and engage the hard questions that I avoid asking of myself.  They care enough to take me along on their own voyages.

It’s either that or large and populated enough that I can blend in quietly and remain almost invisible.

I am often aboard a working cargo ship and am fortunate enough to share passage and tasks with some amazing people who I respect and even love (to an appropriate degree).

I’m also sharing cabins aboard small poor man’s yacht with some who know how broken I can be as compared to even my own standards, but somehow they credibly love me anyway.  They let me help them when I can and they help me.  These mates are therapeutic.

Okay, your turn.  What ships are you and your friends on?  How big and for what purpose is the friend-ship you’re riding on today?


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Gary photo n bio

12 thoughts on “Coffee Share 200718: Friends and Ships

  1. Very insightful, especially at this time when many of us are relying mostly on our virtual friendships. Here’s something I heard long ago and I’m interested in your thoughts. It’s said that woman have friends that fulfill all aspects of their life but men have friends divided into different parts of their life like “friends for sporting events” or “friends for building projects,” “hang out with the family friends” or “friends they go to dinner or movies with.” I can see my husband’s friends falling partially into these categories. Do you find this to be true for you? Just a thought.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Nancy, You’re not only back, you brought hard questions. I’m either fortunate or afraid (maybe both) that I’m the wrong guy to answer for even a minority of men. I don’t get sports at all and find that I don’t leave my family, almost down to just my wife now, to go hang out with guy friends. I’ve almost always wondered if I just that hermit guy, but doubt that I’m consistent enough. But I’ll take a run at your question anyway. Yes, I believe this is true for many of us. I’ve seen it in others and wonder if I missed a few chapters of the guy manual because I don’t. I could see doing movies with the guys, except then I’d have to plan and coordinate with others when all I’m really there for is the movie. So, unless invited by some family member who assembles others, I’m happy going alone.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I appreciate your response. It’s always interesting to hear someone else’s point of view. Also, I’m happy to hear that I’m not the only person who is fine with attending movies solo. I enjoy the quiet and I feel like you can totally immerse yourself in the film if you don’t need to make small talk -I’m an introvert, another form of “hermit” 🙂 and we abhor small talk!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I do enjoy the smaller ships the most, unless I need to go out on the open sea (could be translated to work) then bigger feels safer. It is true that we don’t meet most of our virtual friends, but still have great friendships with them. I have made a few real life friends with blogging friends throughout the years. Especially one dear lady that I feel very connected to, she is more than 30 years older than me. We took an online writing class for bloggers when I was pregnant (9 years ago?) then we kept in contact and we’ve met in real life several times, both in California and Nevada. A very special lady, I would offer her a room in my house any day, for as long as she wants. This was a great read and thought experiment Gary.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Maria.
      Thanks for the great comment.
      You took the idea and got some good (nautical) mileage out of it although — I could see you having fun with a submarine too.


  3. Nice theme for the post, must say, Gary. Friend-ships. Well I have many friends, mostly virtual in social media platforms. If I start scanning the list, then I will end up with only 2-3 friends amongst the huge list whom I actually call or chat and have a conversation. That doesn’t mean we call each other every day. Sometimes not even in weeks or months. Still there is that bond which doesn’t leave any room for formalities when the conversation starts. I guess this is also enough considering how busy we are in our own lives. After all, quality matters. Quantity can wait.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well said Moumita. The nature of my (frequently ‘our’) work forces us into a more virtual world where we rarely have normal conversations. Add the whole introvert v extravert factor and, ta-da, we need ‘ships’ of many shapes. It would be nice if it were possible & easy to share a meal or drink with some of our virtual friends. Sometimes there is no substitute for hearing someone’s laughter.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Pirate Ship we sail the information seas seeking out bounty and also make terrible puns about the expensive rates of Pie, Pie-rates get it aaargh

    and somewhere out there is a giant iceberg just waiting for the Titanic *plays ominous music*


    Liked by 1 person

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