|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.
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|Link to my Story Blog: Table of Contents.|
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.
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?”
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?