I met up with a friend for lunch today who I’d not seen for at least six years. I worked for him when I first moved to Seattle in 1994 and later followed him to Microsoft.
We were both geeks stuck in a marketing group, but made up for our lack of marketing skills by understanding how the products worked. We’d fly around the world demoing our software when nobody else in the group could install it.
We laughed at the newly minted MBA hires who couldn’t figure out the convoluted Microsoft email and file system. In exchange for lunch or Sonics tickets we’d help them.
It doesn’t matter how many years have passed, we picked up right where we left off today. There’s no awkwardness because he knows me and I understand him. We remain friends because we’ve gone through a lot together. We’ve both seen each other at our best and worst.
Our lunch lasted two hours, but felt like 20 minutes. Of course he remembered that time we bribed our way out of a speeding ticket in Monte Carlo. Or the time I was in charge of renting a sporty car for our visit to Marina del Rey. When we pulled into the Ritz Carlton and the valet just shook his head while staring at my lime green Hyundai subcompact, it was the last time he asked me to book the car rental.
You know that type of friend who doesn’t keep score and doesn’t insist on splitting every meal down the center? I never quite trust the friend who keeps track of every good deed and penny.
I’ve come to realize friendships like this are uncommon, but they are worth nurturing.
Over lunch, I caught up on his family. He told me he’d probably never be able to work for a large company again. I told him I was beginning to feel the same.
I don’t know if our paths will cross again. There’s no guarantee they will. We shook hands before parting. Another six years could pass before we see each other.
I hope that’s not the case, but whenever we do, I know we’ll pickup from where we left off today.