the meaning of old things
Saint-Ouen, Paris, France
as i hung the line up with sharon, my best friend, it felt just like the old times when we started these phone call rituals when we were 7 years old.
growing up, since sharon and i lived in different parts of the valley, we would only get to see each other once a twice a week, on wednesday nights for awana and sundays for church. for the other days of the week we’d manage our long-distance bff-ship by calling each other on landline telephones to discuss for hours about boys, our family, what’s on abc family, faith, how we should coordinate our roxy t-shirts for sundays, and our dreams about what we would do when we grew up.
fast forward twenty-one years, were still doing the same thing. except she’s getting her afternoon started in new york while i woke up from a cat nap at 9pm in paris. when sharon talks, i listen, because from our conversations she holds so much insight because there isn’t anyone in this world who knows basically everything about me, which means that she also holds all the context behind the thoughts i’m thinking and the decisions i’ve made. we’ve had our rough patches, as with all human relationships, but our friendship and fondness bred by our phone calls has only grown stronger.
drake’s term of “no new friends” implies the disdain for fair-weather friends, but when i say “no new friends” i mean that i can’t make new friends because with my old friends, we carry each others history, which in turn allows us to help each other better connect the dots for the future. it’s just harder to talk to anyone else with as much vulnerability.
another old friend i have is andreu. while he doesn’t carry the heavyweight title that sharon carries, we’ve been friends since meeting at work at our first jobs out college and have surprisingly met up more often than imagined. we’ve lived in a handful of different cities across very different time zones - san francisco, new york, dublin, barcelona, tokyo, los angeles, paris - and we’ve kept the line open by visiting each other in these very different cities / sending each other dumb internet memes.
his job now requires him to travel to paris once a month, which means that we’ll probably eat a ton of food together, drink a lot of wine, and talk about everything under the sun and making fun of each others accents while exploring the city as we always do. this weekend, i told andreu that he really made it in life. i used to call him esclavo and here he was now having dinner in my apartment prepared by yours truly.
the next day, we had a very petit dejeuner and made our way to the antique market north of the city. we spent hours perusing alleys on alleys of things that existed tens and possibly even hundreds of years ago. most of these things at some point were purchased or gifted and owned by people who probably aren’t around anymore. thinking about this made my heart hurt for some reason because all i’m reminded of is how time makes realities seem so disconnected and far apart but in perspective, they all pass by in a blink of an eye.
the optimistic thing about it all is, is if a 100-year-old toy airplane were owned by a child of today, what would it say? i’m thinking it would say that things are different but in a good way. so we’ve progressed!
same thing goes for me and andreu. we used to bicker like backwards children in the backseat of khatereh’s car and did stupid things like wedging his head between the bars of his bike so that i could drive him home in my convertible with its top down (#hellaillegal and #helladangerous). but here we are only five years later taking life at a leisurely pace and seriously talking about our adult feelings.
the other thing about older things is that as you observe from the outside, you can uncover new facets that you never noticed or knew about before and maybe even demarcate positive change.
there’s a whole lot of things to say about old objects too (not just friends, heh). i have gravitated towards old dusty things while my older sister will steer clear because even talking about antiques make her itchy. she’s a very modern woman.
nothing stood out to me in particular at this antique market in paris. this time around, i think i visited in vain to search for something that i can identify with or would draw my emotions. but none of my ancestors or peoples are from or have close ties with france so…?? i don’t think i can finish that sentence without giving it a bit more thought.
i wonder what it would be like to go to an antique market that had objects owned by people like my grandparents or great grandparents or great great grandparents. my grandparents fled from where they grew up, so they carried almost nothing with them. the furthest my lineage goes back in owned objects is what my grandparents owned in their lifetime. has anyone been to a real antique market with things from north korea? holla at yo girl.