Wednesday 17 September 2008


Interesting post by Princess Pointful on expectations we have of people we've never met.

I actually do have a kind of experience of something in that vein, which may be worth describing. An unusual sensation, perhaps, but one which will, I guess increasingly be the norm of human existence- especially as a medium such as this takes off.

I first met the Baker at uni. And as the first year progressed and he, myself and another lad used to spend hours listening to The Prodigy, playing Worms and Tekken Two and passing joints to eachother, from time to time he'd say 'You'll have to come down to Bournemouth in the summer holidays. Meet my crazy mates from school.'

Because from time to time they'd turn up in conversation. I'm going to call them Gideon and Miles.

I didn't go to Bournemouth that summer- though we did go down from uni in the autumn and I met the Baker's grandad who had brought him up. And since Gideon was at uni in Portsmouth, it was easy for him to come over. So I met Gideon.

But not Miles.

Several times during our time at uni I went to stay with the Baker in Bournemouth during the holidays and sometimes Gideon was around.
But never Miles.

But the Baker always used to say 'You'd like Miles better than Gideon. I would say you two would get on really well. Of all my mates, Miles is the one right up your street. You two would just click.'

And he'd tell me stories of times they'd spent together and things they'd done. Things Miles had said. You start to feel you get a picture of Miles.

And the years rolled by.

At different times, we've been in different places and it just never happened that I ever met Miles. He often turned up in conversation, but he remained that, someone who turned up in conversation.

But of course, there were times when the Baker was down in London he'd met up with Miles. Miles never dropped out of his life. And although it wasn't something I'd ever thought about till we actually met, he would have got the whole 'You'll have to meet Crushed. You'd get on with Crushed. My best mate from uni.'

I know the Baker's brother well. I see him quite often, more often than my own brother in fact. I see David's Mum and Stepdad regularly, I almost feel an honorary part of their family sometimes.

But the Baker frequently says there are three people he sees as more brothers to him than his brother. Myself, the Chimney Sweep- and Miles.

So it was always wierd hearing him say this, but never having met Miles. It was like knowing your Dad had a whole other family of children somewhere that you'd never met.

Anyway. February 2007.
The Baker turned thirty.

Big party in Manchester. And as he said, EVERYONE was coming.

And finally 'Miles is coming. You'll get to meet Miles at last.'

Crushed: And you reckon I'll get on with him, yes?
Baker: Yes, he's way better than Gideon. You'll get on, you'll like him.

And I guess there feels a bit of pressure. It's kind of expected. You've never met the guy, but it's so much a part of what the Baker believes that two important people to him will like eachother.


People are coming in all the time. I rarely take stock of new arrivals at parties, I know they'll be brought over to be introduced, so I tend to just get busy socialising.

Baker: Crushed! Crushed! Miles, Crushed, Crushed, this is Miles.

It was one of those moments where you reach out one hand to grab theirs, whilst the other reaches round to give them a hug. Instinctively.

And I just looked at him. And him at me. He looked nothing like I imagined. Nothing at all.
But he certainly didn't seem a stranger.

Crushed: I have heard SO much about you, mate!
Miles: Same here, same here. The Baker's always going on about you. I've heard some stories, that's for sure.
Crushed: All good, I hope?
Miles: All good, mate, all good.
Crushed: It's weird, I know we've not met, but I feel like I KNOW you, you've been part of the Baker's life for as long as I've known him and I can't remember when I didn't, if that makes sense.
Miles: Yes, it does. I guess I can't remember the days when I wasn't hearing about how I must meet you one day.

And we got to talking in depth about how odd it was, knowing OF eachother, knowing so much about eachother for so long, yet not actually knowing eachother.

The Baker always says it was one of those nights I was on 'top form'.

I guess my bizarre sense of humour isn't something that translates at all to blogging. Quite often, you have to be there.

Anyway, at about 4AM I came to a conclusion. A conclusion based on the definite physical ressemblence of Miles to a well known celebrity...
Even down to the jacket he had on.

'You know, I've realised. Miles doesn't exist. The truth is, The Baker had an imaginary friend at school and he still believed in him at uni. Only once he'd grown out of it, he couldn't really admit that to the rest of us. This has posed a problem over the years.'
The Baker is looking kind of resigned now to the fact something surreal is on it's way. Everyone else is bemused. Especially Miles.

Crushed: I guess he really couldn't come up with an excuse why Miles wasn't going to be here. I guess he was panicking, realising he was just going to have to come out with it. That Miles really only ever was, a figment of his imagination.
As luck would have it though, only today, as he was coming up the stairs, he bumped into Michael J Fox. Turns out that Back to the Future, Part Four is set here in Manchester. A problem develops with the Delorien and Marty McFly has to get wrecked in a flat in Manchester.
Anyway, this turned out to be the solution to the problem. The Baker went 'Look, Michael, I've got this crisis. Can you pretend to be my friend for a night? You'll get free alcohol and other stuff all night. And get to meet some birds. How's about it, Michael?' And here we are now, Michael J Fox playing the role of Miles, the Baker's imaginary friend...'

As I say, these things are much funnier at 4AM in a party setting.

At the end of the party as Miles was leaving he shook hands.

Miles: Great to finally meet you, Crushed.
Crushed: Was I everything you expected?
Miles: (pause to consider) Better! Better!

It was the way he said it.

Four weeks later, I went to the christening of Miles' first child, along with the Baker.

And it didn't feel strange.

No, we'd only physically met the first time four weeks previously.

But we knew eachother, kind of. And now that simple crossing of that threshold, of adding knowing in the flesh to just knowing of, meant we were more than just casual acquaintances.

As the Baker and myself left the christening to make the long journey home Miles said to me 'Glad you could make it. It means a lot to me, it does.'

Human connections.
They're what life is all about.

Each one is important in it's own way.

We touch people in everything we do, and I don't think we always know how much we do. Or keep alive those connections as much as we should.
But they matter.

And really, not a lot else does.


Anonymous said...

Good story :-)
and there's a sudden lesson for me; perhaps meeting God will be something like that;-) where there's we read so much of him in the bible, and it paves the way for meeting him face to face someday :-)

Anonymous said...

I have had similar experiences when some of my closest friends have introduced me to other people they have a big connection with. If you have an honest and good relationship with someone, it is most likely because you feel deeply connected to them for certain reasons. I know with my group of amigos we are all very different, however, our core belief systems and values are very much the same. When you meet other people who they admire, it is no wonder you feel at ease with them as they most likely share alot in common with you.

I like it when that happens.

Anonymous said...

awesome story. I had the opposite issue with my fiance and his best mate. We'd been together 18months and were having an engagement do before he'd let me meet Ricky "i just don't think you'd like him, he's kind of got a harsh sense of humour". Of course Ricky and I got on like a house on fire and Mark was being a dumbass, but such its life.

Anonymous said...

I rather like this story. I think you learn about a lot about people in the way those close to them sum them up, and with the anecdotes they think to tell about them.

Anonymous said...

I liked this story too Crushie..
It's like when you meet a blogger you have been reading for a year.. and they are NOTHING like they seemed.. You know so much about each other - but that all seems empty knowledge as you go back to the beginning and try and make a human connection rather than the one you have with them on screen..

Human relationships.. curious things.
Some work. But in a different context or time.. maybe they wouldn't..

And then there is the music video at the end of this post.. explanation?????????

Anonymous said...

My kids just watched the trilogy of Back to the Future on dvd - the middle one especially loved it.


Human connection..without it we'd all be nothing and life would not be worth living. I love random bits of attraction, warmth and that comfortable feeling with people.

Anonymous said...

Your perceived ideas and reality are obviously two different things but you may be surprised in that what you once only thought is actually how it truly is. Erm, I know what I mean lol :)

Anonymous said...

Eve- I don't know. I mean, as you know, I don't see the concept which for want of a better word, I still use the deity as being 'personal' in that sense.

However, I did once read as much of the Bible as I thought relevant to try understand my faith from a purist angle.
And if you take it as expressed, then the implications are that you could only comprehend such a meeting once divested of your human body- hence no man shall see the face of God and live.

I think, if you are to believe in a literal afterlife, perhaps the best conception of it is still Dante's Divine Comedy.

You can probably find it online. The last stanzas of the Paradisio deal with passing beyond the sphere of the fixed stars into the Emprean and describe life in the realm of the blessed. You might find it interesting.

Aunt Reeny- I think there is a definite 'our type of people'.

I think generally, it's got a lot do with outlook on life, certainly.

I think generally, you tend to attract your own type and those who think like you. I do often think that a lot of the parties I go to, the people there aren't remotely a representative sample of the world at large; generally all white collar workers, all employed by someone else, all secretly hating the system that employs them, most voting Tory all the same, and most of them liberal in social matters.

So I guess usually, when you meet other people out there you like, there's a good chance the people you already like, will like them too.

Hagelrat- I can see that though. When the best mate meets The One, it's a bit like the meet the parents thing. If one or other doesn't like the other, it's going to be difficult, so you plan for the worst case scenario.

No one really likes the idea that their best mate will hate the woman they choose to settle down with- or vice versa.

I'm lucky- my best mate is settling down with my former flatmate, so there's no issue- I introduced them to begin with :)

Princess P- I guess I'd always heard good things- by my book.

I always believe a good friend will tell you not to do something, a great friend will join you in your rashness out of loyalty.

Miles had always been presented to me as the second type, and I think that myself, it's the second type I am to my friends too.

Kimba- Because there were probably things that never occur to you to think of. :)

I guess you pretty much know what a blogger thinks. You probably have a fair idea how they talk. You might even have an idea what they looked like. If you trawled this blog for long enough, you'd probably know exactly what I look like, for example.

But for example, one thing I do a lot of in RL, that I know does distract people and sometimes really annoy them. And you'd NEVER in your wildest dreams think of it. Never. But within two hours of knowing me in RL, you'd have noticed it and say, as everyone does 'I'd love to just cot that fringe off'.

I play with my hair something rotten. I'm always pulling the front curls straight, looking at them, then stretching them down to my chin, then letting go, so they bounce back up. It really annoys people, because I do it when I'm distracted or thinking.

The music video...

A lot of the parties I go to- certainly that one- have the kind of feel to them I think that video encapsulates.

I guess also, it is an echo from the previous post.

I can remember being five and it was my Dad's best mates second daughter's christening.

And loads of people were there. and this song was in my head.
and it got me thinking, at that age, of a party that went on all night.
And I remembered that as I was writing yesterdays post.

Kate- Miles was the subject of much comedy that night, I'm afraid. He took it in good spirit...

I think the second one is a cleverly crafted sequel- or it becomes so, the first half is dire, but the second part of Back to the Future II makes the whole trilogy.

The third part is awful. But then has a third part of a trilogy ever been up to much?

I think that's always been why I like parties. I've always said I don't really care so much for going out, except it's something you have to do to meet people to invite to parties, or get invited to parties.

I think human connection is something we all want, but for some reason we seem to not trust the motives of everyone else, when in fact most other people just want the same.

Nunyaa- I think so, in some ways. It's often surprising how close you can be to the truth in some ways.

I think it is actually quite a worthwhile experience having your curiosity finally satisfied, though.

Meeting the Baker's brother for the first time was kind of similar. Again, I'd heard a lot about him but let's just say he wasn't around to be met for a long time...

Anonymous said...

Actually, the humor translates well into blogland.

There are always things that take me by surprise when I meet people I've heard a lot about, but have never met. But oftentimes, my friends know me well enough to know that I will actually get along really well with their friends, or lovers, etc.. Apparently, I've picked good friends.

Anonymous said...

ok, will look into that :-)

Anonymous said...

thanks for the comment, crushed. i'll add you to my blogroll. :)

Anonymous said...

What a great read - and how true nothing much else matters other than the people we touch and who touch us. I am glad to have found your blog - via your comment on mine - thank you! Cat

Anonymous said...

X-dell- :) I have a rather surrealist sense of humour.
To take a case in point- we were engaged in conversation in the pub tonight by someone I vaguely know, but try avoid, because, without being nasty, he's very boring.
Anyway, tonight he was totally incomprehensible. Couldn't understand a word he was saying. In the end rather than try and follow his garbled drivel- which I think might have been related to whether or not I was donating anything to the breast cancer appeal- I went 'Yes, I know what you mean. Something like that happened to me. When I was in Cambodia, as it happens. It's a little disorienting isn't it? But I do know what you mean. And the thing is, then everyone thinks you're a cross dresser. Very hard for people to understand, but these things can happen. So I can empathise, I really can.'

The look of total confusion on his face was priceless...

I'm not sure whether we pick our friends, so much as they pick us. Or its a kind of synthesis. Like seeks like.

But yes, I'm lucky in my close friends. They are my family to me, in many ways. My best mate has a key to this flat.

Friends are priceless.

Eve- I'd actually say read the lot, if you get a chance. The Inferno is the best bit.
It's probably the best guide to medieval Catholic thought you can find- written at the height of Catholic thought, just after Thomas Aquinas lived and wrote but before the Avignon captivity and the Schism.

Butterfly- :) Nice to meet you!

Cat- I think to me, it's that I do need constant stimulation in many ways. When a thought crops up in my head, I have a need to develop it, a need to bounce off people.

I'm not really one for spending time on my own at all. In a sense you could say I NEVER do, because if I am at home alone, I'll pretty much be online. So I avoid ever actually being alone :)

Anonymous said...

You know, if you haven't already seen it, I think you ought to watch 'The Fountain'. A lovely film, and I have a feeling it would appeal to you.