Allison Plean: Au revior
April 20, 2006
There is no easy way to say goodbye.
My first Steamboat Springs neighbor — who became like a brother to me — moved to Denver last weekend. I’m still in denial.
Every season, the Front Range claims more and more Steamboat residents — bribing our friends with promises of graduate degrees and real jobs in the real world. We’ve all lost friends, roommates and co-workers in this way.
My friend left Steamboat to chase a girl. The girl, who was my roommate, left Steamboat to chase her dream of going to nursing school.
Apparently, there are some things the Yampa Valley Curse cannot compensate for. If everybody who came here didn’t leave, we would have even less affordable housing and more competition for late-night taxi service. The Steamboat meter cannot run indefinitely for all of us.
Most of Steamboat’s unmarried population lives far away from its blood relatives, and so our friends have become our family. They pick you up from the hospital after knee surgery, they let you vent to absurdity after another brutal break-up, and they are there to cut your mullet wig for your Halloween costume.
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Our friends here are irreplaceable. Each one secures a particular niche in our lives. But social creatures –ho also are creatures of habit — have a hard time letting go.
Making amazing friends and seeing them leave is part of the transient lifestyle. I have lived in 26 homes in 28 years. I am used to being the one who moves. I’ve perfected the role of the shy new kid in school, and I can ace any restaurant job interview. Making friends and maintaining successful pen pal relationships have become survival tactics that are as easy as cheating on a Rubik’s Cube.
Being the person who stays while others leave is a strange feeling. It’s like losing a part of yourself — the part that you allowed to trust someone else. Only the best friendships are built on a foundation of mutual trust that makes you feel safe and secure in everything you do together.
Maintaining a long-distance friendship can be hard and gets even more difficult with time. A little dedication can make distance only as far as you allow technology to make it. My best friend (who moved away last year) and I still text message each other every day. We haven’t missed a single crisis in each other’s lives and are still available for precious consultation in sticky situations.
Whether it’s postage, gas mileage or cell phone minutes, keeping in touch is easy. The hard part is losing a partner in crime in a dangerously busy social schedule. Most of my favorite Steamboat memories involve my friend who moved last weekend.
But memories are something that can never leave us.
I used to think Steamboat was a city of lost children, but it’s more like an orphanage think tank. It’s just a stopping place on many people’s yellow brick road. We make friends along the way that teach us about courage and how to use our hearts and our brains. They show us that there is no place like home — wherever that may be.
I may have lost another good friend to the opportunities of the Front Range, but life always finds a way to balance itself.
My new best friend is denial.