"Steve" and I met in 7th grade. Despite my tranferring to a different school after that one year, we remained best friends ever since.
It was almost uncanny how our lives developed along similar tacks:
- Same summer camp
- A deep understanding of how, for an unrealistically long period of time "Bat Out of Hell" was the greatest album on earth.
- The acceptance that life on the various starships Enterprise was clearly optimal living.
- A deep understanding of how, for an unrealistically long period of time Rush's "2112" was the greatest album on earth.
- A marriage and two kids each. (No, our marriage was not to each other).
- Family vacations together (with the single goal of getting the kids to bed and making it through the "Godfather" trilogy before the week was up).
We've spoken to each other at least once a week for nearly thirty years, though we see each other a little less frequently than we would like - I moved to the burbs, he's in the city.
And now...he has a new neighbor....a peer...a cool peer.
Less than a month ago, this guy moves in next door with his finacée. We'll call this new neighbor...actually; we will bestow no proper name upon him at all, lest he become more human to me.
Neighbor is a runner, Steve is a runner. I used to be a runner. Steve has developed into an elite runner. Neighbor is an elite runner who now runs with Steve.
I sit on the couch and blog, wondering if there’s bacon in my fridge's deli drawer.
Neighbor was married two weeks ago: Steve was invited to the ceremony AND the after party. Not only that, he commuted to the festivities with the best men, closest friends, etc. Why wouldn't he? Steve and Neighbor's houses are attached...attached! The wedding party was standing on the front lawn shouting "C'mon, Steve!"
Not only that, but Neighbor is...BRITISH! Like, with an accent. Like, British in the same way Daniel Craig and Pierce Brosnan and Queen Elizabeth are British. This guy definitely has some James Bond Cool in him. I've been told I have a little Queen Elizabeth in me (especially when I whine in a blog post), but this is not that kind of jealousy. I would call this more like 'concern'. Like the kind of concern one has when a mole on one's back may or may not be growing larger. Or the concern one has when the ache in one’s knee hasn't gone away despite refraining from running for....months (so you can create literary masterpieces online 500 words at a time!) Or the concern one has when one may, or may not, be supplanted by James Bond.
(Did I mention that due to British Neighbor's Britishness he has run into some difficulty with local services who only deal in French? Don't worry, he has a translator at his disposal...Steve!)
I began to take all the necessary precautions to protect my relationship with Steve: spy camera, long range listening post, a complaint filed with Immigration Canada and Immigration Britain, and I've forbade my wife from ever watching another episode of Coronation Street.
Then, last night, my wife and I were invited to a party at Steve's house.
I met Neighbor.
Polite, cheerful, interested in where I lived and what I had to say. He was funny, too.
Maybe I'll try to poach him; I like Britain, I like James Bond. I even like rice pudding and Newcastle.
Maybe I'll just relax and rely on my history with Steve and my own maturity as an adult to carry me through.
If a worst case scenario develops, I'll just remind Steve that I was here first. In his life, and at the party last night:)