CityBeat’s Living Out Loud – Cincinnati Blog

{November 20, 2006}   Seeing the Stranger in my Past

bye.jpgI see him at the bus stop now most mornings. Often we take the No. 17 in together downtown.

We’re strangers and while sometimes I’ll say good morning while we wait for the bus, he never says good morning back. Lately, I don’t bother to speak.

The man looks like an old friend of mine. In fact, he could be my old friend’s twin. When I first saw them, I thought it was my old pal, but as I looked future without trying to stare, I realized he wasn’t.

But seeing this man at the bus stop and on the bus brings back memories of him. I wonder what he’s up to, wonder how he is.

We used to work together at the same company. I always bought him a tie for Christmas and he always got the same for me.

Back when I knew my old friend, I was married, had two young kids. He was a little younger than me and had two older kids.

We shared the same birthday – May 1st. It was always a given that we would do lunch and drinks together on that day. He would pay for mine, I would pay for his. Maybe that was silly, but that’s what we did.

We would go to Reds games, at least 10 a year and drink lots of beer. We loved doubleheaders, because that meant we could drink even more.

He loved rock and roll music and always wanted me to like the same groups he did. Sometimes I did – but most of the time I didn’t.

Sometimes I would try to get him interested in books, but he wasn’t a reader. Sometimes there were television shows he wanted me to watch, but I wasn’t a viewer.

He liked my sense of humor and I had the ability to make him laugh. He was a good guy and we were really good friends. Now, I don’t even know where he lives.

I know we don’t mean to, but I guess this happens to all of us from time to time – just letting friends go. No real goodbyes, just the passage of time that turns a friendship loose. I don’t know or can’t remember why it happened in this case, but we got disconnected and out of touch. I mean, I haven’t seen or talked to him in years.

Seeing that stranger at the bus stop brings back the past and some good times and the older I get, the more I realize that it’s a very sad thing to simply let friendships die.

Larry Gross


hard as nails says:

i need all the friends i can get.

Karen says:

Touching. Larry, I hope you and I will always be friends.

Many says:

It is a shame when friendships come to an end but sometimes you just can’t keep them going. I mean, people change.

Matthew says:

Many is right in a lot of ways. I have some really good friends that I’ve known for a long time, but yeah, people change. There are some guys I hung out with in high school that there’s no way I would want to today.

Marilyn says:

Thank you for leading me to think about my friends. They are truly a gift.

I’ve had one solid, best friend since 4th grade. I remember when I first saw her: I was sitting in class and turned around to look back. There sat a girl with powder blue glasses and she was polishing the lenses. I thought, “I bet she’s a real snot.”

Now, 42 years later, we still speak at least three times a week and we’ve grown to share the same politics and thoughts on life. Our only point of disagreement is my smoking!

Matt says:

I still hang out with John sometimes. We went to grade school together and we’re still buds. Old friends are the best friends.

Brenda says:

No fair to make me cry early in the morning. I found your post really sad.

Jill says:

Nice post 🙂

Marilyn says:

One of my most memorial friendships ended up sadly.

I loved this girl. She was hysterically funny and we had a blast whenever we’d go out. Once we were at the Cactus Pear and as we were seated, the guy asked if we needed anything before our server came. Her answer, “Yes, I’d like some bandaids for my nipples, it’s cold in here.”

After lots of fun times, some weird dynamics started kicking in. She’d gotten some other friends to join our lunch group. Then, for some reason I’m still not able to analyze, she decided to start picking away at me in front of these people. The relationship deteriorated to only unhappy moments. It was unhealthy for her and for me.

She is the only girlfriend I ever had to break up with. I still love her spirit, however.

Sally says:


The same thing happened to me with a friend awhile back. Some one said here that people change. It’s not always possible to be buddies forever – but yeah, it’s nice when it happens.

Mark says:

My best friend in College was Mike and we were really close during those days. When I got married, I sort of made the attempt to stay in touch but could have done a better job at it.

Mike died a couple years ago of cancer. I never knew he was that sick mainly because I wasn’t paying enough attention.

This story hit home a litle bit. Yes, stay in touch with good friends. There are enough regrets in life.

not to be negative says:

a bit of a downer post for a monday. aren’t these days depressing enough?

Jean says:

I think Larry’s heart is in the right place, but it takes two to make a friendship work. If that old friend that you lost was really that specail to you, you wouldn’t be crying the blues now – years later

Matt says:

You keep saying you’re going to stay away from here. KEEP YOUR PROMISES!

Brian says:

Letting friendships pass away is indeed a slightly sad and puzzling thing, one it seems we’ve all experienced. Maybe once a relationship has done all it can for both people, having served its purpose, each person simply moves on. And if you don’t look back, maybe you don’t realize you’re walking away from someone you might miss someday. Welcome to the world.

I do regret that I have a few people I’ve lost to time and distance but I’m also lucky enough to have my one best friend remain with me for 19 years. So take that cruel world, ha!

Tim says:

I just to echo what Brian is saying and what others have hinted at. Sometimes friends outgrow one another or as Brian says the friendship has served its purpose. I think when you look at an old friendship years later, memories take over, mostly good ones and you kind of forget why you let the friendship drift. Regardless of what anybody says to themselves, there is ALWAYS a reason why it had to come to an end.

numb says:

larry had a friend?

Lucy says:

Your article made me feel blue for a lot of the day. Friendships are to be taken seriously and my best friend ever, from grade school, high school and onward in our lives died in an automobile accident last fall. We were as close as we could be and I still think of her everyday. Friendships are very, very specail so you need to take special care of them because that friend can go away just like that.

Babble On says:

I wonder what jackass numb will be thankful for this year – this blog to pick on? He ain’t nothing but a pissant here.

Teri says:

You have to sort of feel sorry for numb and I can’t help but wonder why would this person visit here almost every day just to be out right mean? Doesn’t he have a life or anything else going on?

Patrick says:

I just want to say that just when I think this web site is used up and going down hill, I’ll find something well written and thoughtful like today’s post. How about a little more of this and a little less of LOL Girl?

Jackie says:

numb is comic relief. That’s the best way to look at the dude.

Bitch from Price Hill says:

Fuck numb but bless good old Larry for giving us something to chew on today.

Roger says:

Think the LOL girl has any real friends? I sort of doubt it.

Natasha says:

Jean, how ’bout this? You start your own blog and invite all of us regulars there. We promise to do unto you as you have done unto us.

Roger, I’m sure LOL girl has real friends. Her persona here probably in no way reflects who she is in real life. If she even is a she. Her non-poetic way of expressing sex seems more masculine than female. Just my opinion.

Numb is just numb. Jackie probably said it best — comic relief.

Many here embarrass themselves by looking down their proboscii at numb.
Numb may be the tapeworm of Living Out Loud, but are not large intestines in general also looked down upon? Yet the large intestine’s connected to the small intestine, and the small intestine’s connected to the stomach, and the gouzal’s connected to the neck bone, and you get the drift, all the way up to the highly esteemed so-called “mind” of LOL, Larry Gross.
I read recently that the non-human living cells in a human body greatly outnumber the human cells. What’s up with that? (Just something else we need to get jiggy with.)
We all have our little job to perform in order to justify our miserable existence before we die, eh?
All praise be unto numb! And unto the Son and unto the Holy Ghost.
Now, heah de woid ub de Lawd!

Rita says:

You forgot to mention the rhinestones on those powder blue glasses. How could you forget that detail over these “blink of an eye” 42 years?

Marilyn says:

Awww damn! It’s alzheimers! I’m sure it was the rhinestones that made me think you had to be a “snot”!!!!

Lordy, we are old, ain’t we sister???

Don’t forget, we’ve chosen and agreed to shovel angel shit… we’ll not fall for that “blink of the eye” crap that they’ll try to sell us when we are asked to reincarnate once again.

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