In America, there are yearbooks: pages recollecting some random faces, (too) close-up shots that will be out-fashioned in a few months or a few years if you’re lucky and have a extremely good sense of visionary fashion.
In France, we have “la photo de classe” (the class picture) with all our fellow classmates, all of us with ridiculous haircuts and unidentifiable neon sweatshirts (ah, sweet 90s).
When I accidentally come upon these infamous clichés, I try to recall each face’s name, which is not really a hard task since I spent my first ten school years in the same school and class, the advantage to live in a small village. And then I think about whom I still have a real concrete relationship with… 1, 2, 3: 0. But, hey, hold on here, Facebook is here to remind me that we’re still friends even though we haven’t met in years.
Most people know how selective (and annoying) I am about facebook: roughly 200 so-called friends, really not that much considering that they are all people I know somehow and I have met in person. I am just annoyed by the F-words… I mean “friend” and “friendship”.
It reminds me of Jane Austen; I think I really love her writing because she uses a word that is disappearing slowly: acquaintance. And this is what I absolutely love about French, we have copain (m), copine (f), collègue (m&f), pote (m&f) and ami, of course. Not everybody is “mon ami(e)”. In fact I’ve only a few of them. I have a lot of (too many?) acquaintances, I have party-buddies and I have Friends. It’s a bit like being “The One” but in a distinctive way.
My friends are special, unique and are part of my Hard/Core: they get under my skin (ok, my armor) and have a particular spot in my heart, a bit like a car and its own garage. They’re also precious and unexpected, as seashells brought on the shore and waiting peacefully to be found, picked and kept somewhere.
I dedicate this post to whomever I consider being my friend and to whoever considered himself and/or herself being my friend.