we go many years back – the years when mIRC was the funniest way to spend our night shifts together, even funnier than AoE (I) and Quake (II). he was still a student, but working already, and i had just quit my second-long job ever, except this one in the office. we were colleagues for half a year or so.
then we lost sight of each other for a couple of years, and i don’t remember how we met again. online, first – this time YM had replaced mIRC – and then, occasionally, over a coffee. but our chat had become a daily habit, lately.
in all these many years, and even after a new year’s eve together, we still aren’t what you might call close friends – there are many things, including the most basic, we don’t know about each other. and he used to be younger than i am, which added to the understanding barrier between us. i can’t explain why we kept trying to lift that barrier, and i doubt he can, too.
sadly, he just got as old as i am. not by crossing an imaginary threshold, like 20, or 30, or 40. he’s old because he’s no longer young. here’s why.
among other things, he used to be a biker. he might even still be a biker, or become a biker again, sometimes in the future. his beloved ‘lil’ sour cherry‘, a red bmw, is now a wreck beyond repair, he tells me. he had an accident, a couple of days ago, and both his arms are plastered and fixed with metal rods on the outside, fastened with screws penetrating into the bones. (absolutely hideous. i’ve seen that on patients who weren’t my friends, years ago, when i had the accident that ultimately led me to opening the office. it gives me the goose skin just to think of it. i hope to find the force to go see him some day, though i’m afraid it would almost make me cry.)
his nickname for the old mIRC was ‘nobody’. i even entered him as ‘nobo’ in my YM list, and his real name remained unknown to my ol’podna for many years. of course, there were easy jokes now and then, like the cheap title above. mIRC had this feature, allowing the users to write /me [action], which resulted in the displaying of the text ‘me action’. for instance, if your nickname were ‘nobody’, and you wrote /me asked you, the others would have seen ‘nobody asked you’.
now his accident was not that serious, it will not leave serious physical consequences on the long run. it might not be very long until he could afford another second-hand bike. he still is younger than me, in absolute terms. but he said he’s going to find another hobby, and he joked about pottery or something. it broke my heart, because i felt he just got old. he’s not legally married and he’s not a father, like i am, but neither is he a lot of other things anymore.
even if he will ride again, some day, and though he was never reckless on the road, and he was a ‘satanist’ only in our jokes – anyone who loves metal rock and rides a motorbike is implicitly a satanist, no? – he now has to worry about the new job he started just a couple of days before the accident. he must rely on his girlfriend’s and mother’s and even ‘mother-in-law’s help and care. he must consider what to do if he’s accepted to yet another, even better job for which he recently sustained an interview. when one ‘must’ so many things, one’s no longer young and free and unharmed by fear and pain.
/me felt not that old when nobody was younger