“We’ll always have the Diner”

(The following aint Zamboni, he’ll be back soon after his maple syrup 3-day immersion therapy)

French fries and gravy..

If you wanna talk you always got the guys at the Diner, you don’t need a girl if you wanna talk.

You told her, (didn’t you show her?)

Fenwick’s in the manger!:the smile of the week, definitely The Smile of The Week!

"You're gonna get coffee before we go to the diner and get coffee?"

You ever get the feeling there’s something going on we don’t know about?

Everything I learned in school I should have learned from Diner. I spent most of my late teens, early twenties not realizing the importance of friends. I thought it was about being social, having somone fun to pass the time with, excitement. I had more friends who were  women than men. I felt more comfortable with them. Of course there was always the underlying excitement and  possibilty of more. I confused this with friendship. These connections always broke because feelings started to overflow the  borders, invariably it got messy. I never could figure it out, or just never tried that hard. Maybe Checkov was right, you can only be friends with a woman after you’ve been lovers first. Or maybe it just takes more maturity than I have. Besides one amazing woman from way back in college days, I’ve never been good at the old friends with women thing.

In the words of George Michael, I should have known better. It was  in my junior year I discovered Diner and watched it with my little circle of guy friends numerous times. We wrote it down word for word. We went to all night diners and drank way too much coffee, pissing off waitresses asking for french fries and gravy, and cherry cokes,  then reciting dialogue from the film.

I had a best friend in high school, Sean,  in fact we were best friends since third grade, like brothers. In high school we opened up our dyad to include a few others. They seemed to feed off our close connection and we became a tight foursome, often fivesome- no accident  we became obsessed with a movie about a very close fivesome of guys in Baltimore in 1959. Five friends clinging to each other on the eve of both their inevitable adulthood and the huge social changes about to take place in their still just barely buttoned down world.

Another irony is that this was the last moment before sex and love in all it’s multi-armed-goddess might and glory stepped to the forefront of our lives. Adolescence for me, and maybe other guys, is basically one long hangout with your buddies while you wait to lose your virginity. After you do, there’s less to talk about and less time since you’re now busy trying to lose it over and over again. We should have learned from the movie that it was more than clever dialogue and great retro tunes- it was trying to tell us, “hey idiots, keep these friendships, there the ones that last…girls have a way of coming and going..”

We didn’t. I didn’t. Sean and I went out in a blaze of gory after a great run into our late twenties. I’m sure I was to blame. I’m sure he was to blame. I’m sure it had everything to do with all the years before and maybe not so much to do with a nasty letter, ugly words- who knows. The fact is, it was like losing a brother who was  also a best friend, a role model, an idol..if I went on i’d probably excavate more root causes and, well,  this isn’t therapy is it? Don’t answer that.

I’m at peace with it now, but I still watch Diner, and still love it, still yearn for the old friends. The ones you have a private language with. The ones who get your eyebrow raises, your smirks.. the small stuff. Enough inside terms and code words to fill a dictionary with.

Now my son asks to watch Diner every Christmas. He’s  10 but he gets it. I hope he keeps it with him, and I hope we’ll always have the Diner.