This following is a snippet of my last telephone conversation with my best friend Ari, who happens to be the most inspiring, gifted, unique, and important person I have ever known.
“I think I am going to finish my intensive exploration of philosophy, the American Revolution, and Marxism until November, and then…Are you ready for this? I am going to buy a van, drive up to Mt. Hood and spend Monday through Friday learning how to snowboard whilst living in the van all winter.”
“How Dharma Bums of you.” I said with a tinge of jealousy.
I have been sitting in front of this screen for the last thirty minutes unable to begin. There is so much I want to say about Ari, but nothing seems good enough. Every beginning seems inadequate to describe the role that this person plays in my life. I take my friendships very seriously. My closest friends are the same ones that I made in high school. I have no time or patience for superficial friendships that lack depth. Having lived overseas for the last few years, I am finally realizing how important friendship, particularly the one with Ari, is to me.
We not only share many interests from art, to politics, to film, to literature, to music, to photography, to spirituality, to pop-culture, but we share the most important thing: Ari and I simply put are hungry. We are hungry to know, to question, to learn, to grow, and I think that we see this hunger in each other, and it forces us to persist in expecting more form each other and ourselves. We have established a very healthy non-competitive contest, in which each person is responsible to motivate, inspire and teach the other person to never let the passion for life, we have so successfully cultivated, decline.
Besides being the best poet, writer and photographer, I know, Ari has a talent for finding old furniture and refurbishing it into a beautiful piece of art. It is Ari’s ability to find meaning and beauty in things that others see as decaying or waste, that I find so satisfying.
Another one of Ari’s traits that I admire is his ability to bring depth to every topic he explores. Ari and I can spend two hours discussing a lyric or a guitar riff. Sometimes, when we lived together in NYC, we would pause whatever film we were watching to discuss the camera shots, the lighting, or any exceptional piece of writing that may have come from the screen. He is a true student, because he is authentically interested in knowledge and meaning. Nothing is too petty to be passed up by his mental microscope.
There is no other person in the world who understands me as well as Ari. I often think that he knows me better than I know myself, and it his insight into my personality that I look for when we talk. He often says that I have helped him become who he is, but I cannot imagine my life without him being a part of it. Women are allowed the luxury of having intensive, close, deep relationships with their friends, but we men are expected to maintain only surface level, shallow, superficial, gruff, and masculine friendships. I am so thankful that we have both realized the futility of maintaining friendships that go nowhere. I am blessed to have been able to get this close to another human being. After all isn’t this connection what friendship is all about? At its root authentic understanding and communication is the foundation of a lasting peace. I hope the time comes soon when Ari and I will be living in the same city again. Because alone we are good, but together we are unstoppable. This post did not do what I hoped it would, but maybe this picture will. I miss you so much Ari and your influence on my life is a daily phenomenon.