One thing I've discovered after three months of riding my motorcycle across the country, is that friends are not necessarily who I thought they were.
I mean, we all have friends.
But there are friends who will call you or keep in touch with you somehow no matter where you are. Even if they can't be with you physically, they still want to stay touch with you in some form or another.
So before I left San Diego, I had friends that I rode with. We called each other, often to arrange a group ride, or just to get folks together to hang out somewhere. But now that I'm out of town, indefinitely, I don't get calls from them. At best, I get comments or Likes on my Facebook posts, and even then it's not often.
To be fair, I don't really call them on the phone either. Perhaps you get what you give.
But moving away from a permanent residence is a great way to find out who really cares about you. And maybe by moving away I've discovered that I'm a poor friend.
On the other hand, I've been like this my entire life. Solitude has been my comfort, as I don't socialize very well. I find it difficult to engage in conversation, and do better at expressing myself in writing. Being on the road and never putting down roots seems to feel at home to me for that very reason.
Friendships exist in varying degrees like anything else. The more you put into a friend, the more he or she pays you back. I'd be happy to put more into the friends I had, except I always had this thought in my head that I was bothering them. I didn't want to be the guy that people didn't want to have around. So, I left them alone.
I had thought that my friends would post comments on Road Pickle, or even this blog, Motorcycle Philosophy, but they don't, and I wonder why that is. Are they also concerned about bothering me? Or did I just not invest much of myself into those friendships? Or do I have a habit of friending people who don't comment on blogs?
I guess that's an insecurity of mine.
Somehow, it has influenced my decision to make motorcycling a major part of my life.
Part of the equation is that a couple of years ago I divorced my first wife, shed some of the facades I hid behind, and made myself a little more transparent. I remarried to a woman who did the same thing. The friends we used to have were people who liked our old selves. Now that we're more focused on the being the real people we are inside, much of those people don't like what they see.
But despite the cold, silent demeanor I often put forth, I'm really quite the opposite inside. I yearn for companionship, for friends that I can open up and share the more intimate sides of me. I have much to tell to someone interested in making an investment in one another. But again, my social skills are poor.
I often wonder how many other motorcycle riders are like me. Is this a characteristic of people who leave everything behind and spend their lives riding across the country? Am I subconsciously running away from my insecurities, or am I testing my friends to find out who really cares?