I’m finally back in Salt Lake City. Kels and I just hauled all my stuff across the country in my little Toyota Corolla and just finished unpacking in our new place.
A trip of a lifetime has finally come to a close. My two brothers and me traveled to New Jersey to Ireland to Paris to Brussels to Amsterdam to Berlin to Prague and back to Ireland and back to New Jersey.
It was nuts. We had so much fun, but the real interesting part was how well we all got along. I mean, we have an awesome relationship with one another, but when you put people together in close spaces for 30+ straight days and add in alcohol, navigation issues, and some language barriers, even the best of friends would be ready to throw hands.
Yet we had nothing. No arguments. No brawls. No irritability.
When my brother’s and I were growing up we always used to go spend summers with our dad wherever he was that particular summer.
No matter where he was living at the time, we usually scheduled out a few days to go up to Maine, where his side of the family would congregate and rent out cottages by the lake. It was a lot of fun.
One year, we were planning on skipping our Maine visit… until we weren’t. We made the last minute decision to make the run up in his Dodge Durango to visit with the family. Unfortunately, because of the last minute decision there was little room for us to sleep.
So me and my bros had to lay down the back seats of the Durango, lay side-by-side with a sleeping bag drooped over us. My dad reclined back in the front seat.
Talk about a bonding experience.
Now, if you know anything about Maine, you know that the state bird is the mosquito. So we had two options:
- Keep the windows up and profusely sweat from body heat and circulating breath from 4 humans piled into a Durango, or
- Roll down the windows to cool off and get eaten alive by mosquitos.
Pick your poison.
My brothers and I had a lot of these “bonding” moments growing up. We’d have to entertain each other and make up games while we spent hours wondering around Wake Forest University waiting for my dad to get off work.
We’d have to give each other hugs when all we wanted to do was throw hands because “friends come and go but family will always be there.” Have you ever tried hugging somebody while your blood is boiling and all you want to do is hit him? It’s anger management at it’s finest.
My mom had a strict “no hitting” rule. NEVER were we allowed to physically hurt each other. My dad had a “figure it out” rule because there was no freaking television or relaxing during summers when he was a kid in Dorchester, Massachusetts.
Nah, you either went down to Waney Park to play basketball on the shards-of-glass-covered courts or you were down in Quincy Market selling papers for 8 cents a paper. Oh, you’re bored? Yeah, that’s a luxury problem. Figure it out.
So we did.
There are not many people I could have been constantly been around for that amount of time, in that limited of space, and not have had at least some speed bumps.
My relationships with my brothers are a few the strongest relationships I have in my life.
Why? Because we went through the shit together. We’ve had the fights. We’ve seen the anger, the tears, the joy, and the pain.
We all want strong relationships in life without the work that strong relationships require.
People want girlfriends/boyfriends but don’t want to deal with the tears, the uncomfortable conversations, the insecurities, and the flaws of another.
People want solid friendships, but don’t want to inconvenience themselves when a friend needs help moving or needs a ride to the airport an hour away.
Real relationships take investment. Real relationships take inconveniencing yourself every once in awhile. Real relationships requiring hugging somebody when you want to punch them.
Then one day, you’ll find yourself in Prague with a plate of fish with it’s head and eyes still on it, and a round of large beers for $4.80, and laughing about that one time we all slept in that Dodge Durango.