Where are my new friends?

I’ve called all my friends. Preferring our memories to how we look today, we don’t Zoom. But I’m getting tired of my friends. We’re running out of things to say to each other about how our lives inside have been going.

We’ve shared suggestions for streaming television, some novels. Our views have started to differ. We’re feeling uncomfortable with each other’s inner fears. The tone in our voices is shifting. We grow distracted.

Maybe I need new friends, but how does one go about that during quarantine? It’s not like starting up a conversation with the person crouched next to you in a bomb shelter, or sharing a life raft as the waters rise.


We’ve joined in some business-like meetings, my old friends and I, where either all or some of our faces are seen, and the results tend to be half-jovial, as though we were all the best of friends in the best of situations. Or vaguely authoritarian, with certain people allowed to speak and others not.

It’s even hard to get the daily doses of flirtatious friendships that were once the norm for many lives. It’s hard to tell what’s what when all one’s getting is a quarter of a face, at most.

Maybe I’ll include my fellow Village Voices in this daily litany. John Burdick and Susan Barnett are my new best friends for the moment. We’ve got a perfect conversation building.

The afternoon light’s slow creep across my living-room floor shifts ever so slightly day to day. The bird sound differs each hour. The minutes of darkness shrink away.

Our dog, Berry, leans farther out the window as we drive around, searching out other four-legged creatures she can chatter at and dream of.

My son sleeps the same teen hours into the afternoon. When he wakes, in a few hours, this will be the day I ask Milo to teach me Fortnite. Maybe even Call of Duty. That’s where my other new friends must be.

Maybe I’ll take to driving with my own head out the window, chattering.

Read more installments of Village Voices by Paul Smart.