Friday, May 15, 2009

Here's to you, kid.

Posted by revolutionaire. at 6:19 PM
Because I don't have any other photos of us on my laptop, here's a screen shot of a picture of Susan, Ryan, and myself after a dinner at 'Your Neighborhood Applebee's.' 

Ryan and I met a few years ago through a college newspaper class. He was responsible for updating the newspaper's website; but aside from that, was not part of the course. I was a new student, and objected to the seemingly blase attitude our teacher had toward Ryan's absences, despite his strict attendance policy for the rest of the students. 

It wasn't until I cornered Ryan, still virtual strangers, and asked what his "deal" was that I actually learned he wasn't really a student in the class. That explained the teacher's indifference. And Ryan earned the new nickname, "Phantom" for the simple fact that no one ever witnessed his presence, but there were always signs that he had recently been present. 

That was several years ago, and since then we've continually grown closer. These days he's one of my best friends -- one I talk to routinely and one of very few that knows pretty much everything there is to know about me (everything interesting and important anyway). 

About two years ago (I think) I approached him about writing a program that my employer could use to track their members' contact information and work history. He and I put our heads together and he ended up writing a program that the labor union I work for can no longer function without. 

About two days ago he graduated as an Electrical Engineer from the University of Central Florida and began his latest journey with a brand new employer -- where he'll have his own office, with his name on the door, and two interns working for him (eventually) in Huntsville. 

So here I sit, reflecting on that last few years; thinking about how our friendship has changed me and, actually, even opened doors career-wise for me. I think about the things I probably wouldn't know or have ever considering learning if it weren't for him, for his willingness to learn things, and for his confidence that if I want to learn something, I can. He's beyond fathomably intelligent, and that's not even to toot his horn (he'll do that himself). He's beyond fathomably intelligent, yet he's more capable than anyone else I know of putting things in the simplest terms for someone less intelligent to understand (someone like me, for instance -- although I'm not too terribly unintelligent myself -- toot, toot.). 

I think about what it was like when he lived in Gainesville. We went to the O'Dome to watch the Gators National Championship game on the big screens with tens of thousands of other students and fans. Sometimes we'd get together with friends and do nothing. I remember sitting in his Gainesville apartment listening to him read Chuck Norris facts aloud. 

We've never had one of those friendships that required activities. Although our trip to Busch Gardens, Tampa was fun and eye-opening. Going to Busch Gardens with Ryan, an electrical engineer, means if you're remotely interested in the logistics and physics of roller coasters (like I am), he'll gladly explain things to you. For me, this means I'll never visit a roller coaster park and view things the same way. In this sense, and others, Ryan has forever changed me.

But now he's earned himself this amazing opportunity to do the precise line of work he wants to do and he's moving nine hours away. And what does he do? He gets a 2/2 apartment so that WHEN his friends come visit, there'll be an extra place to sleep. Apparently he knows me too well, because there's no question I'm coming to see him the first chance I get. 

I sit here and think about all that he's accomplished in his life thus far and I can't think of anyone else in my life, my age, that compares. I don't think there is such a person. He inspires, and will continue to do so -- even from Huntsville. Because a nine hour drive isn't going to keep us from being friends. 

As crappy as it is that one of my best friends is moving nine hours away, I can't complain. He's getting ready to live his dream... or one of them. He's accomplished so much and worked hard to reach this place and I could never be so selfish to wish he didn't move. 

I'm so proud of him, that even as a fan of the English language, I cannot find words. 

Here's to you, Ryan. 

xoxo, I'll see you in Huntsville.

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