It seems crazy but you can become friends "for life" with people you spend a week with on vacation. Why this happens, I don't know.
I'm reminded of it because on Sunday, I had dinner with Barry and Viv from Tampa. We met years ago on a skating vacation. Shortly after that trip, I had business in Tampa and stayed at their house for two days. Viv and I lounged in the backyard pool and talked plants and gardening and other important topics.
When they visited Washington the next year, we went to an Ethiopian restaurant in Adams Morgan and pushed spongy bread around a huge platter of delectable spreads. Barry and I skated in Rock Creek Park.
Then we lost touch for several years. Out of the blue I get an email from Viv a couple of weeks ago: "We're coming to Washington. Are you around?"
We arranged to meet at La Tasca on 7th Street. On the phone, Viv asked if I'd recognize her and Barry. What a silly question. We spotted each other on the street and hugged hello. Inside we shared tapas and caught each other up on our lives.
The next day, I got an email from Viv, responding to my "good seeing you" email. "You know," she wrote, "we feel that we really did 'bond' with you and that you are special to us. Sometimes people get to know each other more in five days than they can in five years."
And that's all it was. Five days together. Five days
of skating, eating, making clog jokes, touring a skating museum, a
cheese factory, a tile factory. Eating pannekoeken. And here we are. Making plans for dinner and a show this Friday as if we were just hanging out last week.
They fly back to Florida the next day. After that, who knows? We may not see one another for years. Or we'll be emailing regularly again. Either way, the bond remains.
I'm not saying it happens on every trip. Nor that you even necessarily always like most of the people on a trip.
But I have three sets of friends in the Barry/Viv category. And maybe others I'm not thinking of at the moment. People I've spent just a few days or weeks with on vacation. People who, if I were ever in Nova Scotia, Tampa or San Francisco, I could call and say, "Hey, are you around? I'm in town..."
Photo: "Class picture," Netherlands skating group. Barry and Viv, second and third from left, middle row.