SAN DIEGO — Friendship is Love without his wings.
--From "L'Amitie Est l'Amour
a poem by Lord Byron
Maybe people only ask you how you're doin', because that's easier than lettin' on how little they could care. But when you know that you've got a real friend somewhere, suddenly all the others are so much easier to bear.
--From "The Late Show,"
a song by Jackson Browne
Dave Winfield, the power-hitting outfielder for the New York Yankees, once said that San Diego was a cultural cul-de-sac, its own little corner of America where everyone did pretty much their own thing without the rest of the country knowing or even caring.
The remark felt unusually harsh at the time because Winfield was then an outfielder with the San Diego Padres. He clearly wanted to flee, and did.
Despite its gruffness, Winfield's comment is interesting in the context of friendship. Yes, friendship. So many people in San Diego hail from so many places other than San Diego. Do any two native San Diegans really know one another--if, that is, you can find two?
Native or not, who are the friends of those who live here? Who are their best friends? Did you move to San Diego because a best friend lived here? Most likely, no.
Many will say even now that while they live in this cultural cul-de-sac, doing pretty much their own thing, someone somewhere cares, in the way that only a best friend can. Unfortunately, the best friend of all too many San Diegans lives in Akron, Beacon, Bangor or Boston, as opposed to Julian or Lemon Grove.
Nevertheless, many are quite content to be here and remain here, Dave Winfield notwithstanding. They live here partly because of a best friend, as opposed to tolerating San Diego in spite of a close chum living elsewhere.
For San Diegans like the following pairs, the best friend they hope to reach out and touch is but a warm embrace--rather than a phone call--away.
Linda Vandevere, 23, and Lori McDermott, 24, both petty officers second class, North Island Naval Air Station:
Vandevere: "One reason I think Lori and I like each other is that we're normal. We find it difficult to find normal people like us. There's so many screwed-up individuals in the world, with so many diverse problems. We don't have drug problems, we're not overweight, not depressed about too many things . . . We have good families, we're close to our brothers and sisters; we share a lot of experiences that way. We have similar values and beliefs."
McDermott: "I like everything about Linda. In Florida, she introduced me to the man who became my husband. We like to shop, we like to eat and cook. We run together. We have basically the same ideas about everything. Our morals and values are very similar."
Vandevere: "Lori is my biggest backup system next to my family. We also live together. I live with her and her husband. We met in (Navy) school, in Orlando, Fla., in 1984. We've been in close touch ever since."
McDermott: "Because of our Navy assignments, we'll be separated again in May of 1988. I suppose we'll have very large phone bills. Linda is like my sister, so I know we won't lose touch. Linda is always somebody to lean on."
Vandevere: "My husband and I are going through a divorce right now. I wouldn't have made it without Lori. It's a godsend she's here. Financially, there's no way I could have handled my divorce without the love of her and her husband. Lori picked me up out of the pits of depression and desperation. There were so many times I was crying so hard. We're never at a loss with each other. We don't shut up sometimes. We're like a couple of cackling hens."
Eric Sievers, 29, and Pete Holohan, 28, both tight ends, San Diego Chargers:
Sievers: "We met each other at the East-West Shrine Game our senior year in college. We thought we'd end up on other (professional) teams, or never be drafted at all. We just didn't think we'd see each other. So then we were drafted by the same team (the Chargers), at the same position. Incredible. We really don't feel competition from each other, since our roles are so different. I'm much more of a blocking tight end, Pete a receiving tight end."
Holohan: "If it is competition, it's healthy competition. We work out together in the off-season and push each other like crazy."
Sievers: "We're always asking each other how the other one looks, how the other one's playing on the field. It's always positive reinforcement--we're always watching out for each other. We were both a little worried when the Chargers drafted Rod Bernstine No. 1 this year. 'Oh, no,' we said, ' another tight end.' We were worried over which of us was gonna go. It wasn't a secure spot. There's not a lot of security in this business anyway, so we share that fear. But both of us have endured seven years, playing the same position on the same team. Incredible."