Kameradschaft. Kameraadschap. Cameratismo. Kamratskap. Or my favourite: compañerismo. The American Heritage Dictionary says:
Goodwill and lighthearted rapport between or among friends.
The word has its roots in comrade
, which is from the Latin camarada
, “roommates, especially barrack mates.”
I had an interesting email conversation tonight with an old friend of mine from my Ontario days. He’s in Texas now, and I’m here on the Island. The heart of our conversation was the camaraderie that so infused our earlier lives which, to one extent or another, we’re missing in our current situations.
It’s not that we’re socially bereft now: we both have a good collection of close friends. It’s just that somehow the camaraderie of our twenties — the “goodwill and lighthearted rapport” between roommates and friends and fellow travellers had a quality all its own.
Part of what we were talking about the closing scenes of the movie Notting Hill where a group of friends — perhaps the ideal groups of friends — are careening around London together, crammed into a car that’s too small to hold them all; my Texan friend summed it up like this:
It’s funny, it just occurred to me that the Peterborough gang you are describing is sort of like the people in [that] car. That’s what it was like -
we were all in this car, sometimes literally like when I had my Dodge Ram van that could seat eleven people… and we would go swimming or to the market - but it’s almost like the gang was like that in
other ways - a casual kitchen conversation could turn into a play or a film festival or a political rally or an outing or who knows what… but always that
problem of categorizing, always something in the back of your mind going “I’m in a car with a bunch of crazy people and I don’t even know where we
are going” so what? Enjoy the ride.