On Friendship and F@#*-Wits

You know?  I forget sometimes how lucky I am.  (Well, no, I don’t really, but I feel that a certain show of humility is called for here.)

I know some people whose lives, if they were television shows, would resemble shows like Days of Our Lives – lots of melodrama, back-stabbing, infidelity, things like that.

My life, when I really think about it, is more like Sex and the City (but without the stupid clothes and with better makeup) or one of those other sappy, chick scenarios that make you weep on a semi-regular basis because there is just so damn much love going around.  Meaning I have really amazing friends, the kind that are sweet and kind and are there for you in the good and the bad, the kind that hug every time we say good-bye, who say ‘love you’ pretty much every time we talk.  A little nauseating, yes, I admit, but better than the alternative, apparently.  Because who’d have thought this was not a normal thing?

Up until recently, I actually thought the ‘frenemy’ phenomenon was something dreamed up by the daytime drama scriptwriters.  I really did!  But lately I’ve been watching one of my friends (a new-ish friend, but someone I like very much) going through some crazy-ass frenemy stuff with the crowd she spends most of her time with.

I was going to say it’s like junior high…but truthfully, I had really good friends in junior high, too.  In fact, I still have most of them in my life now.

I guess what I don’t understand is this:

Why be friends with people you don’t trust?  Or like all that much?  Or whatever.  If someone is always picking fights with you, if they make you feel crappy, if they stress you out, or if they are nasty or jealous or just plain tiresome…why bother?  I mean, with almost seven BILLION people on this planet, I’m thinkin’…you can probably do better!

None of us are perfect.  My friends are total kooks.  But they know it and they know I know it.  They feel the same about me.  One of my oldest friends gave me a decorative plaque for Christmas that alluded to this, actually…and it made me laugh my ass off.

As for the frenemy thing – I’m willing to bet that these folks love each other, too…because I don’t think you can get that worked up or expend that amount of emotional energy over someone you don’t care something about.  I just wonder about the functionality of the manifestation of that love.  Kind of that “I only hit you because I love you, baby”, it’s-all-fun-and-games-until-someone-ends-up-in-jail kind of love.

So what do we do when we see someone we care about caught up in something like this?

Well, I’m torn.  Part of me wants to clunk their respective heads together like coconuts and tell them to get their shit together and play nice.  Part of me wants to run the fuck away as fast as possible (to have a nice cold beer with my friends).  Part of me wants to laugh and exploit it by writing a tv drama about it (“Bridgewater B4V 1A9”?)

But most of me just wants to make them a sammich and tell them to come party with me and my friends so they can see how it’s done.

Published in: on February 9, 2009 at 1:36 am  Comments (3)  
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Facebook’s Not So Bad, Really

*WARNING:  This post contains massive doses of syrup and sap.  If you are an emotional diabetic or are expecting something along the lines of my usual jaded sarcasm, you may be in for a disappointment.  Come back next week when my hormones have leveled out.

 

I admit, I joined Facebook under duress.  A guy I’d been seeing convinced me to join so we could keep in touch while he went to school in another province, and well, I’m weak.  So I did it, even though I was wary of networking sites, which seemed to me just another opportunity to expose my freak magnet.  I figured I would have exactly one person on my friends list and that would be that.  But it wasn’t long before I received a friend request from someone that was basically the first person on my real-life friends list – my best friend from childhood, who I hadn’t seen or spoken to in years.

Facebook had brought us together again – and as weird as it seems, after 30 years, not a whole lot has changed.  With Tracey, I somehow manage to simultaneously feel 7 years old and 37.  Our relationship has evolved to include booze and men (instead of boys) and children (for her), but it doesn’t feel like we’re all that different.  (Better clothes, though – it was the 70s, after all.)

Our Facebook friendship began with tentative comparisons of memories we had from back then, and then wisecracks exchanged over cut-throat online Scrabble games…and has now grown to include regular visits and nights of drunken debauchery.  And just as nice, I’ve made some great new friends through Tracey, people I was acquainted with as a child because they lived near her, and with whom I now frequently hang out even when Tracey goes home to Antigonish.

The reason for this rant down memory lane is that she is coming to town this weekend and we plan to get our face on, and I’m pretty excited because I’ve been spending a little too much time in my head these days and it will be nice to cut loose and get stupid.

Now, I’d had friends before Tracey, but Tracey became my Best Friend.  And pretty much my whole childhood is defined by memories that have her in there somewhere.

It started out rather dicey.  I was seven and my parents had just moved, so I was at a new school.  I was  playing ball outside the school when one of my throws went astray.  I watched in horror as the ball went through the air on a crash course toward this ultra-cool-looking girl leaning against the brick school wall.  She had the perfect perm and total attitude.  The ball hit her right in the head.  I braced myself, fully expecting her to kick my ass.

I have no idea what happened next, but she didn’t kick my ass, and the next thing I knew we were pretty much inseparable.  In fact, Tracey was the first person I actually loved, besides my family, my dog, Leif Garrett, and Andy Gibb.

Tracey was, throughout the rest of our elementary school days, the Most Popular Girl.  She was so cool that I was almost cool by association, simply because I was her best friend.  She had awesome hair, perfectly manicured fingernails (even in 4th grade), was always the girlfriend of either the No. 1 Cutest Boy or the No. 2 Cutest Boy (I got whichever one she wasn’t currently with), she dotted her i’s with little circles, she knew the lyrics to all the ABBA songs.  Even her mom was cool – single and glamorous, and she smoked and knew how to French-braid my hair, and even let us play with her makeup. 

When we were littler, time with Tracey was spent playing Barbies in my backyard or skipping rope, goofing off with my dog, things like that.  When Tracey slept over, she would sleep on a cot next to my bed instead of in the spare bedroom, so we could stay up half the night giggling and whispering in the dark.  We would fall asleep, clutching our Smurfs (I didn’t really like stuffed animals, but I wanted to be like Tracey) and holding hands across the gap between the beds.  (Awwwww…..* I warned you*)

I remember the sheer panic I felt when she had a severe bout of hay fever at my house once, and her face and eyes swelled up and her mother was called to come get her.  I was convinced she was going to die.

But it wasn’t long before we discovered boys and tunes and we were unstoppable.

I remember dancing all over the furniture in her living room to Billy Joel and early Madonna, which was particularly thrilling because my mother would have killed me if we’d done this at my house, and sitting on her kitchen counter with our feet in the sink, eating her invention of lettuce and peanut butter roll-ups (iceburg lettuce leaf, smeared with PB, rolled up).  Plastering our faces with massive amounts of blue and purple eyeshadow and pink lipstick and truly, actually believing we looked hot.

We published the first elementary school ‘newspaper’ together – a few pages of ‘gossip columns’ and fashion articles (drawings done by me based on Betty and Veronica comics), which we stuck to the class bulletin board and insisted everybody read.

We had frequent fake marriages at our school, where ‘brides’ carried bouquets made from wildflowers we picked in the forbidden woods at the edge of the school grounds and one of the boys who wasn’t the groom would act as minister.  Afterwards, a ‘Kissing License’ would be signed (a complex, four-page document on pink notepaper composed by Tracey and I, and painstakingly copied out by one of us in our best handwriting – including i’s dotted with circles).  The final part of the ceremony involved the carving of initials into the ‘Love Log’, a fallen tree in a cozy little nook at the edge of the forest.  Of course, Tracey and I, being realistic and modern women, also drew up divorce documents when required.

Yes, Tracey and I gave ‘boy crazy’ a whole new definition.  In a magazine we found, we discovered tips on how to seduce a man.  Can I hear a ‘WOOT’?  We spent an entire afternoon practicing our techniques before hitting the field.  I don’t remember all of the advice, but they included things such as running your finger around the rim of your glass while making eye contact across a crowded room, and the ‘flirty gaze’ (look into his eyes, close your eyes, then be looking away when you open them.  I swear to god.)  We were baffled by the fact that these tactics didn’t seem to work when we took them to school the next day. 

We would put on what we thought of as ‘sexy’ music (‘Like a Virgin’) in the background, and phone the boy we liked, using what we thought of as husky, sexy voices, fully expecting he would fall madly and passionately into obsession with us.  Instead, to our sultry inquiry of “What are you doooing?”, he replied something along the lines of, “Homework – what else would I be doing?”

Sadly, Tracey moved away right after we began junior high.  In those days before the Internet, keeping in touch just didn’t happen, and it would be 15 years before I saw her again.

One night I was at a bar in Halifax when I came face to face with her.  She was now grown-up, blonde, and shit-faced drunk, but it was her!  I said good-bye to my other friends and we took off to a table near the bar to catch up.  The rest of the night was filled with screams of “Oh my god!  Your hands look just like I remember them!”  and a lot of laughter.  

We chatted on the phone a few times after that, but at the time, she was in school and I was playing the lead in a demanding play, and well, you know how it is. 

But now, we have Facebook to thank for allowing our friendship to reach its natural drunken fruition.  On Saturday night we will drink too much, laugh too much, maybe steal a few souvenirs from whatever bar we end up in, continue to fill in the gaps about what we’ve missed of each other’s lives in the past few decades, and inevitably get mushy and babble to everyone we see about how we used to fall asleep holding hands as little girls.

Published in: on November 21, 2008 at 3:53 am  Comments (2)  
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Okay, Universe…We’re Cool. (For Now)

For those of you who don’t know, it was Thanksgiving here in Canada last weekend. 

Soooo, I’m a vegan.  From a very hang-loose kinda family.  (What this means is that my parents eat out on Thanksgiving…and they take the dog, not me.) 

BUT this does not mean that I am not in the spirit of the season. 

I got home the other morning to a voice mail from Keri, my best friend (I have several best friends – more about that in a future post).

Keri was calling in the wee hours to advise me that she had just seen a sappy chick flick (*whispered with a dash of embarassment*sexandthecity*) and she wanted to thank me for being her (*whispered with a pinch of embarassment*carriebradshaw*).  She may have been weeping a tiny bit.  And possibly shit-faced.  Whatever.

It got me thinking about gratitude.  And considering it is one of those saccharine holidays where such things are kind of expected, I figured it only fair that I bare my jugular and express my thankfulness.

So here we go.  (*Warning:  You may want to have a drink and/or a DVD of a particularly engaging episode of Buffy handy.)

Today, I am thankful for:

  • (Duh!)  Friends. 

    Me and Keri T.

    Keri T. and me (seems something resembling purple glitter nail polish got spilled on this at some point. Whatever.)

Friends who throw surprise pre-death funerals for you.  Friends who bring the cheesecake when you are sick.  Friends who know without asking where you keep the cat food when they house-sit for you.  Friends who send you antique hand-embroidered leather gloves in the mail for no particular reason, except that they are pretty and tiny and you are the only person they know with hands so small, and who would be willing to wear 60-year old clothing.  Friends who read your unpublished manuscripts and gush unabashedly even though you kind of suck because they truly believe you will make something of yourself one day.  Friends who track you down 30 years after you used to fall asleep together as little girls, holding hands and sucking your thumbs together…and then when you get drunk together as jaded and corrupt grown-ups, it’s like no time has passed. 

And new friends, who don’t get fooled by your bullshit and like you anyway. 

  • Jobs that don’t suck.

Jobs that finally, after so much exploration of the world, do not suck your soul.  Jobs that allow you to go home with a swollen feeling in your chest that reminds you of the Grinch at the end of the movie.  Jobs that let you spend time with people you really care about, and that let you help people you’ve never met, but at the end of the day, without knowing each other, you know that they will never forget you and you will never really forget them.   (For those of you who haven’t been following along, I’m an emergency dispatcher.  And no, you may NOT call 911 to reach me if you forget my phone number.  You will get in big trouble.  BIG.  TROUBLE.) 

  • Music. 

Well, except for country.  (No offense to anyone.) 

  • The ocean.    

This one should be obvious.   

  • Having been born so privileged.

 Some may say, “Well, you could have been royalty…you could have been a soop-ah star…” 

I am the luckiest chick in the world. 

I was born to cool parents (despite the fact that they are both completely out of their minds and are currently sleeping on a mattress on the floor of the dining room of their 6-bedroom home because their elderly dog can’t make it up the stairs anymore.  *more posts to follow on this one*

I was born in a liberal, beautiful, democratic (though most of us don’t take advantage of it), peace-loving, friendly country.  I have free health-care, clean water, freedom of speech/politics/religion, I have a wonderful education thanks to all of the above.  I am never hungry, I have choices some people born on this earth couldn’t even dream of.  I have enough that I can donate freely to charity without detriment to my ‘lavish’ lifestyle.  Think about that.  I beg you.

  • Books, communication, education. 

No matter where I am or what my circumstances, my world is only ever as small as my mind allows it to be.    

  • Nature.

I’m grateful I live in a place where I can see the water out my front window and the stars at night. 

  • Cheese recognition.

I’m ESPECIALLY thankful that I can recognize when I am getting sappy and dull, and so can change tracks on a dime.  THUS: 

  • Immaturity.

I am thankful that I got carded the other day, even though I am a rotten, withering, leperous hag of a certain age.  (And I would like to remind my American readers that the legal age in Nova Scotia is 18, not 21.  So, essentially, I am grateful that I rock.)

  • Snacks.

Thanks for chocolate-covered pretzels, because salty+sweet rocks.

  • Heyyawannahey?

I am grateful for sound, sight, taste, touch, scent (yeah, okay, I’m talkin’ about sex…)

  • Pretty dresses.

Because despite appearances (BAAHahaaahaha!), I am really quite shallow. 

  • And I’m grateful that you all are going to leave a comment telling me what makes you happy.  ‘Cause I lalalooooove comments. 

Be happy today for being you.  ‘Cause you – whoever you are – you undeniably rock.  You seriously do.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Published in: on October 16, 2008 at 2:02 am  Comments (2)  
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