Posts tagged ‘close friendship’
i was watching the dvd commentary for the tv show, “parenthood,” and it talked about how every show is based on a fantasy. i think the fantasy of “parenthood” is being close to your brothers and sisters when you grow up.
the fantasy that hooks me every time is super-close friendship– particularly the kind that bonds a bunch of girls or women together– “the baby-sitters club,” “little women,” “sisterhood of the traveling pants,” “the fabulous five,” “sleepover friends,” “golden girls,” “designing women,” “the gilmore girls,” and of course, “sex and the city.” i think i could get into something similar about guys, but that rarely happens. “the broken hearts club?” “queer as folk?”… “how i met your mother”?… but anyway, the kind of “talk about anything over brunch, be there when you are sad, make each other laugh, know each other so well” friendship is my big tv fantasy.
with moving around so much, i haven’t had a lot of it. i definitely had it in college, but since then, it takes so long to get close to someone, and all that grownup busy-ness crap that keeps you from collapsing on each other’s couches at 2 in the morning and going out for brunch on a tuesday morning and just stopping by makes it hard.
part of it is that, although i am pretty good at reaching out when i am sad, i’m also bad about what to do with other people’s needs. my social awkwardness makes it difficult for me to reach out and plan things for fear of bothering people… there’s the quaker meeting which has been wonderful, and as a big, rich, thick safety net of wonderful people, it’s wonderful, but after 5 1/2 years, i’m still quaker bff-less. which is probably okay.
but anyway, things have been really hard for my girlfriend and me since 2012 started. not our relationship, that’s really amazing, but some crappy circumstances have hit us really hard. and so, i’ve been calling people. “can you come over? we are sad.” and the people i’ve called have been wonderful. it turns out i do have “sex and the city” friends. they’re my girlfriend’s friends too– in fact that is what has made me brave enough to call them. because i know she is wonderful and always trust that of course people will be there for her. maybe i’m a bit more like big at the end of the first movie when he calls her friends up to surprise her and they all eat together, but that’ll work, too.
(actually, we’ve decided we are charlotte and harry. “not all day every day. but every day.”)
it’s one in the afternoon.
i’m bleary-eyed and foggy after a week-long trip to the pacific northwest, going broke on donuts and coffee and cute independently produced art. my back is cramped from too many types of beds and my sinuses are going crazy.
but the trip was amazing. it was amazing to see all of the wonderful places i used to know so well. olympia has really barely changed, and then as we were driving out of seattle in the pouring rain, i thought that i could have just as easily wrapped myself in coffee and KEXP as i did when I was 23 years old.
we saw people, but just a select few. those selections always make me feel guilty, but if i saw all of the people i wanted to see in all of the places we spent a day and a half, i would be even less functional today than i am, and i would have been a basketcase all trip, trying to coordinate schedules and transportation. instead, it was just 1 or 2 sets of folks each place. and that was perfect. except for that whole leaving people out thing. someday. someday there will be infinite time to see all of the dear ones. (that’s what facebook is for, right?)
i miss it all, you know. that’s the trouble with me and all the moving i’ve done. there’s always someone to love, but there’s also always someone to miss. there are places that stay achingly the same and there are places that change beyond recognition so you’re afraid of going back. and there are people who hug the same and people who talk the same and people who have lost weight and people who are now in love and people who still knit and people who make you laugh until you cry and people you want to stay up talking to past 3 am and people who have known you since you were a person who embarrasses you now… and i’d like to have you all in my pocket or as my upstairs neighbor, but instead you are flung out and scattered like the stars.
there’s also the way that social networking websites can be pretty crazy-making. for example, a few years ago, i found myself trying to contact my best friend from grades 2-4. i wanted to reach out to her but was terrified about all of the changes that had occurred for me, so found myself sending her a message on myspace with something cryptic like, “how would you feel if you found out your childhood best friend was now a boy?” sometimes i am unintentionally creepy. anyway, i didn’t hear anything back from her and decided our friendship was officially shot and she was officially skeeved out, etc., etc. i don’t know why i think it’s a good idea to send messages to long lost friends at two in the morning or why i think that my worked-up insecurities about those messages are based anywhere in reality.
finally, recently, i decided to brave it again. i was clearer this time, although the insecurity bred from the last lack of reciprocation was definitely clear in the message. i really really wanted to renew the friendship, but i knew that there were any number of reasons that that might not be possible or desirable for my childhood best friend, friend thirty-four, “amy b.”
but fortunately she responded, excitedly, agreeing that these reconnections are the whole purpose of facebook. currently we are politically very similar, we are both engaged, and we are both trying to focus on writing, so those are nice commonalities to have. and then there are the many many memories of the time in our life when the world was much more touched with magic than it is now. this is the girl i spent hours digging on the playground to try to unearth what we thought was a triceratops bone but what was really the cement that anchored part of the play structure. this is the girl who i cried over songs like “somewhere out there” and “the greatest love of all” with. this is the girl who told me all about the land of mordor while i told her about a red-haired orphan and we plotted running away and starting a bakery. this is the girl who convinced me there was an alien in my shower and who listened to me describe my theory that i was actually an alien dropped from my cradle at the same time an earth baby was dropped from its cradle. this is the girl who was convinced with me, that our substitute teacher who was reading us the witches by roald dahl was in fact a witch (but a good one), herself (to this day, i swear she must have at least put some sort of black substance in her mouth to help lead us to that conclusion). this is the girl who vied with me to get the new german student to kiss one of us under the play structure. this is the girl who sang with me on the swings. this is the girl that the yard attendant had to mediate many of my arguments with, due to our cockamamy theories, her creative tendencies, and my taurean stubbornness. she was the cece bloom to my hilary whitney.
in 5th grade, i moved away and she started going to the school for the gifted. when i came back, i wanted to apply to that school but it wasn’t in the cards. we had a few hangout sessions but adolescent awkwardness had set in, and her world was so much different from mine and i was a little intimidated. so after i stopped going to practices for the local youth choir, we lost touch. at some point in high school, i almost wrote a letter to the address that was still engrained in my memory. when i went to college, i met friend eighteen who had also gone to the school for the gifted, and i picked her brain about friend thirty-four. and after a few google searches, i finally braved contact the aforementioned awkward time. and then, finally, i did it in a slightly more socially competent and confident way, and now we are back in touch. hurray!
this project makes me a feel a little bit like a gushy, loosy-goosy victorian girl, clutching each of you to my chest, crowing in effusive italics.
so i’m curious, what makes a close friendship for you? how do you define it? how many do you have? how many do you think it’s possible to have?
and the eternal question– does the internet bring us closer together or farther apart?
i loved getting people out of the woodwork with my last question. join them! answer this one! or go back and answer that one! or comment on another post!