I used to be really good at keeping in touch. I know the value of you snail mail. I can bang out emails in record time and I’m not sure that the ignition in my car actually turns unless I’m talking on my phone. I remembered birthdays and bought funny cards and occasionally made mix cds.
But. These days. Not so much.
Maybe it all went out the window when I had kids, but I’m thinking this probably happened before that. I am really good at maintaining with people that live in my area code, but for the ones that don’t I struggle to keep up. I forget birthdays. Even in the age of facebook where it reminds you days in advance. I rarely call old friends and emails are few and far between. And facebook is supposed to make all this easier. But mainly it is just easier to feel like I am keeping in touch. Maintaining. When I’m really not. Because I can creep their page and look at their pictures and I think I know what is going on. And if they want to know about me. They can just read my blog.
But my in-person everyday friends know that there is a lot more to it than that. A lot of what I write gets edited down. Not for grammar so much (obviously) but because I am not quite as out there as I seem. And I still spend ridiculous amounts of time on the phone. And writing silly emails. But when I want to call someone and tell them the crazy ridiculous thing that just happened to me at Starbucks, I’m more likely to call someone I see all the time. If I just saw them ten minutes ago it is somehow easier to jump right into that conversation than if it has been a month. Or a year. Or even 10.
I have a few friends that I can slip easily back into conversations now matter how long it has been. And I love that. But that is rare. Usually old friends require some catching up first. And that can be exhausting. And boring. And this girl who never stops talking or typing, never knows what to say for the fill in.
Over the weekend I recieved an email from one of my favorite friends from high school. And she refuses to facebook or read blogs or any of those things. Even though she ALWAYS remembers birthdays and holidays and is pretty much better at it than I am. It was a rare treat to see her name in my inbox. And she invited me to fill her in. To catch up. And I wasn’t sure what to say. Which is ridiculous. Because all kinds of things have happened since the last time we talked via email. Last September. But not really in big stuff. I mean, I live in the same place, work at the same place, married to the same guy, have the same kids and big picture things are mostly the same. Thankfully.
And I kept thinking about this post: http://mwfseekingbff.com/2011/03/22/does-a-bff-really-need-to-be-local/ and especially the linked essay by ann patchett. I’ve read it a dozen times even though I was never a huge Sex and the City fan. And this paragraph might be my favorite.
Of course, I still see my friends, but now we have an agenda. There's always a lot to catch up on, so we need to get down to business. The hallmark of the friendships of youth, like the ones that Carrie and her friends share, was that we had no business at all. Rare was the phone call that came with any reason attached to it. And that's my idea of real intimacy: it's not the person who calls to say, ''I'm having an affair''; it's the friend who calls to say, ''Why do I have four jars of pickles in my refrigerator?'' It is the minutia, the willingness to offer up every detail, that marks the bond between women, whereas men seem to prefer to bond over something rather than nothing, to have an activity when they get together. Do men ever have a three-hour lunch and then walk around looking in store windows as an excuse to just keep talking?
And I miss my friend Shannon because I haven’t seen her in years. We cheated our way through PreCal (both with As by the way) and tried to outdo each other in AP Biology and on the tennis courts. We spent hours listening to music, driving around, wrapping houses, crushing on boys and drinking cheap strawberry wine. We had a crappy part time job together and would say ridiculous things over the intercom (bad enough things that I can’t type them here!). We went to prom and homecoming and sadie hawkins together (well not together, we always had male dates but in big fun groups). And during college, she came to visit me in Lubbock and I went to visit her in Austin. We were in each other’s weddings. But these days the emails are pretty sporadic. The last time I saw her she was recently divorced, she had just defended her thesis and earned a few more letters after her old last name and was about to take a new job out of state. And we drank margaritas and ate chips and salsa and laughed and I wondered how much of this friendship we would get to hold on to. At the time , I only had one kid. Only college kids were on facebook. And I didn’t have a clue how to take a picture on my phone. And I knew that we would mostly be catching up from now on rather than actually being friends. And something about that made the night bittersweet for me.
So even though it made my day to see her name in my inbox, I put off my email response for a few days. Finally, last night I sat down and hammered something a long these lines out. And maybe it isn’t the kind of letter you’d put in a Christmas card. And parts of it are more like the conversation I’d have with a friend I’d talked to at least 3 times that day rather than one I hadn’t seen in years. Which is how I wanted my friend to be for the night. (and it is email, not a blog post, or an English essay so forgive the extra rambly and my over use of elipses....)
Things are still mostly the same. Teaching highschool in the same place. Live in the same house with the dishes piled high in the sink. Owen is 5 and in kindergarten and Tess is 2 and a total mess. But, things are really good. I finally have made some good friends at school….even though this is my 4th freaking year and it is long overdue…..so I have not been getting a lot of actual work done but I do a lot of laughing and we play a lot of ridiculous jokes and I like my students even more than ever. Like today involved the attached picture and escaping to Starbucks (and a few things that I'll keep to myself because I really like and want to keep my job!). And I totally pay for these antics by grading all weekend. But it is worth it to laugh all day. Tomorrow is sweaty yoga and sushi, and there is some roller derby in my future. Just a spectator, but think I might need to throw my blades in the car just in case. Next week Owen sings Baby Beluga at the PTA meeting. I’m thinking Baby Beluga is a whale or something, and other than seeing him in the cute fancy outfit I bought for the occasion, I’m not looking forward to finding out. Neither me, nor Owen, are fans of kindergarten mostly because he gets in trouble from time to time. I’m guessing he is just as ADD as me. But smart and funny and cute. And wants to grow his hair out like Justin Beiber. He can also write his name with his butt. I’m so proud. And Tess likes to take her clothes off in public and dance in the living room. And wet her pants or bleed out the nose to get her way. Turns out they are both pretty effective methods. I am running a lot but somehow fatter than ever. Maybe it has something to do with a new frozen yogurt stand popping up on every corner.
Shaun is also doing the same thing in the same place. This summer is our 10th anniversary and we are supposed to go climb a mountain in Seattle to celebrate. I’m personally looking more forward to sleeping in a hotel, lots of coffee and throwing some fish. And speaking of anniversaries…..which is pretty much the same thing as a reunion. We are approaching (or maybe just passed…I really don’t want to do the math) our 15th. Pretty sure bhs doesn’t celebrate the 5s. And you (and most of our other friends) didn’t go to the 10th one anyways….so thinking we should have our own. The lake house is always open. The fridge is always stocked. And my dad is always happy to entertain (aka cook and make a fool of himself) or leave us alone. It could be just like prom without the bad hair and strapless bras. I bet we could even get the police to show up again!
And that’s all I got because I need to write a test review and Tess just dumped an entire cup of marbles all over the living room floor and instead of picking it up she is twirling in a princess dress right in the middle of them. Did I mention she is crazy girly and prissy. She sleeps with shoes instead of stuffed animals. I’m not sure where she got it from and am trying to teach Shaun how to braid or at least make a ponytail, since he takes them to school in the a.m. But thankfully her hair is still too short for serious effort (like I’m pretty sure he doesn’t even bother running a brush through it)….but her teachers are happy enough to help him out. Yesterday she came home with 3 ponytails in her hair (see attached picture). At any rate, I better pick up the marbles before Shaun walks in and busts his ass. That, and Tess is now trying to cut her hair with a pair of fingernail clippers.
Bye friend, I miss you. Come back to TX. At least for a little bit. We are fun. And the weather is better. And we have microorganisms here too! And I'm pretty sure your mom still owes me a pie. Please tell her I haven't forgotten. And just in case you were wondering, I only have 2 jars of pickles in my fridge.