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Thursday, February 11th 2010

11:33 AM

All about Friends

  • Mood: happy
  • Music: Buddhist chants

I was watching “The Women” (2008, w/ Meg Ryan et al.) the other night and immediately thought of something I wanted to write about. Friends. Such a lovely word, eh? Did you ever stop to think of the different kinds and levels of friendship we indulge in? How about the “shit-to-goodies-ration” (thank you, Sylvia, for that pungently descriptive phrase)--the measure of the good to bad in the relationship? As Sandy (Terri Garr) says to Michael (Dustin Hoffman) in “Tootsie”, “No, we are not friends. Friends. I don't take this shit from friends. Only lovers.” I’m kinda the opposite—shit I take from my friends, no WAY would I take from my husband. Would you let your boyfriend call to say he’s coming over for lunch, then never show up or even call? Would you put up with your guy smokin’ dope on your back porch at Christmas time, when you live right around the corner from the police station? How would you react if your best friend forgot your birthday? Or borrowed your favorite embroidered Mexican blouse which you KNOW you will never see again? I can tell you—if my husband borrowed my things and lost them, or forgot my birthday, there would be hell to pay. And yet, I’ve dealt with those same things from girlfriends. When is enough, ENOUGH all ready?

Maybe it’s chick thing. Women put up with a lot to be close, so they can say that ‘Yeah, I have a BFF’. Because our friends know us in ways that perhaps our mates do not—women pay attention to details. “Yeah, that’s a lovely necklace he got her for her birthday—if she were skinny and 16 again!”“I could tell you’ve been feeling depressed, so come on over here RIGHT NOW and I’ll fix you a glass of iced mocha coffee with whipped cream & chocolate shavings—and don’t forget the whiskey!” “No, I didn’t forget she hates cilantro in her salad—I made this one especially for her!” Like picking out a pair of shoes for you—the backless kind with the perfect 3-inch chunky heel (she knows you hate high spiked heels now) and in just the right shade of pale yellow (because she remembers that you are totally into this light butter yellow shade this summer). That’s a valuable thing, a precious commodity! So, we put up with amazing amounts of crap to keep that ego-nurturing in gear.

Then there are the different kinds of friends and how they mix. There’s the party-hearty-vaguely-white-trash gal with whom you love to hit the bars (and once, long ago, you shared some fine herb with) whom you would never ask to lunch with your educated and funky artist friends. There’s the manic, talkative, immensely interesting friend who would probably give you the shirt off her back, yet somehow would not mix well with the old college friend with whom you were close-to-for 20-years-but-now-don’t-talk-to-much. There’s the interesting Avon lady with the fabulous deals who spends an hour or so talkin’ shit and laughin’ at your house, but who would probably be bored with the conversations you have with Chinese students at The Sentient Bean. Or the emotionally fragile and very conservative cousin who is warm-hearted, but who would be scandalized at your Latin parties where you drink way too much and dance salsa at 3am. I mean, there’s levels of friendship, recipes of mixtures that work, and some that wouldn’t.

(ewww, I know, so cutesy, but I wuv-em!)

I’m grateful for all my girlfriends. There are friends who are younger than me, like Rosemary, age 18, a curvy Peruvian chick with a kind Virgo heart, who LOVES Dr. Gregory House almost as much as I do. My lovely, lively, fun-loving group of Latinas who make every party so special, each birthday so memorable--even though my conversational Spanish sucks. The school nurse who was my mother’s age who confided in me at work and always remembered I loved Chick-Filet for lunch. The artist friend who liked my artwork, and gave me a place in her gallery shows. The 10-years-older Leo who inspires me and talks my ear off, remembers I smoke Pall Mall, Menthol 100s and loves McDonald’s Hot Mocha in the afternoon. So many friends through the years I couldn’t name them all. I thank my lucky stars for them. They have driven me nuts at times, irritated the helloutta me, sometimes even overdosed on my couch—and yet…I could rarely call them boring. And, one and all, they had that special touch of closeness, attention to detail and warm heart that I love, so that, always, whether they are down the block or half-way round the world -in spite of their frailties—and whether or not we "are speaking" at the moment--I still love them and call them Friend.

(Jennifer, Iris, Moi, Rosie & Sobeida @ my birthday party last year)

(Me & Sylvia @ Boo's birthday party, about 2002)

P.S. Any entry on friendship would not be complete without my daughter, Melantha Naomi--she is one of the crystalline JOYS of my life and she is definitely one of my BEST friends, always has been, always will be. She holds a high and special friendship in my heart. My niece Annie, who is my sister Lori's daughter, I always said SHOULD have been mine. I think of her as a friend as well, and am happy when she confides in me.

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