How do you know when you're no longer best friends?
This probing question was asked
this morning on pre-dawn television and darn if it didn't make me
think about all my former best friends during the forty-five minutes it
took me to get out of bed.
[By the way, Katie Couric is going
to be making $60,000 a DAY in her demanding new job as a newsreader. I
have no problem with that, since I also aspire to excessive weath,
although my fiduciary clock is ticking. I do have a problem with
someone named Katie doing Walter Chronkite's job. She should change her
name to something more appropriate for the solemnity of the position.
Heath, Alexandra, Mrs. Linklater.]
Patsy, my very best friend from
birth until I was ten years old was taken away by a moving van. Our
friendship was rent asunder. I think that's the phrase. I may be wrong.
I used to think the phrase "various and sundry" things was actually "various
She and her family moved out east the day before my family moved to the
suburbs. I remember her dad got a thousand dollar raise
and that was enough for them to pack up and leave. Staying in touch was
almost out of the question. Long distance phone calls were limited to
announcements of deaths and births by my frugal mother, so there
wouldn't be any free range chats about little boys between two little
ten year old girls. Keeping in touch by snail mail about our mutual
crush on Ralphie Regabuto wasn't going to maintain the friendship in
any meaningful way.
Dear Patsy, Today I played dolls.
It was fun. I thought about the time we saw Raphie walking home from
school. What are you doing? Love, Mrs. L
So, like most little kids, we got sidetracked with other things. Our lives, for instance.
My second best friend didn't happen
until high school. Before that I had a series of friends that I
thought were best friends, but they didn't stand the test of time. Or
stealing my clothes.
Ann and I became best friends at
the end of sophomore year in high school. We were very close all
through the summer before college. I was dating my first true love and
learning that the only reason girls wore bras was so boys could take
them off. She was dating a guy who used to climb up the trellis
on the side of the garage to reach her room and have sex with
her. Her only comment the first time it happened was, "It's
not that big a deal." Apparently she learned to make it sound
like it was a big deal because he came back for a whole lot more.
[For some reason I'm reminded of
today's announcement about the newly discovered 385 million year-old fossil of
a five-to-nine foot scaly thing with an alligator head that trolled the
ancient rivers -- the one that is supposed to be the missing link
between fish from the ocean to animals on land. Apparently scientists
claim this is an important link to the little tiny salamanders which
grew to be huge dinosaurs, which in turn, after a lot of practice, led
to the appearance of humans. My only question is how do they know that
this creature wasn't going from land to water, instead of water to
land? And how do they know it didn't just look that way because it
lived in shallow rivers and could get around better with an alligator
fish like body designed to navigate muddy river bottoms. Sheesh.
somebody has to come up with a better answer to Darwin, but so far
Creationism is pretty sucky.]
When it came time to go to college,
Ann and I managed to continue our friendship with a lively
correspondence from her school in California and mine in North
Carolina. The next summer we went to a dude ranch together and one
night she felt the need to tell me something after the evening
She told me that my boyfriend --
now my former boyfriend -- had called her up for a date when I was out
of town the summer before we left for college. I already knew this. He
had asked me ahead of time and I had said he could take my girlfriends
out. Well, I had no idea she'd take the lessons she'd learned
from her trellis climbing friend and use them on MY boyfriend.
Not that MY boyfriend was innocent in their little caper.
Now a year later, she felt this uncontrollable urge to tell me what
they did on their date. Why she decided to tell me -- a death wish? --
remains a mystery.
As soon as she finished sharing, I remember thinking THIS IS THE END OF OUR FRIENDSHIP.
Which brings me to the end of
another friendship. One that has been dying like flies do when you pull
off their wings. We haven't been best friends for awhile, although this
past Christmas she just sent me a picture of the two of us in a frame
that says FRIENDS FOREVER.
When I got the picture I thought, hmmm, how about FRIENDS NOT SO MUCH ANYMORE.
The end of that friendship has taken a few years. But it came to a head
a few months ago when one of my children FINALLY told me why she didn't
like this woman, something I never understood. Her dislike stemmed from
something my friend had said to her when my daughter was twelve.
Basically, it was "You aren't good enough for my son." Her son
and my daughter had hit it off during a vacation. And my friend, who
had plans for him to be the next president, didn't think my daughter
would make the best first lady for her perfect boy. So she made a pre
emptive strike. Had I known what she said, I would have made my
own pre-emptive strike.
So after years of ignoring her habit of fibbing about EVERYTHING, her
annoying bossiness, her sense of entitlement and the recent discovery
of what she said to my daughter, the neon lights started flashing,
FRIENDSHIP OVER!!! FRIENDSHIP OVER!!! A couple of weeks ago when
she called to say we need to catch up, I decided not to call her back.
[Have you taken a gander at the piece of ancient manuscript they just
found that purportedly absolves Judas of betraying Jesus and makes it
seem like he kissed him because they were gay? How could anybody
read anything on that disintegrating scrap of rag? It could be a
grocery list. Ten years from now there will be yet another
interpretation that claims Paul's real namewas Art.]
Remind me not to watch TV while I'm trying to write important thoughts in my journal. It's so distracting.