27 August 2008

Neue Fruende

~German, new friend. (may not be spelled correctly. Its been a loooong time since my last German class.)

This is the usual Tuesday post, brought to you a few days late courtesy of a hectic, crazy schedule that does not allow nearly enough time to write.

In Girl Scouts (yes, yes, yes, get over it, I was a Girl Scout) we used to sing a song that went:

Make new friends
But keep the old
One is silver
The other is gold

I've made a few new friends recently....local ones, believe it or not....who are great women that I feel thrilled to have met. Some of them share my knitting obsession hobby, one shares my love of the German language, all of them are diverse and interesting folks.

It seems, though, that this comes at the expense of losing one old friend. Which is heartbreaking. And it stops me in my tracks, too. Typing that sentence, and then re-reading it leaves me at a loss for words.

Y'all know how rarely that happens, right?

Suffice to say that I never ever name names here, and she isn't a regular reader of Well Behaved, but she'd know who she was by reading this. By 'an old friend' I mean one that I've had since before high school. Seventh or eighth grade, I'm not even sure which. One of those friends for whom a word or a phrase or even a facial expression bring back memories, evoke a particular time and place. Someone who was there with me during that part of my journey that involved such a confusing time, adolescence, who walked along the same road I did, who was someone for a long time that was the first person I talked to (outside of the fam, natch) each day, and often the last person I talked to before going to bed. Remember that point at which you spent hours on the phone each day, and your parents would ask, "You were in school together all day. What could you possibly have to talk about for 2 hours?" And you'd roll your eyes and say, "Mooooooom, you just don't get it." One of those friends. If I've known her since seventh grade, then this is someone I've been friends with for twenty years.


Anyway. Over the last ten years, she's drifted further and further away, until I would see her only twice a year, maybe. We'd exchange e-mails, and talk on the phone, but it wasn't the same as it had been. Which was sad, but kind of inevitable when you're living more than 500 miles apart, and your lives take pretty divergent directions. That's sometimes called growing up. But the shared experience of youth often keeps those friendships alive even when there isn't much else two friends share outside of that anymore. I always felt that she was just as concerned? Maybe that's not the right word. I always thought that she was as interested in keeping the friendship alive as I was. Because we all know that any relationship, be it friend, significant other, sibling, requires some work by both parties involved.

It has been a slow process, but over the last two years, I've realised that she just....isn't. Interested at all. I've put forth the effort, and the response I've received has been resounding silence. She has family here in Oh-hia-ia, so I know she's in town several times a year. Her Facebook page keeps me up to date with what she's doing....but even there, she was friended with my younger sister (who she didn't really like when we were kids) long before she deigned to friend me.

And I don't like that I find out from Facebook that she's in town. Here's why: my telephone number hasn't changed in about 15 years. Seriously. I've had a cell phone since 1994, and even when all the phones went digital, (remember that?) I kept the same number. I had to fight with the wireless provider, but I managed to retain that number. I've even changed carriers, and kept the same number. Ten digits. Not so much to remember. Or even if you do forget them, the rest of the high school crowd knows that my number is still the same. Call one of them. Send me an e-mail. Hell, even call DH, you've got his number, too.

I joke frequently about our electronic gadgets making idiots of us all. I don't remember phone numbers well these days. My phone has the ability to save lots of speed dial numbers, so most of the people I care about and have frequent contact with are speed dials. Wanna call my sister in California? Yeah, she is speed dial 7. What's her number? I dunno. Without my phone, I am hard-pressed to remember all of her digits. But I don't have to remember, the phone does it for me. The gadget is smart enough that if I tag a picture I've taken with the phone with someone's name, by calling up the picture on the screen I can call that person. Amazing shiz, no? I even have this friend stored as a speed dial.

She was here last week. I know that from Facebook. I even saw her on-line, b/c FB will tell you who of your friends is signed in to the website, and you can instant message them inside of FB. We had a quick 3-4 line chat. I saw on her profile that she was leaving the next day, and I said, hey, we should at least have a drink if not dinner or even just hang out at my house tonight if you're leaving. Cool, she said. I told her that my cell phone doesn't work in my underground office, and gave her the new number at the office. I told her that after 5, the cell phone works fine, and BTW, you've got that number, right? Yeah, she said. I'll call you, she said. Sorry I've been so lame the last few times I've been here, she said. I miss you. Life's busy, and I'm all lazy and stuff when I come to Oh-hia-ia, my family mises me, so it is hard to get together, but I'd really like to see you, she said.

You're shocked to discover that she didn't call, aren't you?

I wasn't surprised, but this time, unlike the other 10 times or so over the last few years, I was hurt.

We haven't had a disagreement. We don't have wildly divergent political or social views. She might even be more liberal than me, so I know the stuff I have on my profile over on Facebook about supporting same-sex-marriage, about how W's an idiot, about my radical feminist ideals, those things aren't offending her. I don't think there's really even a problem, necessarily, other than we've just.....drifted away from each other.

But it feels like a breakup. Like I've been dumped. Like I've been judged and found wanting. Like I'm not cool enough, living in flyover country, to hang anymore. (Although she lives even further in the midwest than I do!) Maybe what I mean there is that because I'm still in our hometown, and haven't moved away like 99.99999% of everyone else we went to school with, that perhaps I'm just not worldly enough. I don't know. It makes me sad. And I despise having to "justify" to someone why I'm still here in the rustbelt. She knows why I'm still here. She knows just about everything about me. And yet, she's walking away.

This time, instead of standing still, looking forlornly back, I'm walking on too. I wish it hadn't come to this, but it seems that I have no other choice.

Were I wise and sagely, I'd have some way to put a perspective on this turning point. I don't. But I do still have great friends from those old days, and a few new ones to fill that hole left by her moving on, new stories to write, new adventures to have with old friends and new.

So often, when my own words fail me, I turn to music to better express what I can not. Although I'm NOT a country music fan, I do like Jimmy Buffett, and this one sums up a little of how I feel about this simultaneous gain and loss.

Hear 'em singing Happy Birthday
Better think about the wish I made
This year gone by ain't been a piece of cake
Every day's a revolution
Pull it together and it comes undone
Just one more candle and a trip around the sun

I'm just hanging on while this old world keeps spinning
And it's good to know it's out of my control
If there's one thing that I've learned from all this living
Is that it wouldn't change a thing if I let go

No, you never see it coming
Always wind up wondering where it went
Only time will tell if it was time well spent
It's another revelation
Celebrating what I have done
With these souvenirs of my trip around the sun

~Jimmy Buffett,
Trip Around the Sun, License to Chill, 2004

25 August 2008

THAT'S the ticket!

All eyes on Denver this week for the Dem convention. I'll be watching bits and pieces, but as I do actually work for a living, I won't be glued to the telly the whole time.

I'm feeling very 'meh' about the choice of Joe Biden as veep. I wanted Kathleen Sebelius, but y'know, Barak's people just didn't consult me on their choice. The nerve.

20 August 2008

Gone far too soon

LeRoi Moore, 1961-2008

I shall truly miss his musicianship.

18 August 2008

Att sticka

Swedish, verb: to knit

Earlier in the year, I thought that my enthusiasm for knitting would wane with the oncoming summer months, as the weather warmed I'd be less than excited about carrying 'round some knit project, whatever it may be.

Instead, I am spending lots more time knitting. I'm actively trying to win converts to knitting. I have this nutsy-koo-koo idea that I should, between now and the Winter Solstice, be able to make enough dishcloths, scarves, hats, even a shawl or two, to give as holiday presents to friends and co-workers. My family has declared a moratorium on gifting this year; we're going to be together in Florida for a week, and that is present enough. But that does not mean that I'm exempt all together from the insanity that envelops the western world come December, the frenzy of shopping, wrapping, entertaining, running around like a lunatic in a frantic effort to get everything done before December 24.

I feel obliged to mention that although I am an atheist, most of the rest of my friends and family are not, and I would never diminish their joy in this holiday. I'm not one of those nuts who snarls at you when you wish me a "Merry Christmas." I like finding gifts for those I love, year-round. But the Christmas season is the only time in the West that you can give someone an extravagant gift, or do something profoundly nice, and it isn't a big deal. It is almost expected. I bake, hundreds of cookies every year, and give them to people that I want to give gifts to, but don't want to buy anything....like my hairdresser. The paper-delivery person. (If I had one, which I don't.) Volunteers, at my old non-profit job. People that deserve a 'thank you' and would feel uncomfortable accepting something at any other time of the year.

So of course, I have a mental list of the persons that I need to make things for: co-workers...hmmm....counting our interns, volunteer staff, and full-time staffers, that's 14 people. In-laws....7. Friends....some real-world, some inside the computer....at least 15, and I'm sure I'm leaving someone out.....

Holy shit! No wonder I'm spending most of my free time with needles in hand rather than writing. My math skills are poor, but I used a calculator to add all that up, and I count at least 36 things to knit.

Guess I'd better get to the knittin', eh?

15 August 2008

And we all fall DOWN!

Is it just me, or is the earth more unstable these days? Unstable as in the ground beneath my feet seems like it is rockin' and rollin'. You may not know this, but earthquakes DO happen in Oh-hia-ia. I remember one that was a 4.0 on the Richter scale a few years back. Unfortunately, I can't blame this one on a quake.

Returning to my car at the end of the workday (on the days that I don't bike) is apparently treacherous, and hazardous to my health. I stumbled crossing the street the other day, wrenching my heel in a pothole that was just large enough to grab on to the heel of my shoe. But the pièce de résistance was falling in a parking deck. In the middle of the day. I was NOT walking and CrackBerry-ing. I know that's hard to believe, but it is true. I was NOT wearing shoes that are eleventy inches tall. Again, I know that strains credulity, too. (Mucho thanks to MotherMe for the word eleventy, I plan to use it often!) I *WAS* wearing my glasses, something I frequently forget to do, so I could see just fine. I wasn't drunk. (Hey! Quiet down out there in the peanut gallery! I don' wanna hear that you don' belief- belief - trust me on that.) I don't have an ear infection, or an inner ear imbalance, and I wasn't any more clumsy than I usually am.

What I *did* do was miss a step. Fell coming out of a stairwell, by missing the last stair, the one that takes you from the LEVEL base of the stairs to the LEVEL floor of the garage. The one that is the EXACT. SAME. COLOR. as the garage floor. The one that is lighted rather poorly, too.

Now since this was at work, that means I have to fill out paperwork, but only if I tell someone, right? I mean, my pride was far more damaged than my body. Here I am, elegantly dressed, hair done, makeup in place, accessories to match, striding confidently to my car that is going to take me to a meeting. Next thing I know, I'm sprawled out on the garage floor, sandals off of my feet, glasses around my neck instead of perched on the bridge of my nose, purse dumped, BlackBerry in several pieces scattered around me. (No BlackBerries were injured during this stunt. Just in case you were worried. I sure was!) I'm on the very dirty garage floor, and DAMN did my hand hurt when I picked myself back up. I landed, you see, on my right hand first, then my left knee, and finally my right knee, skinning all three quite nicely.

After that, I'm pissed. Really ticked. At my own clumsiness, but also at the people who manage the parking deck. The deck has been closed all summer undergoing "repairs". What repairs? They weren't painting, or refreshing the safety features of the garage. They weren't fixing the gaping holes all over the garage. They certainly weren't cleaning the garage. (Took me quite a while to scrub the dirt out of my knee!) So seriously, WTF were they doing?

I called the parking management entity. I explained the problem. They were fairly un-moved by my request to fix said problem. I then explained that I had fallen as a direct result of the problem. That got their attention. But also: Ooops. Because now they want me to fill out all kinds of paperwork and promise on the soul of my firstborn that I'm not going to sue them. Joke's on them right there, eh? Not going to have a firstborn!

All of that necessitated me also telling the colleagues in my office, as I had to have a "supervisor" sign the paperwork. Again, I say: Ooops. Because I am never ever going to hear the end of this....they'll harass me about not tripping over stuff for the next....well, forever.

Feel free to join in.

04 August 2008


I don't have the time for a proper post today, but I cannot allow the day to pass without making note of the date.

Today is August 4.

Seventeen years ago today, I boarded a plane that took me from Pittsburgh to New York, and then another that took me on to Stockholm, arriving in Sweden on August 5th.

Without this experience, I would not be the adult I am today.

I feel nostalgic, and astonished to realize that I was 16 when I did that; it is now longer ago than I was old at the time. Um. I'm not making much sense there, but *I* understand what I'm trying to say, even if I can't adequately communicate it with you.

I celebrate this day as I do any other anniversary, as it marked a turning point in my life that is as big as the anniversary of the date I graduated from University, or the date of my first full day on the job at my first "real" "grown-up" job.

Would that I were a wizard...I'd be sending up red sparks from my wand today.