Friday, September 21, 2007

On friendships

Okay. Nap time. Blog time -- for me.

I met a friend at the park this morning for a little walk with the kids...it was nice. It wasn't too hot out yet, and although the sun was in our eyes on the way back, it was an enjoyable experience. Feel the burn -- the one in my calf anyway. Lots of chit-chat was to be had by all (all two of us) and I left feeling refreshed. We should do that again sometime. All of that is beside the point. I'm side-stepping the issue at hand.

I have an acquaintence from church coming by later with her two girls to see our new dog. She wants to see the dog -- her girls just want to play with Adrien (who they find irresistibly adorable -- and he is, of course). So anyway, with any other friend and/or acquaintence I would make sure the house is tidy enough, but not immaculate. But this friend...this friend? This friend makes a living cleaning and organizing other people's homes and lives. She's a professional organizer. And she is coming to my oh-so-not-organized home. What's a girl to do? Well I'll tell you -- a girl needs to get off her booty and go do some dishes, wipe up counter tops, spot clean the floors. This girl needs to get busy. But no, I'm blogging. Instead of actually getting busy, I'm blogging about how I should get busy. You see my need for that guilt list I wrote yesterday, right? ("not wanting to clean...blah blah blah" or some such thing) So there's that in a nut shell. She's nice enough to not say anything. But what will she really be thinking about my less than perfect home? Nothing, I'm sure. She's really nice and hopefully as genuine as I think she is. But really, I still need to clean the kitchen...and the guest bathroom. And in my head she'll be thinking something to the tune of "wow, what big spots your carpeting has!"

And then there's another friend. A friend from long ago. We've each went our separate ways in life, yet still seam to bump into each other every now and again -- even when it's just via internet. There was a time when this friend and I were very close...then came Jeremy. Jeremy is one of those scourge of the Earth types. My friend met him the summer after eighth grade, and ten years later, they're still together. Jeremy is still the scourge of the Earth. You see, I grew up in a small town. One of those towns where girls get trapped, unassumingly, and end up just like their mothers did: barely scraping by with a minimum wage job, married to said scourge of Earth and generally with at least one offspring. I tried. I tried to pull her from the grips of the trap set by that town. Andi and I offered to get a two bedroom apartment a few years back and allow her to stay with us. She would have been fully capable of leaving Jeremy, getting a better than minimum wage job, and pursuing an education that I know she deserves. But she just couldn't do it. Rather, she wouldn't do it. This was the center of many disagreements between my friend and I. She could not see that she was better than the life she was living. She knew she wanted and needed more, yet wouldn't do anything about it. Why? Because she was scared. It was far safer for her to stay in the position she was in, rather than bettering her situation. Cut to present: My friend has that final bit of the puzzle; she has an offspring -- and baby daddy is scourge of the Earth. Now she really is trapped, I assume. She's trapped and scourge of the Earth still refuses to marry her. Why should we get married, he asks. Why should I marry you is what he means. I feel horrible for my friend...but you can only do so much. I offered. I pushed. I threw her mother in her face millions of times...I asked repeatedly: Do you want to be like that? Do you want to turn out with your mother's life? Your mom is so unhappy -- she has five children she can not support and a drug addict ex-husband. She's a lunch lady, for goodness sake. Her response would always be the same: No, I don't want to be like my mother...but I don't deserve any better.

I wanted the best for my friend. She just refused to get it for herself. So why is it that I still think so much about my friend's situation? I'm not quite sure. Maybe it's because I see pictures of her baby on MySpace. Maybe it's because I once held her so dear to my heart. Or maybe it's because I wanted her to have the life I wanted...and maybe that was the only life I saw as right. Maybe. I kept throwing the line out to her though, and she kept throwing it right back. I wonder if she's happy with her life. I wonder if her life is really what she wanted. Who am I to say that she is trapped? But I suppose that's why we went our separate ways.

My friend's home was always a mess. Her mother didn't have time to pick up after all her children...and her dad? Well he just didn't pick up. She lived in a tiny white house, with two bedrooms. Her sisters and her all slept in the same room most nights, and mostly in the same bed. No matter what though, I never thought twice about the condition of her home. And no matter what, now, I can't stop thinking of her and holding her close to my heart as a dear friend. We have little in common any more, but that hardly matters. When we do get to talk, it's like we never stopped talking at all. We pick right up and go on with our friendship.

So why is it now that I have a "friend" coming over and all I can think about is how she'll feel about the spots on my carpet or the crumbs on my kitchen floor. And why is it, now, that I can hardly even remember what my friend and I talked about while walking this morning. I wish I still lived in high-school land where you have those friends who don't care what your house looks like or how much money you had to buy lunch the day before.

Why is it that adult relationships are often reduced to outside appearances and such? I wish I had more friends like my trapped friend...not necessarily trapped, but genuine. I think adults should pay more attention to the honesty of childhood and adolescent friendships that our children have. Then maybe we can begin to learn something. Then maybe we'll have those long-lasting friendships once again...and maybe someday we'll have someone wondering about us constantly, even though the talking has long passed.

4 comments:

Missy said...

I feel your pain. I say leave it messy and let you visiting friend clean an organize to her hearts content!

I actually have been thinking about spotless homes lately because my husband is a slob and he TOTALLY does not understand why anyone ever cleans or puts away anything. He and I talk about cleaning a lot. I am not a neat person, but I try. It is hard to defend cleaning to him when I know I am not pro either. I have reassed some of my cleaning worries and he has tried hard to help with some cleaning.

I feel sad for your friend from the past. I have lost friends who chose different paths than I thought they were (and I was) on. I get so sad about it, but the reality is we all have to choose our own path and deal with our own reality. I miss my friends, but I had to stay true to myself and keep on truckin'.

Veggie Mama said...

I hear what you're saying about genuine adult relationships. However.

I'm not sure what small town you grew up in, but that's not how things went in mine. How clean your house was, how much money you had for lunch (and thus how well you dressed), and all of those superficial things were critical.

Sure you might make a good friend or two with someone else as poor as you, but yes, those silly things we pay attention to now are carryovers from back when.

Rantings by a Middle Aged Drama Queen said...

On, your friend who makes "bad" decisions. I put bad in parentheses because we all have that friend who makes decisions we feel are stupid. However they make them because they seem somewhat happy or they would change their situation. I have a friend who's boyfriend told her to get an abortion and walked out on her then she lost the baby and she felt sorry for him because she felt he "took it hard". Yes that fool is back eating up her food and funking up her life. I just learned you can't save those who don't want saving!

Candace said...

I long for the friends I met oh so long ago.  The ones who come over and either help you clean the house or sit in the mess with you and discuss why it's better not to clean the house.  Been hard to find those gals lately but I've got a couple that are always with me even though they don't live close by.