Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The cheese analogy

The people came. They stayed. They left.

Amazing, isn't it? The last one left around 2pm, and that ain't bad considering I was being more than just the happy hostess.

Remember the one I mentioned that had camped out at my friend's play date? Well she left around 1:30pm. She even eluded to "staying a while" at the last play date (in which instance I looked away from her and averted conversation). I was quite relieved when she'd left. I took in a deep breath and proceeded to tell the last girl there that I was carrying a lighter load with her absence. Indeed, I was. We'll call her Camper. Camper is strange. Nice, but strange. Her teeth are muddled with white and grey. Swirled, I'm sure, from either a lifetime of bad oral hygiene or lack of fluoride. She beckons from Missouri. Her husband works for a pool supply company. She's strange. Not someone I'd become best friends forever with.

The woman who left at 2, however? Well she's a new addition to our group, and someone I could (maybe) see myself being friends with. The problem with this mommy group thing is that it leaves little to no room for friendships. It's all about the kids. Every mom there says that. But is it really true? I know, for sure, that I didn't join the group when my son was a spry 6 month old so that he could go romp around. No. I joined for an excuse to get out of the house and socialize with other humans who did more than just coo and poop. It's not to say that I haven't made a few friends and many acquaintances through this group. I have. In fact, I'd venture to say I'd have no friends at all if it weren't for our meet ups. I just have to wonder to myself: How many friends is enough? And what defines friend from acquaintance?

Well, I tell you, a lot determines whether you are called friend or acquaintence in my book. I'm still not quite sure I have any true friends. I do. I know. Some of you reading this may balk at what I've just written. Hear me out.

Friends, to me, are people who you can go to with your darkest secrets. You tell them everything without fear of judgment. Moms? Well there's always fear of judgment from other moms. I mean, it's the nature of the beast. When you're a mom yourself, it leaves your personal life and parenting skills open season for judgmental fodder. So can you really, truly, befriend someone who could be judging your every movement? I don't know. But I try. Why? Because I'm lonely, I guess.

I miss friendships. Those ones where you are just flat out bored so you put in a phone call for some good talkin'. I miss sleep overs most, I think. Those get togethers of yesteryear, whereby you and a few other friends get together, stay up entirely too late and can hardly fall asleep due to the amount of gabbering. Boys, gossip; everything is talked about in full circles. Over and over again. It's a smattering of girlish nonsense. And I miss it. I really miss the friends I had to partake in those sort of things with. Can we just be honest with each other? Not when there's this motherly facade to keep. It's all about saving face...not reality.

Friendships these days seem to orbit around our own family lives: talk of boys has turned to talk of husbands...gossiping is relinquished to "can you believe so and so's kid acts like that?" It's really shallow, and more so than ever, you're left wondering what the others would say about you if you weren't present. The friendships of my today are framed in and ruled by the trappings of family life. Family is front and center, and somehow that leaves friendship to the fringes of personal socialization. I'm not saying that family shouldn't be the most important should. But why is it seemingly impossible to also hold friendships that cater to my needs? I need friends. Close friends.

This little matchstick edifice of a social circle I've gotten myself into bores the shit out of me. Bores me.

So, when the 2pm-er was lingering, I was happy. I recently found out that she was a painter. Or she calls herself that. OH my brain screamed...someone that shares something with me!!! I must latch on now. Friend alert! Friend alert! I was screaming full force at myself like that robot from that show. But the latch-on-nows soon turned to DANGER WILL ROBINSON, DANGER!

As desperate as I am for friends that I can have deep conversations with (outside of the, " many times does little Evie poop every day?"), I offered nearly everything up to my possible new BFF.

Does your little one like chicken nuggets? I can cook some!
So I did...eventually. But only after I was backhandedly asked "So...when's Adrien going to eat lunch". Apparently I wasn't preparing said mechanically separated chicken soon enough. Oh, I thought you'd be gone by now, I don't really want to cook any, I was just being nice.

Oh it is late, I replied. I want you as a friend, but I want you to leave right now.

And I promptly shoved some in the microwave...along with some peas and carrots. At this point Camper was still lurking. Her little one is too young for chicken nuggets -- I didn't offer any. Camper and 2pm-er sat at my kitchen table feeding their little ones. As if my scones and pumpkin biscuits hadn't been enough, 2pm-er starts to rummage through my pantry and fridge. I offered some pinto beans from the night before. Not to mention the fact that you just ate 2 of the nuggets I cooked for my own son.

Do you have any cheese, asked 2pm-er.

You can have some of this...I explained. And before I could offer a sensible portion, she'd cut off a 3 inch by 3 inch chunk of cheddar and was downing that...all the while her beans were heating up in the microwave.

Then she left the ziplock of uneaten cheese on my kitchen island.

I ate beans too.

Midway through this meal, Camper said it was time to go. And that's when my load lightened...slightly. I saw Camper off, and 2pm-er was still around.

After she'd finished with her beans, she was still rummaging about my kitchen. My fucking kitchen's not your personal grocery store, get your own food, bitch. I kept my smile going. I was really fishing for some friendship here. My nerves were being tested; my hospitality over extended.

If it's something sweet you want you've already eaten a million scones, fatass I have ice cream sandwiches.

I saw those. I never keeps snacks around like you do. I have no self control.

Oh really, I thought you had boat loads of control Miss Beans and nuggets and scones and biscuits and scones and I don't drink coffee, and I don't keep snacks, blah blah blah.

Oh, I said...I like snacks.

It went on and on. 2pm-er turned from possible friend to someone to stay away from.

If you eat half of the block of cheese I have left, what would you do with my friendship? I can't have someone as a friend who will constantly take more than their share...because, you see, I'm the one who will keep giving and giving. I'm like that. I hate takers. And you, Miss 2pm-er, are a full fledged taker.

2pm-er also kept commenting on how small her house was compared to mine (I only live in 1800 square feet, it's not a mansion, or FANCY as you called it).

She reveled at how my fridge has the freezer on bottom. She'd never seen one of those before. And that must be why she took half of my cheese.

I have purportedly fancy things, as she says. I suppose she thinks I'm all up for the taking.

I'm not all up for the taking.

Why's it so fucking hard to find real friends who don't want more of you than you're willing to give who eat you out of house and home, yet don't take the coffee that you offered?

And I supposed that's the cheese analogy. If you find yourself in the same boat with someone who is more than willing to see what all they can get out of you, then get out of that boat as soon as possible: it's going down.

No one drank any of my coffee but me. It wasn't gourmet coffee. It wasn't fancy. It was just a pinnacle of social offering, and no one partook. I should keep that as rule: those who do not drink my coffee will always take half of my cheese.

Don't touch the cheese, bitch.


Momof3 said...

Well, maybe she just felt comfortable in your home and was hungry. I understand the being upset about people overstaying their welcome but, why so upset about sharing your food? I agree no one should be rummaging in your cupboards.
I think friendships now aren't about who can I confide everything to but, who would come help me in an emergency? Who would bring me soup if I was sick?

Kelly said...

That is fucking hilarious! I have encoutered the same shit, where you have a linger-er who doesn't have a clue as to when to leave. I too have joined a group where they were saying its all for the kids and thier socialization and whatnots..(when I was homeschooling)which was total BS because I was to be 'hush-hush' about not being Christian or attending Church. Huh? Like the kids give a crap about that? was a 'Judge all the other moms and how they are doing the ciriculum' group. Sheesh, I could go on and on..but I am not going to be a linger-er! I know when to leave, haha. I forgot your email address..I have been meaning to write you.

Veggie Mama said...

I loved this. Maybe it's because I'm young, for a mom, especially for a SAHM, but I always feel just a little awkward with the mom's club types. I actually was lucky enough to find a playgroup which consists of moms who go out together WITHOUT the kids to drink and eat and have fun.

But I digress. Friendships these days fall into two categories in my mind. Friends and koolaid-friends. You know, "just add kids."

I LOVE making friends with someone who also happens to have a child around my child's age. That's happened... Once. Usually it's the other way around - you each have kids so hey, insta-friend! But it's never quite the same caliber of friendship.

I find myself presenting myself completely differently to my "mom friends" than my "regular friends." I will giggle, laugh, and be stupid with my regular friends. I will drink too much and get annoying. I will tell them the less kosher bits and pieces of my life. My mom friends? Well, no. I try to be "normal" and at least moderately put-together. They don't see my messy house, they don't hear my sordid tales, and I never drink more than a cocktail or two.

Problem is, as a SAHM, it becomes harder and harder to just meet people and find people you click with - because you don't live in the real world, you live in the mom world. And that's the pool from which to gather your friends. It's hard to make the transition from "mom-friend" to just plain "friend." I have yet to really make it work.

Mimi aka pz5wjj said...

You can come to my house and eat my cheese!

I hear ya! I really do! Where do you live and if you moved to the ATL I'd be friends with you -- even without your cheese!

But, I may linger because I'm so desparate for friends!

Stella and Thomas said...

Is momof3 here just to disagree with everything you post??

Rantings by a Middle Aged Drama Queen said...

I hear you about "real friends". I just told my husband that there are a few people that I "bond" with in our group. I how, don't feel "comfotable" to invite you all to my house for fear of being judged badly. I know I am different in many ways in the group and I feel I don't meet everyones "mommy standards". I hope you can go out friday and we can vent together!

Farrah said...

True friends are SO hard to find, being a mom or not. It is especially hard when you are a giver because you hope that your giving would be reciprocated. Then when it is not, it makes you feel like you want the friendship more than they do even if that is not necessarily true. You may not want the friendship that much and they may want it more. They just don't know how to give like you do. That doesn't make it less frustrating.

I have a "friend" who I feel needs friends so I am continually giving to her. Then recently I needed a favor from her and she totally flaked, repeatedly. It made me feel duped, like I shouldn't have put so much effort in trying to make her feel like she is my friend. I don't enjoy her. Those are the situations where you have to "cut and run." I will be her acquaintance but I can't keep putting myself out there for friendship when I get nothing in return.

Loneliness is so hard and I am sorry that you don't have many "go to the dark places" friends. Cheese lady and Camper don't sound at all like potentials though. Maybe you could try to find a group that has similar non-mommy interests... like an art class or painting group or something... just a thought. Hugs. :)

Missy said...

Oh I understand what you mean by DANGER. I feel like I gte caught in this trap a lot. I hope I have not bewen a 2pm-er to anyone!