Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Friends

I love Facebook. There, I said it. I could pretend that it’s just a means to an end; that I don’t need it. But who’s kidding who? I love that I can now put faces to names I’ve heard from Michael throughout the years. Even ones he’s never mentioned. That I can actually communicate with these faces and names. I love that old friends, constant and once lost, can keep me up to date with what’s new in their lives. I love that I can crack myself up and within minutes find out it was funny to someone else too. I love that I can post that I’m headed to the beach and almost immediately hear from a friend who wants to meet me there. Don’t tell me that’s not incredible.

Day two of our west-of-the-mountains trip and I decided to take the kids to Tolmie State Park in Lacey. This is a park that I frequented as a child. I began bringing my own kids there several years ago and now it’s something we try to do each time we come for a visit. Let me say for the record, it’s not for the faint of heart. No, you have to be made of rather sturdy stuff to willingly be the mother of seaweed strewn, mud soaked, dead crab holding, sand dollar flinging kids. It’s really pretty nasty but oh do they love it.

When I mentioned our plan to visit the park on Facebook, Diane Upton said she’d meet us there. I love Diane. She’s such a fun-loving but very down to earth mother and is raising some seriously righteous kids. Before the days of Facebook and even e-mail, she was instrumental in making sure our group of friends from high school kept in touch and gathered together every year or so. I think a lot of us would have fallen off the radar if it weren’t for her efforts.

That being said, it would seem clear that we were close friends in high school. That, unfortunately, was not the case. She was best friends with Ellen Kennedy (Lines now); even had the half heart necklaces to prove it. I guess what made things awkward was that Ellen was my best friend. I think they were friends first but to me it didn’t matter. It just was what it was. Diane and I never got into a cat fight over it but then again, we weren’t those kinds of girls. Maybe a little more mature.

It makes it all the more interesting to me that I find myself in a very similar situation now. At the ripe old age of 39. Is that even possible? Apparently it is. Through the miracle of Facebook, I’ve made a new friend. She is, in fact, the same person I complained about in my post entitled “Facebook” on April 21. My first impression of her was that she was a real pit viper. A total jerk. And then something curious happened. One day I felt, out of the blue, impressed to “friend” her. It seemed absurd. There was no way I was going to do that. And then I did.

A wise woman (Mimi Mitchell, to be exact) once said something in a talk that stuck with me. Exact words I don’t have, but the main point was that when a person lashes out, it’s because they’re in pain. We shouldn’t respond with equal venom but instead we should work to help alleviate it. And this new friend of mine? She’s in a lot of pain. I’ve spent time learning more about her life, her struggles, her pain. I hope that the listening has been of some service to her. I didn’t expect to like her or to learn how much we have in common. It’s felt like one of those shows where never-met siblings are reunited. Totally unbelievable.

But not so fast. An old friend who’s stuck with her throughout the years of this pain and struggle is not at all pleased with our new friendship. I am encroaching on her “territory”. When I first learned of this I laughed. It had to be a joke, right? Soon though, it became particularly unfunny. How sad that we can get to the ages we are without knowing there’s enough of us to go around.

To end on a happier note, Sierra and Josh and I enjoyed a fun evening with Brooks, Mindy, Gillian, and baby Ben. We went to an outdoor presentation of The Misadventures of Cap’n Arr (“The Funniest Pirate to Never Sail the Seven Seas!”) and despite the fact that it was totally weird and way too loud, it was very cool to spend an evening with friends.
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4 comments:

  1. It does help find lost friends, stay in touch with friends, and make new friends, but we still need human contact.

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  2. To quote Rick Springfield, "We all need the human touch". The man was ahead of his time with that song;)!

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  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  4. He was, the song starts "Everybodys talking to computers..." And here we are.

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So, what do you think?