Yesterday at the bookstore, Leigh and I were giggling over some silly thing and I started thinking about a post from one of my favorite blogs, Moms Who Drink And Swear. In “Making A New McFriend At The Play Place“, Nicole Knepper describes meeting a mom while watching her kid play in the tubes; “More cracking up. I noticed we were both wearing pajama pants. I wondered if she hadn’t brushed her teeth either. I was falling in love with her. Not in the sexual, I want to jump her mom bones way, but in the-OH MY GOD I LOVE THE WAY THIS BITCH THINKS-way. Know what I mean?”
Yes, Nikki, I do know what you mean. My BFF lives across the freakin’ country from me, and I fly up here every chance I get, but it would be really nice to have a friend at home. Don’t get me wrong, I do have some wonderful friends at home, and I love every one of them. But I’m talking about the kind of friend where she’d rather come over an hour early so you can have more time doing things together than have you waste an hour cleaning the house before she’s allowed in. The kind of friend that has you doubled over in the aisle at Michaels because you both hate Martha Stewart with unbridled passion. That friend who calls you at 10pm, desperate because she’s determined to make pith helmets out of glue and cheese cloth for every kid invited to her kid’s birthday party at 10am the next morning, and rather than talk her down, you fucking drive to her house and stay up all night making pith helmets from glue and cheese cloth. Yes, that really happened; no, I was not the one who decided to make them, I was the friend who showed up to help; no, they did not turn out like pith helmets because they didn’t dry in time, but we laughed our asses off about it for ages; no, that was not my friend Leigh, it was someone with whom I am no longer friends, and while I don’t miss her, I miss the quality of friendship that we had while it lasted. That friendship was over at least 20 years ago, and I have yet to find another one like it, besides Leigh.
I did try putting an ad in craigslist, and I did manage to find someone that I thought would be a great friend, but it turned out that she was super high maintenance, and kinda expected me to be on-call, even while recovering from my hysterectomy. Trust me, if we’d been friends for more than three weeks, I would have totally been all over it, but we weren’t there yet. I gave up after that point.
I read a lot of chick-lit, and I KNOW these things are fiction, because dammit, these awesome women are as fucking elusive as fairies. Obviously, Nikki Knepper is a real person, and Leigh and I are real people, but where are the rest of us? Chick-lit flies off the shelves; surely I am not the only woman who is so desperate to find a like-minded friend, we read about them just so we can have them in our lives for 90 minutes. Smart, sarcastic, bitterly funny but not bitter, Starbucks-guzzling, pro-reproductive rights but not militant women.
I’m sure a large majority of my problem is that I live in Texas. The other problem is that in my head, I’m still 18-22. I read young adult fiction, and I don’t just mean Harry Potter and Twilight. I don’t have any urge to go clubbing, but it would be nice to have a friend who likes karaoke every now and again, and who doesn’t mind helping me drink a bottle of wine while we do something crafty. It doesn’t even have to be the same craft; I’m not picky! And while I don’t expect this person to have fibromyalgia, nor do I expect them to listen to me whine about it constantly (I am not a whiner, but I will bitch about being pissed at my body betraying me), I at least expect them to respect that fibro is a real disease. On those days when I feel like crap, it would be awesome to have a friend to come over and sit with me while I’m stuck in bed, and distract me with stupid stories about stupid people.
Which is why my daughter is my BFF at home. Aubrey is/does all those things. But I want her to have her own life, not be tied to mine. I want her to have her own crazy friends her own physical age, and eventually, her own insanely idiotic failed adventures making party favors for a four year old.
I know that in the past, I’ve lost friends because I was a bad friend. I’ve also lost friends because *they* were bad friends. And of course, I’ve lost friends because our lives just went in different directions and we didn’t have anything in common anymore. But for the life of me, I can’t remember how to make a friend, or even where to start.
Short of moving to Chicago and begging Nikki Knepper to be my friend or spending a fortune in flying to Leigh’s three or four times a year, I’m not sure quite what to do. I really hope 2014 is the year I can figure it out.