Do you have any friends? I mean, real-life friends, not just cyber-friends? I do. I have, like 78 or maybe 423. It varies from week to week. It’s because I live in Podunk, Oregon, where I have lived since my parents brought wee little me home from the hospital.
This means I have friends from grade school, high school, college (I went to college in downtown Podunk), and every bar, neighborhood and job I’ve ever known. I am what you call “a people person.”
This does not make me a good friend. However, within this crazy corral of friends, I have four or five true-blue girlfriends, and to them I will remain loyal and steadfast for all of my days.
“A good friend will help you move, but a good girlfriend will help you move a body.”
Girlfriends, yes, the ones who know all about your crazy inner-heartaches and who have seen you through several bad haircuts and numerous drafts of your unpublished manuscripts.
Those girlfriends, for me, are Misses P, Zip, M, Leslie, S, and Beth. (That’s six.) (That’s a lot.) (I am lucky and not worthy, even one bit.)
My real-life friends, who never got enough attention to begin with, have been sadly neglected since I started a blog almost three years ago. For instance, my oldest childhood friend, Miss P (and by “oldest” I am not referring to her age. I mean, we have been friends longer than I’ve been friends with anyone else). (Got all that?) The girl lives five minutes from me. Fifteen if I’m walking. But do I see her? No. Does she call? No. It must have been something in the water in our neighborhood because she is as terrible about calling and visiting as I am.
Then comes a message through one of her co-workers, whose daughter is in my Sunday School class. “She lost your number! You have to call her.” (That is how Portland goes — you only catch up with friends when you know someone who knows someone who remembers you or them.) (Or you slept with someone in common, and now you’re both married to other people, and you never see the person you both used to sleep with, but you run into their ex and you’re all, Oh. My. Gosh! It is good to see you! Where are you working now? Are you still playing music? etc.)
OK. That was three days ago, when I got that message during Sunday School, but have I called? I am this way with many of my friends. Flighty. Random. Meaning well but not always following through. I’m ready to stop the blogging for a second and go call her. (Home number: disconnected. Work number (even though I know she still works there): wrong number. Parents’ home phone: No go. They’ve moved out of state. Generally, you can find most native Portlanders through their relatives ’cause mostly none of us ever leave. I sometimes get calls from people looking for my mother, sister or one of my cousins.)
Cell phone! Got her.
me: “I’m blogging about you!”
my girlfriend: “You’re what?”
me: “Blog. Ging. Go read it! I’m posting it in two minutes. I’ll call you back after I get the kids to bed…”
my girlfriend: “Cool.”
I am thankful for my friends. For their forgiveness of my flightiness, my quirks, my volatile nature.
I am especially grateful for Planet Nomad (Beth), cuz she, like my girlfriend Miss P who I just hung up on, has stood by me through many years of flightiness. Two decades’ worth, to be almost precise. (Now go read her blog, cuz she posted her first Thursday Thirteen and it is all about me! And it’s not even my birthday! So I wanted to return the favor.)
I am glad to know her, and her sweetheart of a husband, and their three incredible and beautiful kids. I am grateful and a little giddy that they are here from Africa for the year. I do not want them to leave, but that is selfish of me. I think the thought and then I shoot it out of my head and get mad at myself for being so selfish. Then I start crying a little, feeling sorry for me, because they’re not here to stay, and they don’t even know my husband, hardly, or my kids, barely, and what do we have to do, go to Morocco to have coffee with them? (That’s where they’re going next, allegedly.) (And way to enjoy their time here, woo!)
This line of thought is almost as selfish as my having forgotten to invite the Planet Nomads to my wedding. (I spaced on a lot of people, not just them. I kicked myself for about two years after our wedding. Sorry, you guys. It wasn’t that fun, don’t think you missed out.) (Are they out of the room? It was real fun, our wedding, for reals. I am such a lameass.)
Here are 13 things I love about my girl, Planet Nomad:
1. She seems to have forgiven me for no wedding invite.
2. She is a grounded, devout, deep, intelligent, articulate and kind person, and so humble and low-key about it.
3. We have quite different political beliefs (well, we do and we don’t, but it’s complex, where we’re both coming from. Does that make any sense?), but we set it all aside and love and respect one another.
4. That’s because we both want the same thing: For people to love each other, tolerate each other, not hurt each other. We want our kids to grow up healthy and strong and have good, long lives, filled with friends, music, art, books and yummy food to eat.
5. She is an amazing writer. We met at the Portland State University Vanguard, the student newspaper. Even back then, we both took our writing seriously, and took each other’s writing seriously. She was one of the first people I trusted, artistically. (So snooty, eh?)
6. A shout-out to our husbands, who are astounding artists and writers, in addition to being two of the best fathers I’ve ever met: Sahara Jones (and Lumiere) and More Hockey Less War.
7. I love my friend Planet Nomad because the girl, she is always level-headed. Even when she’s shaving her legs while she’s in labor, picking out wine, deciding to pack up her family for an international move, or homeschooling three children in French. She does everything in a calm, practical way.
8. I think we can all learn a little something here.
9. She loves books and Keats as much as I do.
10. She’s always, always, always late. In our social circle, she is as well-known for her lack of punctuality as she is for her korma, fairy cakes, and eggplant specialties. I am not a prompt person, myself, but she makes me look positively uptight and chop-chop about scheduling.
11. This pleases me, because, you know, I like knowing that she’s not perfect.
12. Through Planet Nomad, I met our friend Leslie and I love her, and Libby, who is Leslie and Planet Nomad’s dear friend, and it’s all one big lovefest. Also, Planet Nomad has some complex friendship with one of my Wacky Cousin’s half- or step-siblings and I always forget that they know each other, so she and her husband know my cousin. Also, my sister. Actually, I think they knew my sister, to start, better than they knew me. I always forget this. I kinda forgot to tell her they were back in town until they’d, um, already been here a week? Yeah, don’t think I didn’t get an earful about that.
I was all, “Oh, you know them, too?”
Beth, I love you. Happy Thursdays, babies!