a Tiny description

a full time artist, stepmother, radio personality, and mom to an energetic Chug dog, tries to get through the days without committing a felonious act. My life is a rickety Zen circus.


Sunday, October 15, 2006

what kind of friend are you?

lately, i've been working with metal in my studio. rusty metal to be precise. rusty bits and parts, actually former parts, of cars and who knows what. my mom gave me a jar of rusty nails in an old pickle jar, and every time i open it, the smell of garlic and vinegar wafts through the air. my aunt lillian used to make the best pickles - "lil's dills" we all called them. the finest. so with nothing but my so-called tin men to keep me company, and the smell of pickles reminding me of family, i started wondering about people. specifically friends. what makes one person turn into a friend, and another just a passing aquaintence? what makes one friend a good friend, or best friend, and another a friend-friend? can a "best" friend be reduced to friend-friend status or vice versa? and if so, what criteria do we judge who will hear our deepest confessions and see us through the worst and best times of our lives? i have a "best" friend who i haven't seen in years and has an allergy to the phone, so i haven't even talked to her in ages. we met as reporters for the same news station. we've been through some great and terrible times together, and those pages in our lives bind us together, but should i still consider her a "best" friend? i have another best friend who lives 3 doors away. we stare out our respective front windows at each other's houses and gab on the phone for an hour or two every morning. if i don't call till the afternoon, she worries. we're both artists, we've both lost 4-legged loved ones this year. we both worry about starting a business, day-to-day money stuff, creativity, and on. so we have those similarities, but there's more. so i'm back to what makes one person a best friend, and another a friend-friend? is there a care-and-feeding of a friendship that lets it grow and blossom and become ripe and juicy? is it a yin-yang thing? each brings something to the relationship that completes a circle? i have friendships, that despite my best vows and attempts, i am the dumpster - i'm constantly dumping all my problems on the other person. i try not to, but they have a way of bringing it out of me. i have other relationships where i am the trash hauler - needing to contribute little more than a "umm hmm" at the right moment on the phone. both friends are wonderful, and i wouldn't trade them for anything. both are "good" friends. when we were young, we had that one special "best" friend. that's all our parents heard about was "so-and-so my best friend." and there was only one. two peas in a pod. your own secret world. till a third came around and boy, then there was trouble. now who was going to be the best friend? as adults, we like to think that those "best" friend days are behind us....busy with jobs, family, just trying to get by with busy schedules. but are they behind us? not really. is it that a "best" friend is dependable....they'll be there at 2am when you're crying your eyes out, or just can't sleep, or need a ride to Urgent Care? what about a long distance best friend? i'm thinking, and my tin man on my work table agrees, there's no easy answer here. just as we are attracted to one man over another, i think there is also a chemical kind of thing that makes us gravitate to one female friend over another. and varying degrees of that reaction will determine the hierarchy of the friendship in our mental filing system. all done subconciously. i know a woman who's friend lied to her about some trivial thing. when confronted, the person lied again to cover. in my book, that friendship would be done. but my friend saw other characteristics about this person that she enjoyed being around, so she let the incident go, and continued on with the friendship. now, if i want to be lied to, i'll go hang out in bars again! i think when a female friend hurts us, it is a deep wound. we least see it coming from a female friend. it's like attacking one of your own species...someone from the home team. i have an old boyfriend who once said if we ever had an argument, he'd rather swim naked in a shark tank with turkey drumsticks strapped to his head then risk a dinner party that included my girlfriends. he insisted that women get on "the hotline" and pour out their troubles to each other, call after call, till everyone knew what a terrible person he was. because it was always the man's fault. well, women do "troubles talk." it's part of our nature. and maybe, at that time in my life with those friends, he would have been right to risk the sharks. but now i ask....where are those friends? i haven't talked to most of them in 10 years. i don't think i'd have anything TO talk to them about now. ah ha! so maybe "best" friends are the timeless ones. your relationship isn't dependant upon circumstance or distance or commonalities, as much as it is a certain sameness. sort of - i know you...you are me. so when one of you changes, it doesn't affect the friendship, because the sameness holds you in that bond. you see yourself in the other person - even if they are older, or younger, or taller or wealthier. you are two and you are the same. i paused here for a few minutes after writing that in order to think about the women i consider "best" friends. i tried my theory out for size on each of them - and believe me, you couldn't find a more diverse bunch of women! and each time i put the cloak over someones shoulders - it fit. tall, short, heavy, thin....didn't matter. it fit like a fine couture garment, made special for, and by, each and every one of them. each enhancing my life in ways i don't deserve. each bringing a certain laughter, or quietness, or spirituality or urging-on of my spirit. that cloak of friendship fit each one perfectly. i wonder what it is that i bring to them? because for a "best" friend thing to work, it definately has to be a two-way thing. i wonder what i bring to them? my tin man has no response. L.

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