“I could spend a happy morning seeing Piglet.
And I couldn’t spend a happy morning not seeing Piglet.”–Winnie the Pooh, on Friendship
One thing that has kind of surprised me about the process we’ve been muddling through, trying to figure out what we’re doing here, is that I’m reluctant to go Somewhere Else because I have such a wonderful bunch of friends.
I’m surprised and delighted to realize how much this matters. I spent a lot of my life being the kind of person who wouldn’t think twice about going somewhere for purely social reasons. I was proud of not being the sort of person who would pick a college because her high school boyfriend was going there. It was one of the ways my brother and I differentiated from each other–he had a social life. I was busy with homework and rehearsal. I got along well enough with other people, but I rarely hung out with anyone (except JC and his sister) outside of school.
When I spent a couple of months in Michigan in 2012, the hardest part was not seeing my friends. I have friends there, of course, but they were very busy. I didn’t see them outside of rehearsal, and the days were long. It was strange to not have people I could just text to get together for a cup of coffee or to run around at the park.
Everywhere I go in this town, I run into people I am delighted to see.
They are from so many different parts of my life. It’s not just “theater people,” but people I’ve taught with, worked alongside, and played with. At my church, people get up to speak and I think how privileged I am to get to worship with such an amazing bunch of interesting weirdos. So many of them have tremendous wisdom to offer, or insightful questions to ask.
It really is the Friendly City.
And then there are the people I need to see, the ones that I miss deeply when life interrupts our regular gatherings. Silas gets sad when he doesn’t have his regular playdate (today, I told him that Elisabeth is in school and so we won’t see her tomorrow, and he said, “But I like her so much.”), but I think I get worse. I absolutely need that time with Laura and Bethany to just laugh at how absurd all of our lives are. We encourage each other and provide perspective and a reality check, and I need that.
When JoEtta asks me if I’d like to come over for lunch, I look forward to it all week. I think about what we will talk about and how she will surprise me with her humor and her clear-sightedness. I need that, too.
When Kirsten and Jason stop by and we get them to stay for dinner, I find myself thinking, “Oh, this is what I hoped my life would be like, someday.” I love having friends who are smart and who do repartee, even. I never know what new thing they will be working on or thinking about or reading, and my world gets bigger when they visit it.
I’m going to offend people by not mentioning them. If you think, “Hey, why am I not called out by name? Why am I not on that list?” you probably are. It was just getting repetitive and a bit boring to see it written out like that, so I abbreviated.
It’s just so odd to me, to be someone who needs my friends so much. I know that, anywhere I went, I would probably find people eventually. I have reason to believe I’m getting a little better at making friends. It’s just…I like these friends. As one of my grad school classmates said, rolling her eyes at the incoming class, “The people one knows are inherently superior to the people one doesn’t know, if you know what I mean.”
Growing up is interesting, because I’m often surprised at the kind of person I’m turning out to be. It’s nice; I was getting bored with being the other sort.