Last night I got on the subway and there was a woman sitting down and taking up two seats. She had her shopping bags on the seat next to her so I said “excuse me” and she took the bags down. I looked across the way and there was a couple there grinning, like they had been annoyed she hadn’t taken her bags down ages ago. I sat and was happy.
A few stops later I looked up because there was another young woman leaning over us who nearly fell. She had been looking at the paper that my seat mate was writing on.
This stranger was trying to help the woman next to me work out her math homework.
I offered her my seat and when I looked back at them a few stops later this manicured blonde was giving this woman private math tutoring.
It was such a beautiful sight, this young beautiful woman explain the finer points of fractions to this older stranger.
In a world full of bad, there is still good. Come to New York and see.
I broke up with a guy.
Ha, I mean, break up is a strong phrase. We had three dates and some heavy petting. Then some water and a really great conversation about our pasts.
But he’s not the guy for me. I knew it quickly.
The conversation we had just before I booted him was pretty great. We talked through his exes, what they taught him, just stuff.
He took it gracefully. I told him we needed to end the romantic part of our relationship because it wasn’t leading anywhere and then we both giggled and agreed about how much we wanted to stay friends.
We got lunch and texted a bunch in the week that followed. It seems to be going well.
Wanna come over and eat brownies and watch Lemonade?
Uh, yes. Duh.
And then we were back on my couch, he occasionally mumbled comments through the “visual album” which I consistently hushed. No talking allowed.
Then, as I was preparing to kick him out and brush my teeth he snuck in
Thanks for our conversation last week. I’ve never talked like that with anyone before, gotten to examine those things. It was really cool.
You don’t have friends you talk things through with?
Some of my female friends but yeah, none of my guy friends. I talk through their stuff sometimes but for some reason never my own. I’m even nervous right now, having this conversation.
Well in that situation we must continue it!
Guys. What are you doing? Be better friends to each other! It’s depressing and boring when me breaking up with you is the most relevant and vulnerable conversation you’ve ever had. I want to live in a better world than that. I want to live in a more supportive world than that. I want to live in a world where men can have intimate conversations with me without shaking. Where maybe they’ve asked themselves these questions before.
This stupid Buzzfeed article keeps popping up and bothering me.
Things like ‘you have horrible pictures of each other’ and every sentence starts with ‘remember when?’
Having old friends is great. I love the few old friends I still have (shout out to one who just got engaged this week!). But the truth is that I don’t have many of them. My first best friend, I love her but she has her own life, arguably both more exciting and more mature than mine. I see her when I can (and love it) but even when we were small it never felt like we were each others highest priorities. We’d take a picture together at a bar mitzvah and then immediately run off to our other friends. We were admittedly best friends of convenience in a class that had three girls in it.
The next girl I called my best friend is full of the testing, the emotional betrayal and the underhanded digs that you’d expect from Regina George. I look back on the time together and see myself as the victim. I’m sure the moments I pushed back live on in her memory as the abuses she had to endure. And while I do remember my aching need to show her my undying loyalty to her, the memory of it brings to mind one of my favorite quotes from We Need To Talk About Kevin,
Before you condemn me utterly, I beg you to understand how hard I’d been trying to be a good mother. But trying to be a good mother may be as distant from being a good mother as trying to have a good time is from truly having one. [x]
When we graduated and weren’t physically close anymore it took us about a year of pretending to still care before she sent me a long, accusatory email, dismissing me from her life. I had just moved into a new apartment that day and I remember reading her message, a smidgen of heat rising to my face and then just deleting it and thinking how quick and painless that long overdue breakup was.
It’s the friends who I’ve made since then who I feel are worth keeping.
My roommate from college who I think of literally daily.
The friends who live in other cities and who I’ve started sending postcards to.
The friends I’ve made since my dad died. Who were there, who listened to everything good and bad that spewed out of me and are still a part of my life.
And the common thread is me. Maybe I’m just better at being a friend now than I was in the past. Maybe I care more about doing a decent job at it.
So take that Buzzfeed!
Today at work a lovely woman I sometimes see was talking about her upcoming wedding plans. One of the guys remarked that when he was studying psychology in school he was advised, “before you marry, spend time with your fiance’s parents. The way you react to her mom, take note of that.”
“Oh, no!” my engaged friend remarked. “That can’t be. He’s nothing like his dad. His dad makes me nuts. And I’m nothing like my mom.”
People my age brag about this all the time. I’m nothing like my mother. Meanwhile I’m hearing my mothers voice flying out of my mouth every minute of every day. I look down at my hand grabbing something and see hers at the end of my arm.
A few years ago I asked a friend
How many times a day do you think I’m becoming my mother to yourself?
About once a week.
ONLY ONCE A WEEK?!
I’m heartened by the fact that people tell me I sound more like my grandmother (who died before I could talk) than my mother. Which means that I’m the embodiment of best qualities of the two.
It doesn’t scare me, turning into my mother.
Or shall I say, the new and improved version of my maternal lineage.
Now stop bragging mom. I know you’re reading this.