I’ve been thinking a lot about friendship lately. While this probably has little to do with Duran Duran, we can file this under the “life in general” heading. Friendship changes after fifty, doesn’t it? No one mentioned this in the fine print…
I have a group of friends here at home. We get together a couple of times a month for a variety of reasons. Most of us are married, and so it is husbands and wives coming together for a few hours. I really have come to hate the frenetic pace of it all. We get together, eat the food, have a glass of wine or two and rush to leave by 8:30. First of all, I’m not old. I don’t have to be in bed by 10pm, or even midnight. I’m not a clock-watcher. Second, we hardly have time to get beyond the “Hi, how are you’s” before someone announces its bedtime and makes their way to the door. It’s irritating.
The other thing that truly drives me nuts, is that Walt and I are the only ones of this group with a child (actually two!) still living at home. We work hard to make sure we are there for our daughter, but also are there for our friends. Yet it is everyone else in this group that has scheduling issues. Trying to get together with even one couple from this group is just ridiculous. They are either driving to So Cal to babysit grandkids, or bringing them up here to babysit, (I am probably the only mom in America that has absolutely zero desire to ever be a grandparent. Another story for another blog!), or they can’t be out past 8pm because they’ve got to be home exactly on time to give medicine to their dog, or they insist on being in bed by 10pm and not eating or drinking after 8 because they’re entirely too regimented for my taste.
I just can’t with all of that. I’m tired, you guys. I am in need of a friend who isn’t psycho, is willing to drink wine, and is complementary to my own slightly uptight nature. Is that too much to ask? They don’t even HAVE to be a Duran Duran fan, although that could be a bonus. Maybe…but maybe not.
I’ve never been one to surround myself with more than a few friends. I’m sure it will come as shock to no one that during middle and high school, I was not among the most popular. Aside from not having the middle school requirements of a great wardrobe or being cool, in high school I just didn’t care. I knew a lot of people, but the group I called my friends was relatively small. During college, the same held true. I joined a sorority, but I never quite felt comfortable. Too many girls, too many opinions, and far too many eyes judging one another. It wasn’t my scene at all. I found a few close friends, although it was a constant roller coaster of drama that I didn’t miss once I graduated.
After college, life inevitably changed. My greatest chance for socializing came through working, and I learned to embrace being introverted. Let’s just say I’m horrible at office politics. Then, when I began staying home after having a baby, I retreated even farther into my shell.
None of that is really shocking. At least, not to me. Then again, I lived it! I don’t like being part of a big group. I like getting to know a few people really well and being able to trust them implicitly. In a large group, that’s just not the way it is. Conversations stay shallow, and if you can get a word in edgewise, well, that’s great. In larger groups you’re forced to either share with everyone or not at all. Having to decide who to share what with is not a life skill I employ well. (if that wasn’t already obvious from my blogging…)
I’m horrible when it comes to maintaining friendships. Like everyone, my life is busy. Even so, I try to make getting together with my friends a priority. Not everyone else does, though. One of my friends here is so attached to her adult children that she texts with them all day long. They play games (Heardle, Wordle and some cooking game thing) together over text, and they just chat. It also doesn’t matter what we’re doing, if they call her – she drops everything to talk to them. Admittedly, I spend a fair amount of time trying to decide if I’m annoyed by the whole thing, or just jealous, or both. I speak to my oldest maybe once a week. I almost never drive to So Cal in order to see her. She works seven days a week, so there would be no point. I wouldn’t see her even if I still lived there. She has her own life, and really – I raised her that way! She comes to visit when she can, which is really a couple of times a year, and that’s fine. I miss her, but like I said, she’s living her own life now.
Then, there is the Duran Duran fandom. I’ve been around for a long, long, time now. I’ve had my share of friendships, and a few that went sour along the way. While I still have a couple of friends I believe have my back, by and large, most people will cut you while you sleep in order to make their way up the social hierarchy. It might not even be about the hierarchy itself. Maybe they’ll take a stab at you in order to make themselves look better, feel better, or get closer to someone who knows the band. Perhaps it isn’t even that sinister, but I’m betting it is.
At one point, I wouldn’t have minded it so much. These days though, I don’t want to fight so hard to keep my friendships – whether it is due to a schedule that cannot budge to fit in friend time, or because your friend is in demand by others who want to use their popularity to help boost their own. Emotionally, I’m tapped out.
Anyone who has read my blogs knows – I spend time helping with my mom. In her case, it isn’t just visiting, but monitoring her accounts. That’s a story in and of itself, but it’s worn me down over the year she’s been out here so far (feels like it has been ten). Sometimes. I’m down about it. Other times, I’m mad. Still other times I feel like I can keep going. Today is not that day.
I just don’t remember friendships being this hard to find and keep. Maybe back when I had kids at home, I didn’t even try. I did the parenting thing, was friendly when I needed to be, and then I’d go home and do the Duran Duran fandom stuff. That was my escape, my joy, and truthfully, my mischief too! These days though, I find it takes far more than a WhatsApp group, a Twitter, or even an Instagram account and a presale to keep me feeling like I’ve found my people. Or maybe I’m just ready for more than back stabbing, social climbing and one-upping each other on the way to getting a band member to pay attention. Who knows?
As far as friendships go, I hate being on the phone. This is one thing that has not changed for me, ever. If I like you, I’ll text back and forth with you. If I really like you, I’ll send an email catching you up. Emails take more time, and I don’t send them to just anyone. Back in the 80s, I was famous for handing out notes to my friends (You know, the ones that when folded looked like a cute envelope?), and my childhood best friend still has letters we wrote back and forth to one another when she moved out of town. I’ve always been a wordy-one!! The phone though? Don’t call me unless you’re having a serious emergency, like something that would require a shovel, rope, and perhaps duct tape.
In which case, I got you, my friend!
Your gal with the shovel and supplies,