I wrote this on Sunday:
Why is it that so much of RL, 3D, whatever you call it, is such a pain in the ass?
Bills, letters from school; class pictures where the money is due that day and I manage to remember to comb the lad’s hair but I don’t manage to get the cheque to them in time; social engagements where the conversation options are rehashing birthing stories or the latest car show. Friends I can’t manage to keep up with; phone calls; doctor’s offices who persist in submitting to the old insurance from over a year ago, a three year old who won’t just stand there and get dressed already; business trips which extend into the weekend and demolish plans made weeks ago; great patience required by those trying to publish a book; my own apparently dissenting views on Terry May-She-Rest-Peace; music I want to buy; bras that need replacing; irregular heartbeats.
My husband works at home and we get along fabulously in bed and out of it. Why, then, have we managed exactly five minutes per day in conversation time?
I bought new clothes at the mall today to wear out next weekend.
My kids love me - Monkey climbs me and begs to sit on me and just hug on me every day. We get together, reliably, with the same families every Friday night and have fun every week. I have Bunco and the gym, and cute lifeguards at the gym, and I'm getting tan. I have a fairly well-read blog. I have a book at a publisher and I haven't been rejected (well, at least not yet).
I have stories to sell and more to write.
Why then, when I have so much, do I want more? Why is something missing?
WHAT is missing?
I don’t get it and I wonder if I ever will.
Obviously I've had a bit of shitty week - nothing bad in particular but grey, gloomy skies and a husband MIA in California, and my mood. The kids were fine, sweet. I slept late (when I slept - you know how I don't sleep) but I got to places on time. I made all my phone calls. I got some writing done. But it wasn't enough. I was in a funk.
And then I click on Friction and I get nothing.
It was a shock to the system, like... like (you know how I suck at this but I'm trying to practice) like waking up and finding out you don't have the job that you just had in your dream before you woke up. There was that bit of confusion, closely followed by panic. I count on Friction, I count on Greg to chat with. He's a lift to my day.
But, later, after the initial panic had subsided and I'd solved the problem at least temporarily, and then got it solved all the way last night, I had to wonder about my reaction. Had I gotten ensnared in something dangerous or unhealthy? I mean, yeah, he's a superb person and I consider myself lucky to have him in my life in any form -and he's someone I never would have met except in this way. But we're an odd pair to be friends - couldn't lead more different lives, actually. And really, would my life change if he suddenly wasn't in it? I mean, it could happen. I'm pretty sure Greg is his real name, but how could I really know besides him telling me? He doesn't know my real name. One of us could dissappear, (JOOOOOOEEEEEE!!!!!) never to be heard from again. It's not like 3D where we have houses and phone numbers and jobs and kids in the same school. We have URLs and if we're lucky, an email address. It's tenuous here in Pajamaland, and if you get close it takes a formidable constitution against potential loss.
It worried me - my reaction.
Then today a good friend called me - one of my best friends, in fact. We hadn't talked in a couple of weeks and hadn't really connected in even longer. But she needed to talk - needed to unload about what was going on in her life and as I was listening to her I thought, "This is nice. I can be here for her and this is awesome. This is what friendship is."
Like when Greg freaked because I couldn't see his blog. I thought, "Jebus, he really gives a shit. That's a relief - I'm not alone in my insanity. And that's nice - him caring is being a friend."
But I was wrong - nice as both those occurences were, the talking, and Greg caring, they aren't really what friendship is made of. Being friends isn't emotional posts and lending a listening ear. That stuff is all well and good and worthy, but it still isn't quite it.
The essense of friendship came a bit later.
It's actually Greg emailing me the code to his blog last night to make it somehow work. And it was me actually emailing him back - a leap for me, to be sure.
It's actually the other stuff that my friend on the phone and I did in reaction to all that had happened in her year so far. She and I planned a party for the end of April, two events for this weekend, and a trip to New Orleans for May. Just like that. We both need it - we need the together time, we want the pure fun we have with each other. We're close enough that the rules are somehow suspended. We get wild together - not because we have to, but because we can.
It's a neighbor of mine calling to say that yeah, sure, despite the 9 am soccer games, what the hell. Let's go out Friday night and do it up.
It's my best friend from college calling me occassionally on her way to pick up her son at school.
It's three guys on our block stacking their jeeps and taking a million pictures.
It's the next door neighbor kids' tennis shoes on our back porch.
It's my mom having the same friend for over fifty (FIFTY!) years, and staying friends just by writing letters.
It's just the shit you do together and for each other; the debris of connected lives. A lot of it is messy and inconvenient and time-consuming and even, dare I say, boring. I know a lot of people know this - we know it. But we need to be reminded.
The great Blogger god reminded me that I've been taking my friends for granted; especially in 3D, but even you guys; even Greg. I click on you and you're there, every day. I call my friends and they're there, every day.
Only... I haven't really been calling.
And then I realized, suddenly, that the incredibly important minutia of friendship - That's what's missing.