Thursday, November 10, 2005

New Friends

I need some new friends!  Friends who like the same foods I like, who want to go out when I’m available, who ponder and discuss things I like to think about.  These new friends will not aggravate me by having annoying little habits or life philosophies that disrupt my peace.

You see, my friends IRL (in real life) require so much tolerance.  For some reason, they don’t see things the way I do.  They think that people get colds from being cold or that aches and pains come from eating white flour.  They vote Republican!  They are on special diets and let me know two hours before arriving at my house that they won’t be eating the food I’ve made three trips to the store for and slaved over preparing for half the day.  And people who flit in and out of town, and ask me “what’s new?” knowing perfectly well I am chained to my household and caregiving responsibilities these days, outside of a very short leash that reaches only to the gym and the chain stores.  

Where are the perfect people who don’t drink too much, don’t go off the deep end with whatever it is they’re into?  I’ve heard there is not much difference between hobbies and mental illness.  Not my hobbies of course, other people’s.  Where are the friends who don’t cancel out last minute with some lame excuse?  The friends who are hip, but not obsessed with “hipper than thou” one-upmanship that makes every conversation as comfortable as a root canal?  Or how about people who watch TV shows and movies that make me pity them?  

Then there are the prospective suitors - I guess I should be grateful that they still flirt with me a bit.  Occasionally I still have some chemistry with a man, and I sort of fondly look back at what a fool I was to get sucked in to the drama of the chase, for what, probably 25 years.  I almost wish I didn’t know how predictable that whole situation is.  The flirtation part at first seems so interesting and exciting.  Before long you both realize that you fell in love with a side of yourselves that does not really exist, except at the superficial level.  This doesn’t even count the people who consciously or unconsciously misrepresent themselves, slightly or completely.  The same old crap that broke up your last relationship will probably continue to do its devious work.  We discover that our new love really works best as a “dinner and sex” relationship, once we get past that stage, we are looking for new friends once again, and the cycle repeats itself.  

So what to do?  Throw over all of these imperfect beings?  Or give them a lot of flack and attitude when they are so clearly in the wrong.  How can I, just a mere mortal, educate these poor souls on how to act?   Do they not read Miss Manners?  Were they raised by wolves?  No Internet access?  Luddites?  

The worst of the matter is that I still love many of these people.  Some I admit I can live without, completely.  Some I just have to pace myself.   I have in years gone by, thrown people over for what now seem like relatively minor offenses.  I still find that some friendships ebb and flow, sometimes it is just a click, sometimes a strain.  Some people just seem to be keepers, warts and all.  Almost like family.  At 55, I am looking to build an extended family, since my blood relative family is quite small.  

So it really is all about ME.  It’s all about how harshly I judge them.  It isn’t about them after all!  So bring on the new friends and I will practice this “all about me” thing and take lots of deep relaxing breaths as they do what people do, and I let them.

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