JOIN ME TONIGHT AT BOOKS & BOOKS IN CORAL GABLES, MIAMI. 8PM. CELEBRATE THE RELEASE OF MOOSE! FREE CHOCOLATE, FREE STEPHANIE, AND FREE FRIEND-ON-FRIEND ACTION
I haven’t seen my mother since September, but we’re together now in a hotel room. She’s sitting on the sofa reading Moose for the first time. I’m watching as she reads it, pushing back her cuticles. I just now struggled with how to write that. "I haven’t seen my mother since September, 2007" makes it seem like we’re estranged, and we’re not. We live across the country and don’t speak as often as I’d like, and that’s my fault mostly, as I don’t really talk with anyone much over the phone these last few months. Or is it years? I’ve become a bit hermetic since having Lucas and Abigail, leaving my friends and family, picking up and moving to a city where I didn’t know a single person. You’d think I’d have been a phone junkie, trying desperately to stay connected to all I left behind. Instead, I had babies and Costco with a two-car garage and as cliche as the scenario, I wanted a fresh start, to really view my life as an adventure.
Yes, I remember the Girl Scout motto: make new friends, but keep the old; one is silver and the other is gold. Last time I checked the fashion FAQs, silver and gold just look tacky together. I know people argue that such fashion rules are archaic, but I prefer not to look like a pawn shop. Or a chump. Ever introduce two friends from different categories of your life, only to watch them making plans without you? We’re taught at an early enough age to play nicely, to share our favorite toy, or half of our grilled cheese sandwich. But no one ever tells us to be generous with our friends because when you are, you risk losing them. And it’s not the same with romantic relationships, where someone will speak of a bird in the hand, how it stays there, happy in your hand until you begin to tighten your grip and confine him. Then the "if you set it free and it comes back to you" crap people sling about endings. If you set a friend free in that analogy–"meant to be" or not–you could, quite possibly feel as rejected as you did at your first boy/girl party.
When I lived in New York, once I left my job in advertising to pursue my full-time writing career, I realized in a small way, I missed the random lunches with the random co-workers, and maybe it was time to leave my comfort zone a bit. Despite the friends I had and adored, it couldn’t hurt to make new ones. I signed up to join The Lunch Club, a free service that plans events and introduces strangers over lunches and much more in New York. But in truth, I didn’t make new friends, and like online dating, wondered if the people there only joined because they were desperate. I wasn’t desperate when I turned to the lunch club or to online dating, so I know it’s not the rule, but it still felt like the rule. And it seemed no one was playing by friend-rules anyway. It sucked to hear that while I had no plans, the two friends I’d introduced were off doing things together, without thought of including me. Catching a movie, sharing a cab to the 27th Street flea market, ordering in dinner. Especially since, I’ve always been so inclusive, living by the "more the merrier" adage. It seems that sometimes the more you bring together, the less merrier you’ll be. Intellectually, it sounds so childish, and in practice, I’ll just never be a greedy friend. In fact, I always introduce women to each other, certain they’ll click, despite the knowing they might soon exclude me from their plans. I’ll live as an adult and not a Judy Blume book.