Monday, July 12, 2010

Les vieux amis sont les meilleurs amis

I have been so TIRED lately. Just absolutely, positively, worn out. Tired to the point of laying on the couch staring at the ceiling while Piper scatters toys in her wake and rummages through the fridge. It has been miserably hot here, close to 100 every day for weeks on end with humidity that makes the air difficult to breathe.

On top of that, our city has been in the top 5 places in the nation for ozone alerts for almost two weeks. I heard the phrase "orange-level ozone alert" multiple times every day on the radio for over a week before I looked up what it meant. The newscasters on tv & radio were quite happy to repeat the phrase every chance they got, but they always neglected to mention that it means air pollution mixed with intense humidity and that when it's at an orange level you're supposed to stay indoors as much as possible (especially young children, the elderly, or anyone with asthma or breathing problems), not exercise outside, not drive if you can help it, and avoid idling in traffic if you do. Which just sort of made me laugh, because school is out for the summer and the last thing any parent wants is to be trapped in the house all day with kids, and it's not like you can walk to much here (and it's too hot/ozone-y to do so even if you could), so "try to stay indoors" means everyone will have to jump in their cars and drive all over from one air-conditioned locale to another all day long.

We just got done with another round of company - my godparents were here for five days. Piper hadn't seen either of them since she was an infant, but took to them right away, happy to have more people to play with her and read her stories. They also took her for a ride in their bright-blue convertible, which, as far as she was concerned, was more fun than anyone could ever ask for. My parents are due in this weekend for a few days, and in a couple weeks, some friends from Chicago are coming through on their way back from the beach.

I have to say that, although I love my family, we have been looking forward to our friends' visit most of all. I never do manage to get down to the Windy City to see them when I visit Michigan; these trips North are always just Piper & me, and I can't seem to manage the 4-hour drive between Detroit and Chicago alone with a car-hating toddler. But they are kind enough to drive up and meet us halfway when we're there, and made the drive all the way down here for a weekend visit last Spring.

With every set of company, there's extra cleaning and cooking, and it's nice to have grandparents around to entertain the kid, but it's different with friends. There is comfort in being able to cook something and knowing the people at the table will eat it, instead of inspecting it for surreptitious vegetables or refusing to touch it because "I don't like the smell of curry." It's nice being able to suggest Ethiopian or sushi for lunch and hear enthusiasm rather than nose-wrinkling and thinly-veiled ethnic xenophobia. We can each browse the Internet on our phones or laptops while watching a movie and share stuff from our Google Readers and nobody thinks twice about the arrangement. They can work our electronics without written instructions and four run-throughs. We all like the same kind of movies and they don't require the volume turned up to ear-spliting levels.

These are friends of my husband's, from college, and as happens with many couples, they've become my friends too. We have a few friends here, but none as close as friends from our old life and locales. All this moving around has made me realize that I keenly miss people who know me. I like making new friends (who doesn't need more friends?!), but sometimes I just want to hang out with people who already know that I like my margaritas on the rocks and have listened to many of my drunken ramblings but don't hold that against me. People who I can trade music with, who will point me to new bands and listen to the mix cds I make for them. People we already have a history with, already share an ease of space and conversation with. Since moving here, I've so often felt like I was swimming upstream against a hard current to make and keep connections, fighting all the time to maintain the few friendships I've managed to cultivate. It will be nice to let go and drift for a while, floating along surrounded by familiarity.


nejyerf said...

this was beautiful. just beautiful. and i know exactly how you feel. even after living in NJ for 16 years i still don't have the friends like my friends i left behind.

ABL said...

I want to get you drunk & listen to you ramble.

ABL said...

I just realized that sounds like a pick up line from an 17 year old freshman.

It's still true though.