“Everything comes and goes
Marked by lovers and styles of clothes
Things you once held high
and told yourself were true —
Lost or changing
as the days come down to you.”
People are a pain in the butt. You can’t live with ’em, you can’t live without ’em.
And…if you move in with ’em, immediately the compromises begin.
I have an orange-colored “etc” candle that I’ve had since the 1970s. I admit it’s kinda tacky…but I love the thing. However, the person who I last lived with did *not* like it. Therefore, it could not be displayed prominently in any of the shared rooms of the house.
My groovy treasure of orange kitsch has travelled with me from town to town and state to state for approximately 35 years. And then suddenly, it had to be banished from my direct line of sight. It was devastating.
Eventually I was booted out of that situation. Now I have my own place and I can have the darn thing prominently displayed anywhere I want. And so it has been. That is, until a couple of months ago when one of my guy-friends came in to do some pet-sitting for me. He did a little cleaning and dusting and rearranged a bit of my clutter for me while the cats hid from him. To my surprise, he had moved the “etc” candle to a less conspicuous place. I guess it had offended his totally-gay sensibility of decor.
So sometimes, you can’t even let ’em in temporarily!
Anyway…I live alone now, which is cool, but there are days when the “can’t live without ’em” stupor comes over me and I feel lonely.
So sometimes I kinda, you know, make myself vulnerable and extend an invitation of friendship out into the world. There are no strings attached; no hidden agendas. I just want to have an intelligent conversation, for christ’s sake.
And maybe I’ll get a few bites on the line and things look promising…perhaps we connect or talk…and then…poof!
It’s back to, “Okay, yeh, whatever. I’m a survivor. I’ll just grow old alone and die with 50 cats swirling around my undiscovered corpse.”
The friendship dance often flabbergasts me — CONFOUNDS me. There are a ton of lonely people Out There but but folks don’t connect!
And sometimes when you DO connect and offer the sacred gift of trust, it’s taken for granted.
Yes, I’ve had my share of Best Buddies here in Sacramento…but people are people and they come and go. One of them moved to New Mexico with the “LoveOfHerLife.” Another is working more hours, learning to play the cello and volunteering with dogs. Another friendship was wounded and died because it turned into a “relationship.”
There are times when I feel more comfortable hangin’ with the homeless peeps who congregate at the church. Many of these folks are the “real deal” — they are living day-to-day, in the present moment, in the unfiltered reality of the Now.
At the Community Dinner last night I sat at a round table with 5 of ’em. Two of them are a couple who have been married 30 years. One of them was an ex-Marine. Another was about the 123rd homeless guy I’ve met whose first name is Robert. Sitting next to me was a 46-year-old fellow named Willard who quietly confided to me that he was 5 days sober. In that moment, all was good. Each of them had stories to tell and they were *happy* to have someone to listen to them.
And what’s also cool is that I don’t have to take any of ’em home with me.
And then there are the folks in my FaceBook tribe who sometimes seem more close to me than people who are…well, close to me.
I do have one friend here who has kinda become a Best Buddy in spite of ourselves. It just kind of happened, like kids at the playground…we worked around spats and periods of “I’m not talking to HER” and we built-up trust. We do the dance very care-fully.
And maybe that’s the secret…you don’t search-with-a-vengeance for peeps to hang out with. You just kind of have to sit back and do your best while living without ’em and then thoroughly enjoy the fleeting moments when they are around.
“…the best friend is one who realizes our sameness and is skilled in helping us help ourselves.” (Pema Chödrön)
©January 2011 by Phyllis J. Hanniver
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