This weekend I got to meet some new friends. They were introduced through my husband; he had worked with these people, traveled with these people, and I ruefully admit I would have loved to have made a good impression. Not sure that that actually happened. And after what I’m about to tell you … you’ll see that I’m not sure I ever even had a chance of it happening.
First, I brought a dessert, only to have it devoured in the first two minutes of getting there, realizing quickly I didn’t bring nearly enough for everyone there. Next, we went boating. I insisted on sitting on the floor of the pontoon boat to make room for more people, only to be hit by a wall of water that spilled over the boat, completely soaking my (yeah, you guessed it) WHITE skirt through. As if that mortification in front of the random teenage cousins on the boat wasn’t bad enough, as I was stepping off (dripping wet and praying you couldn’t see my underwear) one of these young strangers helpfully pointed out that I had a spider crawling on me. Sure enough! There the awkward little sucker was, scuttling right across my left boob! As my cheeks burned with embarrassment, all I could think was … thank God he didn’t try to swat it off! After being given a pair of shorts to wear while my skirt dried out, I thought I’d speed up the process by asking to use the dryer, which resulted in a horrible natural gas-leak smell that filtered through the patio, since the dryer was rarely used. Needless to say, I turned off the dryer, drove twenty minutes home to change and got back just in time for the fireworks.
Believe it or not … the day was super fun … I’m just not sure I was able to replace the chagrined, agitated, discombobulated version of myself with the confident, witty, charm I had been going for. Mark Twain once said that, “Comparison is the death of joy,” but I do wish they would have been able to see me on one of my more “together” days.
Tonight we spent the night with friends too … OLD friends this time – the ones who have already seen through the picture-perfect venire I try to introduce myself with, and who love me for the chips, cracks and dents in my composure. I am not afraid to embarrass myself, because I already have … multiple times, and those moments have become memories that we laugh over and cherish. At their place I bring more than enough dessert, because I know here is the place we are comfortable enough to eat more than we should. We have snacks before lunch, before the snacks before dinner, before the “one-more-piece-of-pizza-and-I’ll-pop” contentment settles us in for the night. We played games, and teased one another relentlessly play by play. We weren’t worried about our kids and what they might say or do at the inappropriate time. We were us, fully and truly and it felt great to know that I didn’t have to be disappointed in any unmet expectation because among old friends … there aren’t any.
I think George Eliot had it right when he said, “It is easy to say how we love new friends, and what we think of them, but words can never trace out all the fibers that knit us to the old.”
Here’s to appreciating friends: the new, the old, and everyone in-between.