the simple minded suburbanite


What if Your Mary was Right?

Mary is one of my dearest friends, yet she drives me bat shit!  Mostly because Mary is just a little anti.  Anti-neighborhood girls, anti-too-much-wine, anti-spontenaiety, anti-anyone-else’s idea-of-good-time.  But, she’s not anti-social.  She plans outings with our small, but close-knit group of friends.  She hosts family events, invites me to work out at her gym, etc.  All on HER terms, yes, but she is a dedicated and loyal friend.

A few years back, I had my main girls-the ones I could lean on, confide in, be stupid with, which included Mary.  They were and are my “sister-friends” as I’ve heard Mya Angelou refer to her closets women friends.  But, I also had other women friends.  The ones who sat on any given deck on any given Friday (or Tuesday for that matter), drinking lots of wine while our kids played.  The ones who planned the autumn girls weekend, which quickly expanded into another spring girls weekend.  The ones who handed out flourescent-green shots in test tubes to the adults alongside the Snickers for the kids.  My fun friends.

At first, Mary marveled at how I could float in and out of so many social circles.  It seemed fun.  She decided to try it herself but it wasn’t long before Mary couldn’t take it.  It just didn’t suit her and she soon took to calling me before stopping in, verifying, “There’s nobody else there?”  She’d cruise by, intending to stop in only if there were no other beige minivans or black suburbans parked in my drive way.  She’d make a point to say to me, “Don’t invite anyone else” whenever we planned a lunch or a bonfire in the backyard.  She only wanted to spend time with people who “filled her up” she said.  And it pissed me off.

None of my other friends forced me to such separateness.  No other friends were this difficult.  It strained our relationship a bit,a lot even, I admit.

But just the other day, Mary and I’s mutual friend and I turned to each other on the street during a lovely spring walk, “What if Mary was right?” we both chimed and laughed so hard I nearly dislodged my leopard-print underwear from my crack.  We had just finished a conversation, gossip really, about how many of our neighbors were truly falling apart.  How many of these people are the ones who were “the popular ones”, wives who are smaller than their children, husbands who have purchased the new Porsche, kids who have played on the city team since age 5.  The beach houses, the parties, the facials, it all! How emptiness had caught up to many of them.  How life had imposed its magnificent force.  Bankruptcy, personality disorders, pain-killer addictions, anorexia.  All so, seemingly, suddenly.  Seemingly to the rest of us because, they didn’t really let anyone truly know them.  Never let the smile leave their Zap-whitened teeth.  Never let anyone in their house if the housekeeper hadn’t just been there, and then only into the foyer…or the back deck.

I’m not feeling superior here.  I’ve had my problems and you’ve had yours.  But as I’ve gone through life, I’ve begun to realize that I have a need to TRULY connect to people.  That it’s not enough to talk about knockout roses and jeggings.  That if I don’t start applying my ideals of voluntary simplicity to the relationships I chose in my life, I will have no room to nurture the truly meaningful ones, including the one with myself.  It has been time to de-clutter.  Time to line my shelves with a few, well-placed works of art.  Still, I can make room for a blizzard of Halloween decor, or a barf-fest of fresh pine boughs on the right occasion.  But, these need to go back in the basement, it’s crazy to have them hanging around every day of every year.  Pine boughs drop their needles if left up too long.  The spooky skeleton don’t look so spooky if you start hanging your backpack and soccer shorts from his tibia.  But a fine work of art, a treasured piece of pottery, a gorgeous tapestry, they can stop me in my shoes, they can force a small gasp on any given Tuesday or Friday afternoon.  They fill me up all of the time.

So, maybe my Mary was right. My unique work of art.  That sister-bitch!

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[…] may recall my post “What if Your Mary Was Right“.  In it, I disussed how Mary is very keen on the idea of living her life in line with her […]

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