Tuesday, October 7, 2008


TIM: My, you're happy.

ME: Oh I know! I reconnected with an old friend from high school back home. Turns out we only live a few miles apart and we're going to meet for dinner. Isn't that crazy? Thousands of miles from home and here we are, so close to one another. And we've been neighbors for seven years and didn't know about it!

TIM: What's her life like now?

ME: Well, it's probably nice. Her husband is a golf pro and she lives in a very exclusive neighborhood.

TIM: I see...go on.

ME: What do you mean, "go on"...that's it.

TIM: That's it? There's nothing else rolling around in that head of yours? You're not consciously or unconsciously comparing your lives?...your looks?...your neighborhoods?

ME: Tim, it's not like that between us. We're old friends.

TIM: Who haven't spoken in almost ten years and have managed to miss seeing each other despite being neighbors for seven of those years.

ME: Well, her life lead her down a different path. She married into some money, divorced, married a golf pro and lives a very nice life. That isn't to say she hasn't had her internal struggles, we all have.

TIM: But she didn't have any material struggles, right? She's never had to "Donna Summer" it.

ME: Tim, that's a relatively obscure cultural reference that few people would get. Did you mean to say she's never had to "work hard for the money"?

TIM: Of course I did. I was being hip.

ME: Stop that.

TIM: Holla at cha boy.


TIM: So, you're about to have dinner with an old friend from the past who hasn't shared your struggles. She's led a relatively privileged existence while you have, shall we say, NOT. She's traveled the world and in fact just returned from a "jaunt" to Italy with her daughter and you have...

ME: Boldly sped around the switch backs of Aguanga on the back way to Temecula.

TIM: Nice try. There are no switch backs in Aguanga.

ME: I know. But it sounded fierce...just for a second.

TIM: Where are you dining?

ME: A gourmet pizza place on El Paseo in Palm Desert.

TIM: Perfect.

ME: I know! Who gets dressed up for pizza?

TIM: You do, apparently.

ME: Yea, whatever. I just want to visit with my old friend. We had so much fun speaking together on the phone. We talked about her mother and her father. She asked about my mom, whom she always loved. In fact, our mothers are neighbors now! She said she loved California, as I do, but that she couldn't find any real friends and that just the other day she has said a prayer she could find a good friend and voila!...she found my name on some weird classmate reunion thing that I had just joined the day before. It seems providential.

TIM: Then what are you worried about?

ME: I WASN'T worried! You were the one with the weird doubts and questions.

TIM: Deborah, you know how this works. My purpose is to give voice to your unspoken thoughts and concerns and internal conflicts and then provide a rational response viz a viz "my" voice so you can feel better about things, right?

ME: Look, if you explain it in those terms, it's not quite as effective. You have to remain in character or else I just appear needy and a tad psychotic.

TIM: Fine. *clearing throat* Deborah, you and this woman were friends way before "life" stepped in between the two of you. You are coming from a "shared base"; a common root system. The bond you created during your adolescence appears to have remained intact as evidenced by the emails and phone conversation each of you have shared. For goodness sake, your new found friend actually prayed to find a companion before finding you! I know you well enough to know that THAT particular information unfurled your faith flag and it is wavingly proudly. My suggestion is for you to go to lunch and enjoy your friend. Listen to her life. Listen to the silences between the words. Look for her story in her eyes. Reconnect those 15-year-old hearts that spent so much time together in deep discussion, playing with her poodle and tanning by the pool. Just because life appears easy doesn't mean a thing. Not. One. Thing.

ME: Well said Tim. I couldn't have said it better myself.