Saturday, February 24, 2007

"Maybe if I wasn't so busy all the time, everyone in the world would be a friend of mine..."

My cousin knows how to butter me up by seeking my Literary Opinions -- most recently she asked me for a friendship-themed poem appropriate for inscribing on a farewell card for a dear departing roommate. I racked my brain and found that nearly all my memorized poems were about 1) unrequited love, 2) regret, 3) death. No good. My internet research on happy friendship poems turned up a heap of trite crap as well as a delightful piece about a friendly catfish, but realizing that catfish sentiments probably weren't what she had in mind, I decided to consult the index of my Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson. Now, Emily D. was obsessed with death, as you may know -- over and over you think you're reading a love poem, but nearly always it turns out she's actually dating the Grim Reaper in disguise. However, I managed to dig up a few beauties about friendship that appear to be entirely death-free. One of these was almost giddy by Emily standards --->

Meeting by Accident,
We hovered by design --
As often as a Century
An error so divine
Is ratified by Destiny,
But Destiny is old
And economical of Bliss
As Midas is of Gold --

and it reminded me of the topic I've been meaning to blog about since the day Meadowbright, Fairy of the Sun, first flitted into my life. Here's how it happened: while sorting through a pile of junk mail one night, I first beheld her....and laughed out loud. My first thought was, "I have to keep this -- Sharon will DIE." I set her aside on the kitchen counter as a special handpicked treasure for my friend. Later that week, Sharon was at my place and noticed little Meadowbright gazing up at her. "Oh my word!" exclaims Sharon. "I saved that for you, too -- I knew it would make you laugh!" Cue the strings -- we have a bosom buddy moment! Some days I wonder sadly if my friends are only my friends by virtue of our proximity, or matching marital status, or other merely circumstantial factors, and then a little sprite called Destiny blesses us with Magic and everything gets all sparkly.

Another friend recently despaired of ever convincing her fiancé to sit through our beloved Anne of Green Gables miniseries because he just couldn't buy into Anne's whole "kindred spirit" schtick. Now, I have my reservations about this concept as it's often applied to romantic relationships -- as much as I'd like to believe that there is a single pre-selected One out there, perfectly and solely suited for me, it doesn't ring true. However, I do believe that there are people you're more akin to -- people you somehow know effortlessly.

This same friend, for example: I'd observed her throughout high school as we were in most of the same classes. She was smart, friendly, and unpretentious and I often flattered myself that if we just had occasion to interact, we would hit it off. But she was on a higher social plane, so I opted to play the coward and leave the matter to fate. Fate dragged his feet, but finally presented us with neighboring front-row seats in European History. Before you know it, we're blowing off studying (gasp!) for a stack of old movies -- two brainiac chicks gone wild. We knew each other just over a year before she shipped off to Boston for college, but it was a friendship that's stuck in spite of diverging paths. Yaknowwhati'msayin'?

The spookiest bosom buddy story I've saved for last. My final year of college I moved into a new place and had an unpleasant run-in with one of my new roommates. She had staked out the house months before and had her eye on my side of the room; however, I moved in first, and in an uncharacteristically stubborn display, refused to let her have the spot she had so desired. We eventually reached a point of chatty civility, but it was tinged with a lingering mistrust. When I realized how much we had in common I regretted my decision to stay put, but the fact remained that I was sleeping in her bed and had no intention of moving. Grrr! Then one day I was going through my files and came across an old letter to the editor that I'd cut out of the university newspaper a couple years before. I NEVER bother to cut things out of the newspaper, let alone actually file them away for future reference, but this letter was so deliciously funny that I had preserved it in my "Nifty Random Stuff" file. I took it out to have another chuckle, and whose name is printed at the top, but my bed-coveting roommate's. I run downstairs to inform her that, unbeknownst to me, I'm her biggest fan. She freaks out because she'd forgotten to save a copy of the letter when it ran in the paper, and here I had a copy all along. Instant friends. Post-college roomies for three years. Like an old married couple.

I could go on and on. Heck -- one friend even mailed me a bag of fairy dust when I was going through a rough time -- doesn't get much more magical than that. Are these meetings coincidence, or Meant To Be? Are they decreed from on high, or created by us? Hard to say for sure, but as Ms. Dickinson points out, they're pretty rare, and even if they start out as accidents they can end up Destiny. A couple weeks ago when a new friend was moving away to an exotic land she said that if she'd stuck around we would have been good friends. Who can say? It's such a mysterious mix of fate and circumstance. Perhaps with just a pinch of that pixie dust, a few happy thoughts (and two easy payments of $19.99), you, too, can have your very own Diana Barry kindred spirit buddy. Could be around the next corner, or in tomorrow's mail.


Admin said...
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natalie said...

I want a Diana Berry moment. You know sometimes I look at how our friendship was formed and think 'what a small miracle' I mean come on, we were the only two girls and instant roomies became instant friends.

I'm glad your around though, I appreciate every bit of sound advice you give me and how you 'attempt' to keep me sane.

ETA okay for some reason I was logged in as admin- hope it changed

Marie said...

To be frank, I was intimidated by the thought of rooming with you -- I could tell you were one of those "doers" who's always going a million miles an hour and making me feel guilty about my leisurely pace. But opposites attract sometimes I guess -- it was such a fun trip, and it would have been so much less fun if I hadn't loved my roommate!

Love the webpage, too. Any writers out there looking for an online writing community, check out Nat's cool new webpage at