Louise seeks Thelma

Once upon a time in a life that seems light years away, I had the best best friend in the world. We met in school somewhere around the 4th or 5th grade and for many years we were each others anchors. We dropped out of high school together; we had our first babies within 2 months of each other and navigated early adulthood together in all its messy glory. Life intervened for a while and we lost contact with each other, but like the bad penny we always turned up when the other one was in need. For me that was the months preceding my mom’s death and the month’s immediately afterwards, when my childhood best friend kept me stable in a way no one else could. Eventually though we grew apart and despite everything simply could no longer be a part of each others lives. Breaking up is always so hard to do.

For the past several years I have bounced around, flying solo without a best friend other than the marital unit and frankly it sucks! I miss having a best girlfriend or better yet a crew of best girlfriends. In movies and TV shows like Sex and the City and Waiting to Exhale, women always have a plethora of girlfriends hat to laugh and cry with and even feud with, but lately I am realizing very few of us have those connections in real life.

Oh, I know lots of people. I do a have best male friend but as much as I love him, there are limits to what we can discuss. I have a few other people that are close to me, who I adore but can I confess that I really miss pals that you can just call and who will always be there for you and vice versa.

I was talking about this a few week ago, with a girlfriend who was over for dinner one night as she too lamented the loss of those deeper connections and she chalked it up to the fact we are all actively raising kids. I don’t know…earlier generations like my Mom somehow managed to raise kids yet have that active community of support and friendships. Once a year my mom and her girls would go on a weekend getaway sans the menfolk and kids, yet I don’t know anyone in my generation who does that. What happened? Why are we not connecting on that deeper level? Sure, we are raising kids and deeply and passionately involved in our work and partners but as I have seen firsthand, kids grow up and partners die or we kick em to the curb. If that happens who do we have then?

Until recently I thought maybe I was the maladjusted loser who just couldn’t connect on a deeper level, until I read this book. Rachel Bertsche does a fabulous job of chronicling her search for that great gal pal, going so far as to even sign up for friend finder service. It’s a cute book but one that really hit home especially after I saw a tweet from one of my tweeps who mentioned she was seriously thinking of signing up for a friend finder service.

The reality is past a certain age it gets harder to make deeper connections, I mean sure when you have kids you can make mommy pals thanks to your kids. But can we be honest? Half the time the moms you meet via the mommy and kiddo groups are not really folks you would know if it weren’t for your kid which means by the time your kid heads to school and stops needing you to find them play dates, you are still sitting there pal-less in many cases. Never mind the fact that if you are living far away from where you grew up it’s harder to penetrate the circle of friends that exist, especially in smaller cities and towns. Hell, I have been taking yoga classes for 3 years and there still isn’t a single person I could call up and say hey, let’s grab a tea before class. The only people I talk to in my classes regularly are my instructor/studio owner and another instructor who was our realtor some years ago.

Anyway words and intentions are powerful, so I am putting it out that Louise is looking for her Thelma. Better yet Louise needs a crew of merry troublemakers for the good and bad times.

 

 

No Time

I was going to weigh in on the NY Post and that foul ass comic they ran in their paper but truthfully there are bloggers who are far more articulate than me who are already on the case. I will just say though that for all those who felt we are living in post-racial America….um, no we are not. In fact we are a long way from being post racial in any meaningful way and I suspect we will see more rank ass shit like this in the coming days.

Anyway on to the rant of the day. Today on Facebook a few folks posted a link to a column that I guess ran recently in a paper, it was a question and answer type deal. The question being asked was how come so many mothers of kids claim to never have time to stay in touch, instead saying their kids keep them too busy to stay connected to friends. As you can imagine quite a few folks got upset after all it seemed as if perhaps stay at home mothers were being judged.

Now I don’t care to fixate on the particulars of that column, but I will say that in recent years as technology has evolved I have noticed the growing tendency for folks to be too busy to call or return a friend’s call. I will admit in the first year of my daughter’s birth, I was tired quite a bit and therefore selective about who I gave my time to. However I made time for folks who matter to me. Let me repeat that, I made time for folks who matter.

My father who is 1100 miles away from and I have a standing time on the weekends that we call one another, some weekends we don’t talk but for the most part we always touch base even if its simply to leave a message. Now I must admit I try to connect with my brother on the regular but that cat stays busy, thankfully we do seem to stay in touch via Facebook.

I found myself thinking how sad it is that so many of us have cell phones, smartphones, internet, etc yet we are so busy that we have to struggle to make time to talk to a friend. Back in the early 1990′s when I was a single working Mama, I always had time to at least say hello and stay connected and this was before the day of 24/7 communications.

No, I think our lack of ability or desire to stay connected to folks we supposedly care about on some level speaks volumes about where we have been this past decade…stuck on a treadmill striving for more and better, yet never reaching the promised land. Instead we amass our items but have little connection to those around us. Several pieces have been written in recent years about how Americans by and large have become a lonely bunch, we no longer participate in community in any meaningful way.

I suppose the life path we have chosen in the last decade is starting to catch up with many of us as we face the new reality of a scaled down life…a life that will no longer involve work and perhaps worshipping at the altar of consumerism yet for many of us we will be at a loss of how to connect with others in a meaningful way.

Yes, we have the internet and we even have sites like Facebook but truthfully I will take getting together with a flash and blood friend any day over virtual connections. Don’t get me wrong, I think the internet can be a wonderful place to make connections. I have several friends I met years ago through the internet but at a certain point there is the need to connect face to face or even by phone and that is a place I think many of us are failing.

Look, we are all busy but there should always be a time for the people we care about in our lives.

Too much connection..do I even know you?

While there are many who remind me that I am still a fairly young woman, lately I have been pondering all the technological advancements that remind me that I was born in a time vastly different that what today’s young folks are growing up in.

See, back when I was 16 which is the same age that my son is now, we didn’t have  cellphones, only a select few had beepers generally professionals and drug dealers. Back then calling long distance was a big deal and for the most part a long talk on the phone was met with a “get off the phone by your parents, you are tying up the line”. Pretty much we did not stay connected to each other like the kids do today.

Nowadays judging from my son and others I observe, talking on the phone is passe, instead folks text each other. Now I know this is not just for the young since I have a few friends my age that if they lost their Crackberry, they would be lost. I suspect I am a relic since I still have a book that I write my numbers into complete with addresses so even though I do have some numbers programmed onto my cell, my life is not stored there.

However that is not quite what’s been bugging me, no its the advent of social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace. I joined Myspace a couple years ago when my son got on, not because I wanted to spy on him, but I just wanted to check it out. Truthfully, I have never really got into MySpace, but that was before I got hipped to Facebook.

On a practical level, Facebook just feels more appealing to me, its a tad less cheesy than MySpace and doesn’t make my computer start acting wonky. Initially I was into it until it dawned on me that while we can update our status and share all of ourselves via sites like Facebook, why the hell does it feel like we are less connected? Then it hit me, we are less connected. With the exception of maybe 2-3 friends in my life, most folks I know seem to enjoy connecting via these types of sites. I have watched my friend’s friends list grow to hundreds of folks and I ask myself, do you even know these people?

See, I am old school, in order to be my friend, I have to know you. The reality is at this stage in my life aside from family, there are only 2-3 folks I consider friends. All the other folks are associates, don’t get me wrong I have some cool associates but see an associate is not a person you call when your Mama is dying. No that’s a friend. Today I was reflecting back on when my Mom was diagnosed with cancer how I reconnected with my childhood best friend and let me tell you she supported a sista through one of the darkest times in my life. In fact when I called to tell her my Mom passed, she made a 6 hour drive with her newborn baby, that’s friendship. D held me up, in that way only friends can; same for my other best friend B, the night I got the news that it looked terminal on Christmas Day no less, B stayed on the phone long distance with a sista for about 4 hours while I got my bearings. This is friendship.

Yet I am struck that today as we connect more and now the latest way of staying in touch seems to be Twitter, it seems that all this connection makes up less connected. Don’t get me wrong me a sista is not trying to be a Luddite, I love my computer too much, but when did emails and Facebook updates take the place of just a lovely long phone conversation on a Sunday afternoon while making dinner?

Seems we are all connected but do we even know each other? Like my best friend B recently said and this is a man who works in the media. He choose to have no Facebook or MySpace because he likes connecting the old fashioned way face to face or by phone. I will add that Facebook is nice but sometimes so is a call. After all if you have 600 “friends” on a social networking site, how many can you really call on in a jam?