Sunday, May 27, 2012

Sunday Stealing

Sunday Stealing: The Imaginary Meme, Part Two

21. Have you felt that life is like being on a roller coaster? Yes. But no more than anyone else's.

22. Favorite year so far? When I was 35, it was a very good year. (I feel like I'm channeling Sinatra.)

23. Do you consider yourself religious? Yes. I believe in God and He guides me.

24. How do you dress to impress? No. I dress to fit in, not stand out.

25. Have you ever been to Connecticut? No. But it seems like a perfectly lovely place. I recently entered a pair of sweepstakes to win dinner with the President and either Sarah Jessica Parker or Bill Clinton, both in New York. My best friend teased me that I did it more for the free trip to NYC than to support Barack Obama, and there may be something to that. I find that, next to Chicago, I feel most comfortable in the east/mid-Atlantic states than I do on the west coast.

26. Do you eat sushi? Only to be polite.

27. Would you smoke pot providing there was no risk or driving involved? No. I have never smoked anything and don't intend to now. I prefer to get high in ways that don't leave my hair and clothes smelling bad.

28. What do you think of Idol Winner Phillip Phillips?? He seems very original. I didn't watch closely this season, but Jessica Sanchez seemed very much in the Jordin Sparks mode, so I thought she'd win. But Phillips doesn't remind me of anyone else. I'm impressed that America chose him. (Since we're talking Idol: is it me or has Ryan Seacrest's hair gotten taller and weirder in front? When I saw him in profile during the last performance show, I thought he looked like a cartoon character.)

29. Do you believe that animals have souls? Yes.

30. Who did you last talk to? Share, if you dare. Kathy. (See below.)

31. What is one thing that always annoys you? My hair and clothes smelling like cigarettes or pot.

32. Do you believe in a higher being? Didn't I answer this in #23?

33. Have you ever fallen in love with a neighbor? At the beginning of the first grade school year, in between my fleeting crush on "Little Joe" Cartwright (aka Michael Landon) and falling hard for Beatle Paul, I was swept away by our neighbors' adult son. He moved in with his parents for a few glorious weeks before his wedding to some teased-hair wench named Sandy. He was very glamorous, with his shiny black hair and short sleeved shirts even in chilly autumn weather, and he led me on by letting me help him wash his car (which was an honor). It was heartbreaking when he actually went through with the wedding, and then he and the wench moved away. Love hurts, people!

34. Any plans for this weekend? I really, really have to figure out if I need any new clothes this summer. I know going through closets isn't exciting, but it needs to be done.

35. Would you like to rule your country, if you could? I already do. Galtopia. It's struggling. I'm not a very attentive despot.

36. Do you like watching films about the nature of animals? No. I don't like the tension. It seem some poor animal is always at risk of being chomped in half by a crocodile.

37. What's the difference between lust and/or lust? I suspect this question lost something in translation. But that's OK. I like lust.

38. Do you have a soul? I answered in #29 that animals have souls. I am a mammal. Ipso facto. (I don't get to use Latin anywhere near often enough in memes!)

39. One best friend or many good friends? Yes. I mean, I have both.

40. Do you believe in spontaneous combustion? Only for drummers.

Well, that's done

I did something Saturday morning I didn't really want to do: I had breakfast with Kathy.

I don't forgive this old friend for what she did to me in February. Nor for all the other things she has done to me over 30 years. She has worn me out and left me bone-weary. I work very hard at being a good friend, which makes the way she has treated me hurt even more. I'm no longer willing to do put up with it.

BUT I'm not angry anymore. I don't want revenge. I don't want to hurt her. I just want all this to end.

So when she started reaching out to me in earnest, I began wrestling with the best way to handle it. First she offered to drive me to the hospital to visit my mom last month. Kathy now lives 30 miles away, so the gesture was a big one for her. But I politely refused because my feelings about my mom's hospitalization were raw and powerful and I just didn't need that "Kathy overlay."

Then she got me the book, The President's Club. Simply because she knew I'd enjoy it.

She was right, I do want to read it. But the book is more than $30. Kathy is, literally, homeless -- she lives with her daughter's family. She works two part-time jobs. She can't afford $30, and driving 60 miles roundtrip when gas is $4/gallon. So I know this meant something to her.

At first, when she asked me if I'd meet her and John at what was once our favorite watering hole, I nixed that. But then, when she started mentioning breakfast, I found it harder and harder to refuse without just coming out and saying, "I don't want anything to do with you."

So today we finally went. She hugged me a lot. Wrote a nice inscription in the book. Was very gracious about the fact that she invited me to Sunday and I accepted for Saturday. Even paid the bill. It felt like a date.

And I felt bad for her because this relationship is so over. But there's nothing to be gained by rebuffing her. By telling her to go fuck herself. She knows what she did was hideous. She already feels bad. Why make her feel worse?

She's 65 years old. She lives with newly-divorced, 40+ daughter and three teenaged grandchildren and there's enough tension and electricity in that household to light Michigan Avenue at night. She has no money for retirement and just refinanced the car that she's going to drive into the ground. She's stuck out in a suburb that's 30 miles away from the people she naturally gravitates to (meaning me and John).

So I let her hug me and pay for my spinach omelet. (I suspected she might try that grabbing the check thing, so I didn't even have juice.) I accepted the book and told her why I was excited to read it. I told her about my cats. I complained about how we're all moving to cubicles at work. It was the kind of conversation you have with a stranger on a plane.

It didn't feel like I was taking advantage of her generosity. It felt like I was being decent.

Now I'd really like this to be over.