Kathleen and Mindy -- two women I've known for decades and have shared much with -- are dear to me but currently are not available. Through coincidence,* both of them are dealing with elderly, dying parents. Mindy's mother is in hospice. Kathleen's father had a massive stroke two years ago, one that he won't recover from, and she and her many siblings are working hard to keep him at home with their mother. This means these women simply can't hang out. I understand. Time with a dying parent is precious and they should take it. But it doesn't change the fact that they simply don't have time to enjoy frivolity with me.
So it leaves a void. My oldest friend is in California. Barb's life will necessarily change with her illness, recovery and retirement, and I don't know what that will mean to our relationship. Kathleen and Mindy are spending what free time they have with their ailing parents. I love my gay male friends a great deal, but sometimes I want to just hang out with the girls. So who will I meet for lunch and laughs now?
So I'm auditioning galpals. While not perfect, two candidates show promise. Yesterday I had lunch with Nancy. I worked with her more than a decade ago and recalled her then as being kind of a sad sack. I'm happy to report that her demeanor was the result of a bad marriage. She's shed that husband, remarried, and is a new woman. In addition to her work continuing work in advertising, she is embarking on a second career in physical therapy for seniors. She currently teaches a couple classes a week at a local hospital! She got into this because of her father, who is dealing with a slow decline from Parkinson's. I love how she's followed her passion into a new career. She's also very smart about stuff I'm not smart about. For example, she gave me a lot of advice about our condo board and whether the elevator renovation is sensible or dubious.
But she's not funny. There's not a lot of joy in talking to Nancy. I don't think I laughed aloud once during our lunch. I said, "I know! Right?" quite often, but I missed laughing.
Then there's Joanna from my movie group. She loves old movies and Hollywood glamour like I do -- she told me she often streams TCM on her iPad as she dozes off to sleep. She was very happy to see me at last week's Meet Up, greeting me with a big "Hey, You!" and a hug, and I was touched that she missed me at the last several monthly screenings. She actually looks forward to my insights when we discuss the movies! For one so intimidatingly chic and elegant, Joanna is comfortingly ditzy about men and money. We've made plans to just spend a Sunday afternoon together later this month. I'm looking forward to it.
But I suspect Joanna may be leaving Chicago to return to New Orleans. I notice in conversation she refers to both cities as "home." Do I want to depend on someone and then have them move?
Oh well. Whatever happens, it's great fun to widen the net and broaden my horizons and welcome new people into my inner circle.
*Or maybe it's predictable as we age.