We all have that one friend. The problem with this week's topic is which
one friend do we need to discuss. There's the one who only talks about what she's interested in, no matter what the prior topic had been or the one who only ever gossips.
In my life there's Elle, who, to use a cliche, will be late to her own funeral. The only time I ever got furious with her was when, for once in her life, she was on time, and left before I arrived, ten minutes late. The next time I saw her I reminded her of 2 hour waits in the rain or cold on my part, just knowing that she was on her way, but, once again, late. (The one real advantage I can see to cell phones is that Elle can now let me know, often before I've left the house, how late she foresees being. She's usually at least 15 minutes later than that, but at least I know I can leave later or bring a longer book to read while waiting.) Elle is also unique among my friends in that I have never, not even when sharing a hotel room with her, seen her with her make-up off.
But what of me? How many times have I been that one friend who wails my lamentations in someone's ear before asking how s/he's doing or what's happening in their lives? How many moments of selfishness have I had within friendship without even realizing that I had something for which to apologize?
That then led me to that one friend in a positive way. That one friend who said I could stay with her for a couple of weeks and let me stay for a couple of years. Or Elle, again, who volunteered to look after me after foot surgery before I could even ask. The friend who made certain I was all right after my concussion and went with me to urgent care was another "that one friend." All the friends in many cities, who have helped me clean when my depression has decompensated my apartment into a mess that needs a shovel to get from the door to the bedroom, are "one friends" and godsends.
And in that aspect, what can I take pride in as a friend? In high school, I saw the movie Auntie Mame
with my best friend at the time. After it was over, she turned to me and said, "You're my Auntie Mame
." Five years ago, at a high school reunion (different high school), someone came up to me and said, "I should have appreciated you more. You were the only one of us out having adventures." He then thanked me for introducing him to the operettas of Gilbert and Sullivan, a lifelong love that he was looking forward to sharing with his son.
I don't know that there's much I do right in this world. I try, but as Hamlet says, "I could accuse me of such things that it were better my mother had not borne me." I think I'm sometimes -- I hope not often -- a terrible friend. But I have adventures and I do my best to share them and share my love for testing limits.
Maybe I'm not the best person in the world, but at least I've been someone's Auntie Mame
eta: a missing comma and a missing word
eta2 (12/8/2016 3:00 EST): I just got off the phone with the friend I'm calling Elle. Her husband went in for routine surgery yesterday and, in her words, "I'm probably going to walk out of this hospital a widow." Please keep her in your thoughts and prayers.