Sunday, March 18, 2007

A Little Less??? Conversation

So tonight I went out for our weekly standing dinner-and-SnB-night with my old friend B. Dinner was fine, nothing fancy, just a locally-owned eclectic sandwich shop followed by hot chocolate and a slice of mocha cake (for me) and coffee (for her) at our local java hole (complete with knitting for me and cross-stitch for her).

We've known each other for almost 30 years. It boggles my mind. Since I was 13 (and she was 15), we've been good friends. Our mothers were good friends. Our dads taught in the same department. She knew me when I was an awkward barely-teenager with all my quirks and growing pains; she's watched me grow into what I hope is a decent adult. No matter what crazy stunts I've gotten up to, trouble I've gotten into, or huge mistakes I've made, she's supported me staunchly and always taken my side. She has a big heart and thinks of me as the sister she never had.

You can't ask for more than that, really.

Maybe it was the headache I've been having off and on all day, or the increasingly insistent drastically spastic gastric disaster that appears to accompany whatever this is, but tonight I found myself feeling quite agitated. I noticed little things that irritate me that I've never consciously noticed before.

When I've just cast on for a sock and am obviously having a moment of "duh, how do I join in the round?", I'd appreciate it if my train of thought stays on the rails rather than being interrupted by some inane pop culture factoid. When I'm counting stitches out loud for the second time because the first time my train of thought was derailed (by something trivial), it's irritating to have it derailed again by something that could have waited five stitches. It's almost as if she needs to be the constant target of my focus because when she has my full attention is when she tends not to talk. She only talks when I'm absorbed in something. It's like she waits until she knows I'm absorbed, just to interrupt me. (Kind of like a cat.)

She's probably always been like this, but tonight it was jumping out at me. It disturbs me that it irritated me so much. I mean, I love her like a sister, so I feel bad for feeling irritated.

Then I started noticing that all we ever talk about lately—or rather, since she tends to dominate conversations with me doing a lot of uh-huh-ing, what she talks about—is pop culture. It's superficial. Personal topics are barely touched on—she asked me what I did today, for example. I started to tell her, and she interrupted me and went off on a long dissertation about silent film stars (a favorite topic of hers of which I share little to no interest). I tried several times to answer her question but never actually got to. But she will ramble on for a good hour about Buffy plot lines, or gossip about her co-workers (none of whom I've ever met), or complain about her ex-hubby or my ex-bf—without pausing to take a breath. (It is also impossible to get off the phone with her; I could say "uh, gotta go, the house is on fire" and she'll say "oh, ok... hey, didja know that..." and keep going.)

I'm ashamed to admit I've gotten into the habit of listening halfway, making the appropriate noises at the appropriate spots and trying to knit my way through it.

Tonight, on my way home, this thought occurred to me: If this were my last night on Earth, is this how I'd want to spend it? Is this the person I'd want to spend it with? Is this the type of conversation I'd want to be having?

Actually, no. I'd want to be having real conversations about real people. About important topics. Philosophy. Spirituality (not just Christian but all of it). Why are we here. The nature of the Universe. Deep, important things. I'd want to really connect deep down on a profound level with other like-minded humans, not snark about Britney Spears' latest hijinx or who the real father of Anna Nicole's baby is.

This began as a knitting blog. I really thought I wanted to talk about and show off my yarnifications and read about those of others. I do, but... it turns out, what I really want is that connection. I find myself skimming FO posts but stopping to read and comment on the more personal postings, like Crazy Aunt Purl's, or the Yarn Harlot's. I enjoy seeing what others are doing and can appreciate tales of knitting mishaps from which to learn, but I find myself drawn to personal expoundings. There is so much wisdom to be garnered from the observations and experiences of others. Read Tales from the Den of Chaos or Sheepish Annie, for example. Sure, there is knitting content, but there are daily personal observations about this journey called life that really hit home.

Turns out, I'm all about the feelings.

I wanna dig into people's heads and let them see into my own. With occasional knitting mentions, of course.

So, what does that say about my friendship with B? After 30 years, this is what it has come to? Pop culture, gossip and superficiality? You'd think after all this time, we'd have more to talk about than that. I think we used to. I try, I really do. I wonder what happened?

Is it possible that... we've outgrown each other, but because of our history, we just keep on keepin' on in spite of it? Or is this just a weird phase friends go through? I can't imagine that I've never noticed this before.

It also makes me really miss my Mom, because sure, we had our inane conversations, but most of the time, we really talked. I could talk to her about anything. Now that she's gone, I feel like I'm overflowing with stuff that I need to discuss, but there's nowhere to put it because I'm not sure who's really that interested in listening to my own ramblings. I'd hate to scare anyone away, bore them, or freak them out.

I'd put it into a journal and just keep it to myself, except that I really need to know it goes into an ear. I don't know why, but I do. There is no willing ear for all that I contain inside. People will listen to someone ramble for just so long before they scream ENOUGH and move on. I hate rejection.

Maybe that's why I blog. I feel like it goes into an ear, and I get comments that says some of it does, but if someone stops reading by the third paragraph, sighs in disgust, rolls their eyes and moves on, I'll never know.

Anyway... I hope my attitude toward my friend improves. She is one of the few who truly "gets" me and I need people like that around me. Everyone does. I guess I'm just not sure if I still "get" her anymore.

Well, it's time to feed the furry bewhiskered denizens of this household, and I've talked your ear off, so until next time... stay safe, stay happy, and try to stay sane. Thanks for listening.

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3 Comments:

At 10:26 AM, March 18, 2007, Blogger Sheepish Annie said...

Friendships, sort of like blogs, evolve with time. I know that when I started blogging I thought it would be All Knit All The Time. I learned quickly that: a.) I'm not a good enough knitter to really speak on the subject with any authority other than my love for the craft and b.) the blogs I read are more about the person doing the knitting than the technical stuff.

From reading your blog, it sounds like you are at a fairly big crossroads in your life and have made a number of changes to make it what you want it to be. Not all of those changes were by choice, but you are working with them. Your friend is probably pretty comfortable where she is in life and hasn't made the shifts with you. That can certainly lead to some changes in the relationship! I suspect you'll find your new balance in the friendship, though. I'm not getting the feeling that you're ready to give up on it.

I hope it all works out for you and that you and your friend find the new balance. You've got something there if it has lasted for thirty years... You've done a remarkable job keying in to the issues that are bothering you.

 
At 8:30 PM, March 18, 2007, Anonymous tiennie said...

Maybe it's just a phase. It would be hard to lose a friendship that's been around that long. I agree with sheepish annie's comments.

About knit blogs - it's hard for me to post personal stuff and have it be left out there in the blogosphere but I don't mind sharing by e-mail. Strange, huh?

 
At 3:41 AM, March 19, 2007, Blogger Jeanne said...

Very strange. But normal, I think.

Yeah, it's been a tough year. Everything has changed. Annie, you've made some strong points. I'm not giving up yet.

 

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