Tag Archives: friendship

What is love these days anyways?

Lately I’ve been wondering.
I’m so lucky.I am surrounded by dear friends who I adore and who seem to like me. I don’t think I’ve offended any strangers lately, except for that guy who wanted my parking space. I have children who care about me.

But I lack love, that romantic upsurge of joy and affection we expect when we see our partner. I mean, I have that upsurge when I see my dear friends, when I get a phone call from afar, when my sons fit me into their wild schedules, when I get an email from a far away family member. But I long for romance. And, quite frankly, someone to curl about me at night and be too hot so I have to peel off the blankets but still sleep, touching each other somehow. I miss that. I miss having someone about to sigh at when my computer goes wrangy or I have to run out for milk or have to climb various stepladders. Someone to laugh with at the end of the day, someone to be with me against life’s challenges.

It seems to be out of style. Or maybe I’ve repelled it by turning down opportunities. I am only now beginning to understand the very real damage done to me in my youth that makes me push words away, seek proof, feel doubt, distrust. I’m doing the work to get over that.

Now, though, that I am yearning for romance, it is elusive, hard to find. People want part of a relationship, not all of it. They don’t want to be tied down, have expectations. Fair enough, I feel a bit that way, too. Adapting to change is hard. Especially as you get older. Others have been hurt, too, and have their own walls to pull down. So they dance away.

But I can’t help but think friendship and romance and love all require some sort of commitment. Time, primarily. The people I adore, I do so because they want to hang out. We spend time together. I can call on them if I need to, and vice versa.

Where is that with my romantic interests? Guarded, bounded, suspicious.
It’s too bad, really. A touch is all I need. And some time. And maybe an occasional bunch of flowers or a surprise book in the mail… I don’t need much to fall head over heels. But I need a bit.


The fine art of pissing people off

NTE3XzEzNDg5MjQ2ODMxNA==_o_always-pissing-people-off-archival-footage-of-a-liveleakI’m the first to admit my mouth flaps and says things I perhaps shouldn’t at times. It’s an occupational hazard of being my mother’s daughter – she, a lawyer, moderated what she said, but she had opinions and wasn’t afraid to speak them.

I lack her professional filter. My MS has eaten what little of it was left. So I share inappropriately, say shocking things, reveal too much.

And, on occasion, I get annoyed. I spend such a lot of time NOT getting angry, trying to be sweet, trying to make the world a nicer place in my Pollyanna-ish way, but sometimes even I feel the urge to snap.

Like at the woman I know who tells everyone how they should be grateful for their illness, because she is – without seeing that her life is much much better than some of the folks she is reproving for their ingratitude.
Like at the friend I’ve offered scallops cooked in Pernod, for the love of mike, who can never find time to see me.
Like at the series of twelve traffic lights that block my way between my house and the highway.
Like at people who don’t see injustice or the loss of our freedoms or the increasing stranglehold of our government on the neck of democracy.
Like at poverty and ignorance and hatred and this darn tear on the side of my fingernail that always gets stuck on things.
You know. All that stuff.

So I say something. Even just a little something. I try to make it funny, so it doesn’t feel like I’m really mad, even when I am. but I’m obviously not as,good at that as I should be. And because people, don’t expect it of me, they react as if slapped. Because I am supposed to be nice.

Eventually the spring breezes will blow and I’ll be back to singing through my road rage and laughing at people who treat me dismissively, but tonight I am cross.

You see, a little bit of politeness goes a long way. I try to keep that in mind. I contort myself sometimes trying to avoid hurting people. I try to help, I try to understand, I try to be accepting. I don’t always succeed, but I try.

But then, I get hurt, too.

And apparently it’s not okay for me to react to hurt. I am expected to soldier on, cheerfully, smiling sweetly and saying nothing.

Thank God for my wonderful friends and family who get me, and put up with me, even when I’m grumpy.1348662611790_7587709

Merrily wandering along memory lane

A few weeks ago I received a sinister invitation in my email box from my alma mater.  Apparently in a moment of utter foolishness, I’d volunteered to be the contact person for our next reunion, our 30th. According to the astonishingly youthful alumni advisor, this date is coming up.  I could cheerfully crumble into a pile of aged limestone (I went to Queen’s, dontcha know) at the thought of the 30 years difference from the person I still see in my mind’s eye BEFORE I look in the mirror and the one I see afterwards, but I got to thinking.  About Queen’s.  About my time there. About the people I knew there.

I was a transfer student from University of Washington, and as such got to skip the usual frosh frivolities and enter the much more serious-minded drinking of the transfer student group. I met a clump of people from CEGEPs in Quebec, and made some lifelong friends from there – at least I think I did as some of them stayed around even when sober. I met my first Queen’s boyfriend in that group and we had a perfectly lovely time, even when he tried to hit me in the face with a pie for my birthday (I grew up in Boston, so he went for an appropriate Boston Cream Pie, little realizing it was really a cake.  It bounced off me quite harmlessly, but the thought was there). We dated for almost a year, and then dated again later. Sweet man.

I met my  first roommate that year, too – a stunning blonde who eventually went on to study law.  Not before we had fisticuffs outside the Prince George Hotel, though.  We’d been drinking with some RMC Cadets and she wanted to go home and I had something urgent to attend to before we walked the long way in the cold, if you get my drift, and she refused to wait for me and we actually had a bouncing off the sidewalk fistfight to decide.  It was over shortly because both of us were weaving a teensy bit and kept missing each other. We must’ve looked hilarious. She’s still a fighter, but has taken it into jurisprudence (and the occasional Starbucks).

My nursing classmates – well, they were warm and funny and smart and occasionally odd and I’ve reconnected with a few of them via Facebook and other means. One of them has remained by best kindred spirit friend through all these years. They were always much more organized and motivated than I was, dressed better, came to school prepared. I’m curious about them.  So much has changed in my life since I last saw them – I wonder what’s been happening in theirs?

I remember endless nursing clinicals, the dreaded lab sessions where we had to give bed baths to each other – and one lengthy series of classes where we were supposed to be learning about research but spent it instead on a prof’s study about how long it took oral temperatures to return to normal after a glass of ice water. Totally exciting. Not. I remember our wild anatomy professor who stood on his lab table to illustrate the uterus and fallopian tubes. I remember making my labmate shriek when I pulled the shoulder tendons on a cadaver’s arm we were studying and made the fingers move. Lost a boyfriend over that. He didn’t have the same sense of humour as the first one, who would have probably just turned green and then done a Muppet joke. Wacka wacka wacka.

I remember dances, long days spent in the health library, long nights spent in the pub. I remember drinking awful coffee out of those vending machines that never failed to leave a pile of grounds in every cup. I remember walks by the lake, studying in my apartment, the peaceful sound of snow days in Kingston, the glorious Mays. It was good, even the Kraft Dinner and the month I lived in a basement with nothing but bread and strawberry jam to eat. My roommate and I couldn’t afford the laundromat so we’d hand wash our uniforms and nylons and then run in circles around the apartment to dry them.

I wasn’t a keen student, most of the time.  I wanted to learn what I needed to know, but my curiosity wasn’t piqued by most of my courses. It wasn’t until I got to third year that things began to fall into place and suddenly I was mature enough to understand what a treasure this time really was. When would I again have the luxury of studying only, of stretching my mind while not having anyone depending on me to do anything else but?

Well, for better or worse, the knowledge bug bit me and I’ve been unable to stop learning, taking courses, studying. It’s all been wonderful and I’m even signed up for a course this September again and can’t wait.

But oh how I miss my classmates and the times we shared.  So perhaps organizing this reunion is just the thing. I’m looking forward to wandering down the lane with them. But maybe I’ll skip the Kraft Dinner.