Friday, 22 October 2010

girlfriend gratitude

We live global lifestyles where at any time friends are scattered everywhere, from Cape Town to California, from Bangalore to Brisbane, from HCMC to Hong Kong.

It took a long time to get over the fact that we had grown up, and not everyone wanted to live in South West London when I was still having a good time. But I faced up to it, and next thing you know, it became normal to keep friendships alive via Skype, facebook and email, and the upside is knowing that there are few places in the world where there isn't someone important and worth keeping.

That said, I always feel a bit wary when I tell people I'm coming through town.

My friends are busy.
My friends have their own lives.

I know what it's like when someone says
'I'm landing on Monday morning, at 7am, at the airport across town, and then I need to get nowheresville by 9am, but I'd love to see you, so do you have time for coffee before you have to be at work?'

Or worse:

'I'm landing on Thursday afternoon.
Definitely don't take the afternoon off to come get me, (although that would be fabulous) but I'm arranging drinks at either 6pm (when you're still working) or at 10pm (when you're ready for bed) for everybody I know, most of whom you don't,
but it wouldn't be the same without you, you have to promise you'll be there.
I know it's your busiest time of year at work, and I think you might have class/yoga/therapy that night, or a presentation due in the morning, but its just one night, and I'll choose a bar with over-priced cocktails and it'll be such FUN!'

I'm probably even more self-conscious of being demanding of a friend's time now that I'm in California. At the risk of sounding like I'm hosting my own pity party - for one! - I'm feeling a bit 'Out of sight, out of mind'. Great for a tampax ad, not so cool for real life. It's this bloody time difference. It even makes Skyping difficult, and so we're just down to email. And we all know how many emails you get in an average day. (The answer's 42, according to Google, but my clever, interesting, in-demand friends probably receive more. Currently, travelling and not working, I don't. I get about 12. 10 are newsletters. Pity party AGAIN.)

So when I announced to two friends that I was flying London-Johannesburg-Durban over Christmas time, I was sending out a kind of FYI email, with fingers crossed for some face time, but being totally aware it might not happen:

and when I received my responses:

well, I laughed out loud. And then got a bit teary.
How the hell did I get so lucky and so blessed?


Gillian said...

Those are the emails you need to save in a safe place for when your next pity party is in full swing .... friends like that make all the difference x

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