Saturday, February 09, 2008

"When other friendships are up the crick*

Annoucement: Josh Noyes, the son of our friends Nick and Emily, is a film editor in L.A., and his movie, "The Wackness," just won the Audience Award at Sundance! How cool is that. Josh got some good reviews, too.

We were in Brooklyn and Long Island last weekend, trying to figure out how to do this thing called "visiting." How do you visit a place you had lived in for 18-14-8 years and moved from just over a year ago? When we went after Thanksgiving I hadn't been back since March, and I wanted to see everyone and do everything. It was one of those times where everyone was mostly available, too! So we crammed everything into just a couple of days.

This visit wasn't so long past the last one and I felt it wasn't such a novelty; also there was lots going on for everyone. We all have such busy lives! We saw lots of folks, but some had to cancel at the last minute, for very legit reasons, of course (hope the baby got over his 102.8, Helene!). Dave was smart and went to the theater with David -- they saw August: Osage County, which my friend Henry was the assistant director on (go Henry!). Am I jealous? Just a tad. I haven't seen any theater (except the Katharsis production of The Polish Play that Henry directed) since we moved and I miss it.

To facilitate their sitting in darkness for three hours I volunteered to get Lily to various playdates and then go see my friends. Some friends fell through, as I say, and at times I was left with an empty feeling, a feeling of being free and easy in Brooklyn with no homebase (we were staying on Long Island). What I realized, Sunday morning, was that I was missing family time over the weekend and that Lily and I should just grabbed an hour and had our nails done on 5th Avenue (about half the price of the pedi's and mani's around here) and maybe had a cuppa at the Tea Lounge. I came home a bit anxious and family-needy; I had a strong sense of just wanting to spend time with Dave and Lily. Not to mention exhausted. Being away from home is tiring.

Staying on Long Island was mixed. Great to be with Judy, of course, and go to her local pool. Dave and Lily had some good time with her on Friday afternoon, too, I heard, while I took the train into the city to see some friends. (Love that Korean barbeque!). Hard to drive into the city in the morning and drive home at night, however, and in fact we didn't go back in on Sunday morning (sorry, Margaret!), we just went home from Plainview.

My bigger question is, how much does geographic proximity play into a friendship? I think each friend is different. It's funny, I'm finding that if I make a point of seeing my closest Brooklyn friends on most visits, I'll see them more frequently than when I actually lived there. And I find that now that we live here my local friendships have evolved, too. I don't actually see those folks as much as I might have fantasized about when we thought about moving to their 'hood. As a recently relocated family we have more time, simply by virtue of the fact that we don't know as many people and we don't have many established routines yet, although both of those things are changing, of course. (It's been nearly 15 months since we moved! Thanksgiving weekend, 2006.)

Another thing I wonder is, who do you stay in touch with after you leave a place? Who are deep, true friends, and who were mostly acquaintances, people I saw out of convenience or circumstance? Today out of the hundreds I knew in New York (I can attest to that "hundreds" figure, I used to give them all toffee), I am only in regular touch with maybe four or five, although to be fair I can see that that is evolving; just because someone isn't in touch regularly doesn't mean we aren't still friends, and some folks I thought probably were gone are drifting back in.

It's all a process and I trust that even though I only talk to someone every six months--someone I used to talk to, say, weekly--there is still a basis of friendship there, if both of us are willing. The door is always open, at least on this end. Do they expect me to stay in touch? I don't know. I always like it whenever someone makes the effort to stay in touch with me, it's not all coming from me.

As for visiting, is that the true sign of a friend? Naw, for either of us, although it certainly deepens a relationship. Some of my friends have always known this, and gone out of their way to see me, like Margaret, who visited me several times in Cambridge a million years ago. (Did I ever actually live in Cambridge?) I am always a bit surprised when people make the trek here, surprised and thrilled; I have no (maybe I should say "few") expectations (but I'll 'fess up to lots of hopes) and I love love love it when they do. Plus, some people I was pretty sure I'd never see again have been here. That's way cool, too. Makes me really appreciate how important it is to visit my friends who continue to live outside of New York, although we are quite cash-poor so that can't happen too much right now.

*Ours will still be slick! Lahdle-ahdle-ahdle-quack-quack-quack"


  1. Sasha, everyday or once every 10 years, you will always be my friend.


  2. Michael, you are a sweetheart. Me too.


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