The sometimes bff

As a girl, I’ve heard and given the following advice many times:  if a boyfriend gets too comfortable  with you, you should remind them that nothing is permanent and your life does not revolve around them.  So why don’t we hold regular friendships to this standard as well?

I met my best friend, E, at the beginning of sixth grade.  We were fast friends and, since we lived just down the street from each other, were often together.  Her mother was our girl scout leader and came to refer to me as her “second daughter.”  True, E is often naive and a bit out there, but it makes things interesting.  When we went off to different colleges, I knew we’d stay close.  In the beginning we talked about 3 or 4 times a week.  Two years later, we still talk at least once a week.  In the beginning we called each other equally.  Now, it’s usually me who has to make those calls.

E is very sociable, so it was no surprise when she made many new, close friends at her school, but what was a surpise is how I was pushed to the background by them.  She still called me her best friend, still told me things she never told her college friends, but I began to feel like I was just there for her to rant at.  The first Christmas we were physically together again, things seemed to go back to normal.  We hung out, went on our usual walks, and gossipped.  I noticed she had a necklace on that said ‘sister.’  It was in the shape of half a heart.  I asked her about it and she said that the other half was with her suite-mate.  She told me “Yeah, H is like my sister.”  So I said, “like us, right?” figuring that after being close with each other for over 6 years, we could qualify as that.  Her response:  “Not really.  I mean….we’re just best friends.  It’s awesome, but not the same.”  Ouch.  A girl she had known for a semester held a closer relationship title than I did.

After that, I stopped calling her for a while, to see if she would notice.  She kind of did, and called me once every couple weeks.  Things went back to normal, and then she got a bf, which gave us a lot more to talk about.  Or…maybe it only seemed like we talked about more because we talked fewer times, so more info had to go into each conversation.  While she was in this relationship with a guy who she didn’t really like, she rarely called me, and every time I called her she was either with her bf, just had been with her bf, or was going to meet her bf.  But when things went sour, guess who was suddenly important again?

Whenever we’re home together, we’re almost inseparable, and she’s the one doing most of the planning and calling me her bff.  But when we’re apart, it’s almost as though she has an “out of sight, out of mind” mentality.  If she had to choose between talking to me and going to find one of her school friends, I don’t think she’d choose me unless she wanted to rant.  And now she has a new bf who is also of higher importance than I am.  Example: E is leaving to study abroad in France tomorrow.  I’ll see her at Christmas, but we won’t be able to talk over the phone before then.  So, I figured we’d talk a couple times this week to make up for it.  I didn’t call her over the weekend because I knew she’d gone to visit her school friends and bf before she left.  I waited until the night she got back (it’s only a two hour drive) and called her.  We talked for maybe 5 minutes before she said that she “was tired and wanted to make sure she got to Skype with Zach (her bf) tonight.”  She had just seen Zach a few hours before and had spent the past four days hanging out with him, yet Skyping with him was more important than talking to me.  She said she’d make sure to call me before she left, but she’s leaving tomorrow, it’s night, and she hasn’t called.  As much as I want to talk to her before she leaves, if she won’t make the effort, she’s not worth it.

We used to be inseparable, but she’s far from my closest friend now.  It’s sad how a little indifference and small, yet hurtful, actions can add up over time and erode away a friendship.  Maybe after we graduate and I move back home we can be closer again, but I know it’ll never be the same.

Laughter really is the best medicine :D

Work today started off normally, but quickly became not-so-great.  A girl who was in charge of prepping a large number of cases for a hearing in two days decided not to show up, leaving myself, Chin, and AC scrambling to get everything together.  I had already been ticked the day before because I had to pick up someone else’s slack and do about a dozen comps (which take time and actual thought) for a hearing I didn’t have anything to do with, so having to do someone else’s job two days in a row really pissed me off.

 

So I went through the first portion of the day in a fairly bad mood.  I was doing someone else’s work, and everytime I started to get in a groove, someone had to come print petitions from my computer or use my scanner, since it’s the closest one in the office.  Normally these are just slight, unavoidable inconveniences, but today I was getting really fucking annoyed.  But then my boss, true to his personality, did something completely crazy.  He decided that we were going to sue someone, but since we’d never get the money from them, we’d have to get tenant names so we could send the NYS Marshall to collect straight from the tenants.  But we had to get these names without revealing who we were.  So he had G go online and look up names and phone numbers, then had Chin call and try to sneakily confirm the addresses.  Here’s what happened:

 

Chin: Hi, is this Mr.________? I’m calling from the City and I need to mail you…something, so I just needed to confirm your address.
Stranger: What department are you from? What are you mailing?
Chin: The…housing department…..I don’t really know what it is. Just a solicitation I think.
Stranger: So let me get this straight. You’re from the City, you don’t know what you’re mailing, and you want me to give you my address?
Chin: ….Yes.
Stranger: Well, the name and address you have haven’t been valid for 25 years.
Chin: Well…you know….we’re the City, our records aren’t always up to date….
Stranger: Sorry, but I don’t really feel comfortable giving my address.
Chin: Okay….I have to go….bye.

 

After she hung up, we all burst out laughing for a good 5 minutes, all previous anger and annoyance forgotten.  It was one of those epic conversations that will forever be joked about at LJB.  Afterwards, the boss decided to send me and Chin to the LES to get the names from the door buzzer thing.  It was a great way to end the day 🙂

What’s in a name?

 

Random fact about me:  My name is Amber.  Another random fact about me:  For 7 years, that was not the name I chose to go by.

Amber was a fairly common name where I grew up; I had at least two to three other Ambers in all of my elementary school classes.  I got fed up with the constant confusion and decided in fifth grade that no teacher or peer would call me Amber again.  I was now Lizzy–a nickname derived from my middle name.  It took old friends and teachers a little getting used to (even I needed time to get used to it), but by sixth grade, that’s how people knew me.  My family still called me Amber–after all, they chose my name and happened to like it–and when I started working at 16 I reverted to my given name, but outside of those two places, Amber didn’t exist.

It wasn’t until senior year of high school that I decided I would drop the nickname when I entered college.  I was growing up, it was time to be professional.  Not to mention that the numerous Ambers who had plagued me in my early school days had all but disappeared.  Lizzy or Amber, I would be the only one in my classes with that name.

I’m not sure why, but I was thinking about my former name on the way home from work today.  I think it was because some of my friends/acquaintances from highschool had been messaging me to catch up before the new semester, and they all called me Lizzy.  One of my best friends still calls me that.  I respond to it instinctively, but if I think about it, it’s not me.  Three years ago I would have introduced myself as Lizzy.  Now the thought of it just seems wrong.

I’m sure this is making no sense to anyone else, because it barely makes sense to me.  Lizzy and Amber are the same, and yet they are different.  Lizzy is who I was when I was a child–growing up from a prepubescant girl to a high school graduate.  Amber is who Lizzy was when she was working or helping the family, and now she’s the full-time college student with the nearly full-time office job who lives in NYC–1100 miles away from her family.  I suppose everyone has a moment of change where they stop defining themself as a child or teenager and start defining themselves as an adult.  And I suppose my moment was the moment I changed my name back to what I was born with.

Waiting for the fallout

You know what I hate?  When you know something bad is going to happen, but all you can do is wait.  My friend E is leaving in a week to study in France for the academic year.  So far she seems calm and excited but here’s the thing: she’s never really been away from home before.  She went on a 2 week trip to Europe a couple years ago and goes to a college that’s only a two hour drive from her home, where she spends a decent number of weekends during the school year.  She’s never faced having to leave her home and family for *months* without the option of coming back.  Not to mention that she’s going alone.  E is very outgoing and I know she’ll make friends, but I’m afraid that initial period is going to be really hard–especially since she’s not preparing herself for it–and guess who’s going to have to see her crying via Skype?  Yep, me.

It’s not that I don’t want to be there for her, I just think she’s making it unnecessarily hard on herself.  But the little bitch inside of me is whispering that E kind of brushes me off when I’m upset after leaving home, and now she’ll finally understand how much it can hurt.  And as if it wasn’t complicated enough, E just had to throw a bf into the mix.

I’d like to tell you a lot about her bf, but I can’t, since they haven’t been going out that long.  They went on their first “date” in January, didn’t start officially dating until the end of February, and both returned to their separate homes in the beginning of May.  That’s just over two months of official dating with near-daily contact.  But they decided in May that they wanted to be in it for the long haul and were going to stay together while she’s in France.  They saw each other twice this summer, they might see each other at Christmas, and then maybe once or twice next summer before they’refinally together at school again.  That’s a long time to be committed to someone you only officially dated for 2.5 months before the separation began…..

Maybe it’s because I’m not an optimist like E and I’m not into long distance relationships, but I just don’t see this working out.  Add in the fact that she’s admitted that she likes him more than he likes her, and I can practically imagine the post-break up Skype conversation.

As her best friend, it’s my job to support her, so I keep my mouth shut about this most of the time.  Sure, she knows what I think, but I don’t bring it up again and again.  And who knows, maybe I’ll be wrong and she’ll be completely fine with the separation and the relationship will last.  I’d really like to believe that.  But I’ll be damned if my realist personality lets me.

I’m attracting the wrong kind of guys…..

I like to think I’m normal…ish.  I don’t do anything self-destructive, I have hobbies and interests that some people would find odd, but nothing too outrageous, and I have a “normal” group of friends.  So why is it that 80% of the guys I attract are definitely not normal?  They are borderline stalkers!

The first instance was back in freshman year of high school.  I had history with this kid B.  We talked before and after class, and he seemed nice.  So when he offered to walk me home a couple months later (I took the bike path home), I shrugged and agreed.  Why not, right?  So it started out normal enough, and when we got to my house he asked me if I would go out with him.  I was caught totally off-guard, panicked, and said yes.  I quickly regretted it.  When he called later that night, I lied and told him that my parents had said I couldn’t have a bf or date until I was 16.  He said he’d wait….we were only 14….

I tried to distance myself a bit in the hopes that his infatuation would die off on its own.  It didn’t.  He was always passing notes, seeking me out, and trying to walk me home.  When I would walk home with my friend/down the street neighbor, he would walk about 20 feet behind us.  Talk about creepy!  Sophomore year we didn’t see each other much and I had a car, so I thought that was that.  I didn’t talk to or see him for the rest of high school.  Then, freshman year of college, I get a message on myspace, which I rarely log onto.  It’s from B.  He wants to know if there’s any chance for us because “he’s never been able to get over me and he still thinks I could be the one.”  He was willing to leave his gf for me–a childhood crush he hadn’t talked to in over 3 years.  Needless to say, I hit ‘delete’ as fast as the mouse would move.

The second instance happened during my Junior and Senior years of high school.  I was a shift manager at the movie theater and a new guy, K, had just been hired and promoted to the same level as I.  He was about 8-9 years older, but took a liking to me.  I didn’t fend off his attempts at friendly conversation–because I thought it was just that–but apparently he developed a romantic interest in me.  He made low-budget horror/pornish films in his spare time and was always trying to give me free DVDs and promo items, ignoring my protests that I wouldn’t watch it because I hated those kinds of movies, and then getting mad when he found out I hadn’t watched them.  It reached a new level when he started staying for hours after his shift just to track me down during my 30 minute break.  He would invite himself out with me and my friend/coworker, and just wouldn’t leave me alone.  It was so bad that one of the managers–who I happened to have become friends with–noticed and offered to have him terminated for harassment.  I thought about taking him up on that offer, but luckily K got fired for something unrelated and that was the end….or so I thought….

Sophomore year of college he was back again.  He found me on fb.  I wavered on whether to accept his friend request, but finally did because I figured nothing would come of it.  I was wrong.  he started sending me messages, links, posting on my wall, commenting on my statuses which were often inside jokes for my coworkers, and im-ed me within moments of my logging on, causing me to constantly be “offline” on fb chat.  I responded with the bare minimum and I guess he got the hint because he’s left me alone…..for now.

And now there is M.  He’s not really a stalker per se….not yet, anyway.  I also met him through the theater.  He was nice and we were work-friends.  We flirted a bit, but nothing serious.  Then he went to college in Chicago a year before I went to NYC, so we saw almost nothing of each other.  Then he sends me a fb message saying that he’s going to be in NYC this weekend and I should come show him around since he’ll “be on 24th street, which is by my college.”  Well, he either remembered me mentioning that my college is on 23rd a couple years ago, or he googled it before messaging me.  Either way is creepy….

Sigh….why can’t I attract normal guys????????

Roommates

 

For some people, living with roommates is an amazing opportunity to make new, lifelong friends and ensure you always have something to look forward to at home.  I am not one of those people.  Not to say that I’m a misanthrop–I don’t hate people by any stretch of the imagination–I’m just more of a loner than a social butterfly.  Family aside, I prefer to be alone when I’m home.  I’m surrounded by (awesome) people at work and school anywhere from 8-14 hours per day 5 days a week, so by the time I get home in the evening, I’m all about me time.  Most of my roommates have been nice, friendly people, but I’m just not interested in being best friends with them.  We live together so we have to learn to cooperate and be able to get along, but that doesn’t mean we need to be all buddy buddy.

And then, of course, there are the roommates from hell who make you want to kill both them and yourself.  I’m living with one now, though not for much longer since we’re kicking her out this week 🙂  She was supposed to sublet for 3 months, but stopped paying the rent during the second month, leaves dishes full of food to rot in the kitchen until myself or my other roommates cave and wash them because we can’t take the small anymore, and trashes the bathroom.  She smokes in the apartment and blasts her music in the middle of the night when those of us who lead productive lives and actually work are trying to sleep.

I really don’t understand how anyone can prefer living with roomies to living alone, even if the roomies are friends, but I suppose that’s my opinion.  To each his own.  Personally, though, I can’t wait until I graduate, go back to Illinois, and buy a decent sized house with a mortgage payment the same as my current rent 🙂

Unconditional Love

 

My last post was about how much leaving my family hurt, especially leaving my sister.  But there was one family member I neglected to mention–one who was harder to leave than even my baby sister.  My cat, Halifax.  We got Halifax 9 years ago, when he was 6 years old, after my cat Whiskers passed away.  Some would call him a “replacement,” but I hate that word.  He’s much more than that.  He and Whiskers are two totally different cats with two totally different personalities who hold two totally different places in my heart.  Halifax is one of the sweetest cats you’ll ever find.  He loves to cuddle and hug and sit in your lap while you work.  He never bites and is immediately friendly to everyone, even the people in the veterinarian’s office.  He is also 15 years old and sick.

 

Halifax has heart problems–my mom has never explained to me exactly what they are, but he takes a pill for them each night–and hyperthyroidism, which caused him to drop a lot of weight over the past year.  He has medicine twice a day and his weight has stabalised, but he’s still just skin and bones.  He’s active and seems happy, but that could change any day.

 

I think that’s what scared me the most when I left.  He’s been in my life for 9 years, and I don’t know if he’ll be there at Christmas.  He should be, but something could go wrong.  And if he makes it that long, will he make it until summer or Christmas 2010, when I’ll be home for good?  No one knows.

 

Halifax has been with me through my developmentally important teenage years.  He put up with my earlier brattiness and was there for me during my times of sadness.  I know I’ve taken him for granted up until the past year.  I just didn’t think about the fact that he was growing older, even as his fur started greying and thinning.  Now that I’m faced with the harsh reality of his mortality, it’s…undescribable.  I can’t picture my life without him–I don’t even want to try–but I know that will become the reality within a few years.  I just hope he can hold on and be happy until I’m home for good and can soothe him in the end.  He’s loved me unconditionally for years, comforting him in his last moments is the very least I can do.