That’s What Friends Are For…

by Debra Chappell

View from my kitchen counter:

Mood Reading: ZZZ’S (End of a great holiday weekend with old friends!)

Just getting home from a terrific holiday weekend with an old friend I haven’t seen in a while.  Even though it rained (and even snowed), we hardly noticed the weather. The rigors of our verbal calisthenics kept us plenty warm.  It’s always a lovely thing to rekindle a special friendship that has withstood the time and miles apart – like rediscovering a favorite treasure you stashed away for safekeeping in the depths of your garage – a bit dusty perhaps, but when you brush it off and hold it up to the light, still in tact, exactly as you remember, and a delightful, tangible reminder of why you’ve saved it all these years in the first place.

We had a wonderful few days of catching up (read that: non-stop yakking), nibbling and sipping our way through the weekend, and when it was time to say goodbye, promised not to let the days slip into months, or even longer.  I came home refreshed, renewed, and a bit happier inside – all the things a great friendship should and can bring to your life.

If blood is thicker than water, Chardonnay is certainly the first responder. Sometimes it’s your girlfriends in life that get you through it all.  They’re the ones that understand the complete basics of a situation without practical explanations or pragmatic reasoning. They somehow have a telepathic capacity to soothe, calm, bolster or reinforce in a verbal shorthand ala “yea, the bitch…” or “what was he thinking”, or by just listening until your energy, emotion, and reservoir of tears is spent, without the need for facts, figures, or god forbid, logistical reasoning. Conversely, they’re also there for a good laugh and to keep you company on those odd occasions you’ve been served a healthy portion of crow and looking for someone to share it with.

Often, it’s your girlfriends who instinctively make the right choice between giving or withholding advice, telling you the truth or telling you what you want to hear, or kicking you in the butt or sitting with you on the floor for a good wallow, without once telling you to calm down or that you’re over-reacting.

And yes, I’m aware I’m making a sweeping generalization here regarding the differences in how the sexes approach emotional issues, but let’s be honest. When was the last time your husband or boyfriend asked you what the matter was, and then willingly pulled out the wine glasses without thinking, but with the expectation the entire dramatic interlude could last well into the wee hours or at the very least , until every last morsel was dissected, examined, analyzed or otherwise chewed up and spit out – and was actually looking forward to the entire process?

I love my husband dearly and he is a patient, understanding, and an insightful person.  But I think even he is at a total loss sometimes when the acute, hormonal, and totally irrational side of me is awakened by some hurt or perceived transgression, real or otherwise. I’m quite certain this is why, and for whom, Twitter was invented — to keep these overwrought, sometimes illogical and mostly verbose emotional episodes to a minimum that can be dealt with before the evening news!

But to a good girlfriend, just a small reference, a slight hint, or even the raise of an eyebrow in a certain way, can set off a world class gab fest complete with every thought, opinion, speculation, analysis, conjecture, rumor, gossip and assumption known to the human mind, most willingly and whole heartedly indulged in by like and enquiring minds and, in short… something guys just don’t get, and more often than not, have no interest in.

So… when the raspiness of my voice recedes and I recover my vocal chords, I will resume that last installment of my New York series and the meeting with my editor.  Until then… my husband is reveling in the new sound around our house…I think its called “quiet”.