Friday, November 09, 2007

The Guilty Conscience

Last weekend I went hunting for an "I look awesome" picture. You know, the holidays are coming up... people (read: me) tend to overeat...perhaps a little weight is gained (ahem 10 lbs last year.) So I was looking for a picture that I could stick on the fridge to remind me why I actually shouldn't be eating that pint of Ben & Jerry's Cinnamon Roll ice cream. (The only reason why it's not an "I look like a fat pig" picture is because I really don't want the boyfriend looking at that day after day.)

I know, I know...but desperate times call for desperate measures. I consistently fail at the holiday food binge test, so I'm pulling out all the stops.

Instead, in my perusal of old photos, I stumbled across pictures of my old friends and past girl weekends we shared. The pictures were remarkably similar because there are four of us, the pictures always showed only us, we were always wearing the same outfits (our pajamas) unless we were going out (I think we actually wore the same clothing for about 36 hours straight there at the end,) and all were taken in the same location (the house that we crashed at for the weekend.)

When the pictures were taken, we were all single (I had just met the boyfriend) we were all officially "out of school" but nowhere near knowing what we wanted to do with our lives, and we were all completely happy with spending an entire weekend doing nothing but being silly (with a slight diversion into "clubbing" Wisconsin style.)

Now, one of us is married, two are in long term relationships, two are no longer speaking, and two just turned thirty.

In a conference call with the two who turned thirty yesterday, there was a lot of squealing, a lot of laughing, and a LOT of memories. But apparently, we're all still up for a weekend of doing nothing and being silly. So I'll plan on getting that together for us...well, most of us.

See, of the two who aren't speaking, one of them is me. Seems silly, right? Not speaking to each other is soooo seventh grade. I feel like I need to call my mom and ask her to drive me to the mall. This was highlighted when I showed my boss a picture of my friends, and he asked if one of them was the girl to whom I no longer spoke. When I answered in the affirmative, he said, "You guys were best friends?" I said, "Best friends since the eighth grade." He said, "That's such a shame. You guys need to get back together."

Did I mention that my boss just got back from a boys bonding weekend during which he was unreachable for any business questions? (This is so abnormal for him that there aren't even words to explain it. Thus is the power of old friends.)

But even though I brushed it off at the time, I thought about what he said all last night. It DOES seem like a shame, right? And while there was nothing missing in the birthday conference call last night, I felt guilty. But guilty why?

See, I think my friendship with this girl ended because it had fatal flaws the entire time...they just didn't really matter until we were adults. It does seem like a shame, right? All that history just gone. But to me, it's more of that superficial, detached, "bummer" feeling than that "I have to fix this now!" feeling. See, I don't miss the friendship, and I have no urge to "get back together," but I feel guilty for how our posse of friends has been impacted.

For as long as I can remember, I've been the planner. The gatherer of people. The one who keeps in touch with everyone. If I have willing participants, I've put together soccer teams, put together weekend sand volleyball games, thrown New Year's parties, bullied others into letting me use their house for the entertainment of others... If there were girl weekends, it's because I organized the time for everyone to get together.

I've noticed that this "planning gene" (as I call it) does not exist in everyone, even though most people would like to get together with their friends more often. Well...why not? Haven't you noticed that every time people get together (even if for a funeral) they always say "we should do this more often." (at funerals, they add "under more pleasant circumstances of course.") So why don't people do that more often? I don't get it. I LOVE to spend time with my friends. If I can get a group of people together for an evening of...well....anything, then I'm all about it. Why aren't other people?

The problem is that other people just...aren't. So in my group of girlfriends, I'm the planner. And if you're not speaking to the planner, well....

So I should invite this person to whom I'm not speaking, right? I mean, the other girls shouldn't be impacted because obviously she and I haven't matured beyond the age of twelve.

But I don't wanna.

So I think to myself, "One of the other girls should organize something and invite both of us. We can be civil. We're all adults here. If placed in the same location, I'm sure we could find a way to make it work. I just don't want to do the inviting."

Then I sound MORE like a twelve year old. But that's how I feel, and you can't change your emotions. Right?

So I think to myself, "Surely she's getting together with the other girls on her own. I mean, she's calling them and they're keeping in touch on their own. You don't have to orchestrate every aspect of everyone's lives, Em."

And I remain conflicted. And guilty. And you know us Catholics. Even when lapsed, we know our way around guilt. Is there an easy solution to this?

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