Friday, March 23, 2007

Not quite a dilemma

I got a message from a friend yesterday and realising its importance I answered it, with all the haste I could muster, this morning. She wanted me to meet her at the airport for one hour on a Sunday morning. Not my version of a morning but the genuine kind, the before midday kind. A few weeks ago I agreed to do this and met her and her family as she waited for her mother’s plane to arrive. The whole trip took about four hours [including the time I spent with them] and cost a truly ridiculous amount as I was forced to use the airport train system. And it was awkward and I was trying not to be pissy even though I was pissed off with all the trains and the waiting around and the heat exhaustion. What made it particularly annoying for me is that I live quite close to the airport, maybe fifteen minutes by car, but I had no other way of getting there [other than a cab and, seriously, no]. So I resolved that there’d be no more meeting people at the airport. I don’t meet my family when they fly in to see me [which means that my parents have a key to my house and that just kinda freaks me]. I’ve even refused to meet my sister when she flies in over Easter because all she has to do is grab her baggage [including her son] and get in a cab.
I don’t see the point of meeting someone for an hour in awkward and uncomfortable circumstances while they supervise their kids in a public place. Or travelling for hours to do it and thus spending a large chunk of one of my precious days off on public transport [I spend about three hours of a working day travelling, that’s enough for any week]. And I feel like a total shit for not hugely putting myself out to spend an hour with a friend.
Seriously, where are the limits? Am I as in the wrong as I feel here? Am I being thoroughly selfish? I’d like to see my friend but the inconvenience of it is enough to bring me out in hives.
Ugh, signing off and feeling petty and selfish and lazy and a whole range of not good things but also relieved that I haven’t given up half a day for an hour. Maybe this is indicative of the present status of our friendship. It’s always so hard when friends cease to be the free individuals you once knew and have a whole range of responsibilities that supersede your free individualness…


Anonymous said...

i am drunk

maybe you should be too

themarina said...

My girlfriends have actually discussed this at some length and have come to the conclusion that, since we all live so far from each other, we try to meet somewhere central where the travel time is approximately the same for all of us.

Other times, we rotate so that it's always closer to one of us.

We've come to the understanding that the effort has to come from both sides and though I don't know your friend, sounds to me like it's only when it's convenient for her. I don't think you're being selfish at all.

Just my 2 cents.

Meredith said...

This is a dilemma & I agree with themarina that your friendship may be one-way. What if, next time, you tell her how much it cost. Say you'll contribute that amount to a) babysitting costs so you two can go out or b) cocktail ingredients so you two can have fun at her place while the kids make mud pies. The airport is a vile place not suitable for friendly interactions & should be avoided whenever possible.

ilse said...

Something I've noticed as I've gotten older is that I need my friends *less* but that I struggle with the guilt that it entails.

It started before I moved cities, we started to fragment and consolidate ourselves into more self contained units. Since I moved to Adelaide, I've noticed how little I talk to the people I previously saw or spoke to every day or so.

Sometimes it feels like they have forgotten me-- "if she's such a good friend why's she never call or email?"-- but then I remind myself that I don't always seek them out either.

I don't think you should feel guilt for how you honestly feel. You feel that way, and that's it. Guilt doesn't help-- from you or anyone else.

From reading your latest entries it sounds to me like you're getting to a point where you're willing to walk away from past rules of friendship and towards new ones, with boundaries that are established by YOU.

Good luck.

lucy said...

If declining an invitation to hang out for an hour, that takes you 4 hours to get to makes you selfish?

Then colour me selfish.

Plus on a Sunday morning?

Bugger that.

I always cab it to go to the airport, it costs as much as the train and so very much easier.

nailpolishblues said...

Anonymouses are always such a challenge, aren't they?

Marina, Meredith - if anything she's the one who puts more effort into the friendship as she's better at the keeping in contact thing in general. And I do see, from her point of view, why it's so much easier for me to meet up with her in town [she lives a few of hours away in the Hunter Valley]. However, this is me meeting someone as they perform a chore, in-between their other tasks for the day, in an inhospitable environment whilst seriously putting my day out and that's the bit that annoys me. I live quite close to the airport and if I had another way of getting there it wouldn't be an issue but public transport or $40 [beer money] worth of cab fares is, to me, majorly excessive for a[n in]convenient hour. Also, as I live quite close to the airport they could easily come here and we could take the kids to the park or something and have a nice catch up before they drive back - which I did suggest [the here part] but it was shot down pretty quickly as she basically loathes Sydney and wants to get away from it in a hurry. I wouldn't mind meeting her half-way and doing something but she has young kids and they're [obviously] always in tow. And, quite frankly, conversations punctuated by little kid and worrying about little kid gets very dull very quickly. See how nasty I am? I want my friend but I'd rather have her without the family - it's a pain in the arse. A lot of it comes from being at very different stages in life. I'm not one of those people who loves hanging around other people's kids and family situations and I'd be lying if I said I'd like to be. I quite adore my nephew but little and not that often is enough of his company at this point [though I am looking forward to the day when we can go to the Mardi Gras together]. I wouldn't mind going up to see her for a weekend [well, overnight] but for the moment it's not really an option and, quite frankly, she's a bit hopeless on home turf - always cleaning something! I'd rather we go out and get pissed or she [for the first time in about four years] take the weekend off from her family and be a normal human and not some Stepford wife.

Ilse, you make a very good point about the needing them less. I do love my friends and especially the older ones [like this one] of whom I have memories going back a decade and a half but I don't really need them and I don't need much contact with them. Like I said, I'd love to catch up but it's the terms that kill me. The married-with-kids have a way of making you feel as though there's something freakish with your life when my life is actually pretty normal. We, that is she and I, are 28 the biggest differences are that I got a degree and she got married [and had babies]. Being of different personal and intellectual bents, I tend to focus on the outside world and doing what interests me [it's taken me a while to get this decadent! j/k] while she is all about the family - not, per se, a bad thing but the world outside her family doesn't really exist for her which leaves us with relatively little common ground as neither shares the experience or interest of the other and both find it hard to enter the other's main sphere. We tend to fall back on common aquaintance and shared history for conversation and, having lived quite far apart for quite a long time, haven't really had the opportunites to make a lot of new memories. I see her as one of the friends that I'll be hanging out with when I'm aged - I think we're drinking cocktails aboard cruise ships and perving on young men [knowing her she'll pick up too] - and I don't assume that temporary irritation will change that. It is, really, a time of life thing and I think we both still have a lot of life to lead and a lot of growing up to do. I just feel slack because, well, I am quite slack about catching up with people.

Lucy, I never know when I'm being selfish or not [is that a bad sign?]. I've quite often been told that I'm selfish when I've behaved in what I would consider a perfectly reasonable way - usually by my sister and she's not slouch in the selfishness stakes either which is possibly why I've always been somewhat confused by what constitutes selfish.
I totally agree on the cab thing - that's my usual way of to-ing and fro-ing the airport. But $40 is a fucking waste of beer money [or bill money or money better spent than on being lectured by a cabbie]. And a Sunday morning is just cruel and unusual torture - I'l be mean here and say, look, just because you forgot the birth control doesn't mean we should all suffer from kiddie hours...

Mark said...

Longest comment reply ever :|

Hey, thx for the glowing praise on Lucy's site. I really am ALL THAT - especially in person, and I'm very punctual. Can you ask Mish and Rinna out for me? Try to do it at separate times in case they both say yes.

In return I will set you up with Glen. He has a car! Yeah!

nailpolishblues said...

Was, wasn't it?

I'll just be emailing Michelle [assuming she doesn't read this first] and texting Rinna [assuming I have the right number - it'd be freaky to ask her mother-in-law for her number, wouldn't it?].

Er, why would I want to be set up with Glen?

glen said...

err, set up with Glen?


sorry, mark, I didn't know you fantasised about such things. perhaps this is an expression of your dream to perhaps hook up with someone off the interwebs? yes, yes, i know, i should been in psychoanalysis... not mentioning any names, but I have already hooked up with someone from the interwebs, as you very well know, and it was as psychotic as you could imagine. she has settled down heaps now though, that is good. and, lastly, embarrassment is not a sign of intimacy.

i do have a car though, bought it for fieldwork. however, now I ride or walk everywhere cause it is teh bad for environments.

back on topic, i find it hard to be mates with peeps who don't live near me.

nailpolishblues said...

Dream? As in 'I go to sleep and dream' or the other sort? If the former I totally want details.

I concur that err was more correct than er.

What's this about embarrassment?

Mark said...

Yeah, I think I know what you mean about embarrassment not being a sign of intimacy. They were some crazy times.

Would like to hear you do 'Manic Monday' :) Maybe they'll have some Talking Heads too...

nailpolishblues said...

Curiouser and curiouser.

Now somebody fill me in. Yes?

glen said...


Remember, to er is to be human, but to err is to be human on the internet.

The story you want to hear unfortunately only makes sense in a secret language that demands part of the human vocal apparatus to be loosened. This requires alcohol.

glen said...

oh, and talking heads!?!?!? you haven't been talking to a certain hairdresser have you?

nailpolishblues said...

It's tragic to be so reliant on alcohol.
I'm lucky that I don't have that problem, being, you know, a teetotaller and all.

Mark said...

Who's the hairdresser? wtf? Talking Heads are just cool is all.