(Look, I wrote this last night, but am only posting it this morning. It just turned out that way. I thought I should mention this up front just so no-one gets confused when I refer to the cricket awards on TV in the present tense.)
I finished the CI Guidelines manual. I proof-read it and mailed it off before I hopped in the car to pick Ruth up from the airport. Mary came in late this morning, looking both surprised and despondent, and said that Ruth’s cat was killed by a car yesterday. That was very sad, for all of us. One of the reasons that I own no animals or children is that I am averse to the pain that these beings bring. I have seen it, really, it is everywhere. Do not let parents or cat owners talk you into joining the ranks of the animal-child custodians if you are not absolutely sure that you can cope with the inevitable heartbreak first. Really. It’s like crime. If you can’t do the time… etc.
(Aside: I am keeping an eye on the SA cricket awards, and can ANYBODY explain to me why Roelof van der Merwe got the Newcomer of the Year Award, instead of Wayne Parnell? I don’t get it. Regardless of my opinion, it seems like a big night for SA cricket because the guys are all at the event in their striped blazers, and so far no cricketers have been rewarded in absentia.)
I should say that Ruth is one of the very few people that I will go and fetch at the airport. Airport runs are one of the reasons that I try to keep my friend-count to something I can manage on one hand. And birthdays. A great moment of anxiety every year used to be June and July (an extremely long moment, I know, so you understand where I am coming from). For many years I could not remember if my mother was born on the 10th of June or July, and as these days approached, terrible angst would grip me, lest I forget to phone her on the actual day. I don’t think I missed one (I might have been a little late), but I could be wrong. Point is, I am very bad at remembering birthdays, and (Greame Smith just got Cricketer of the Year Award, and I think, “good for him”) it causes me to fret. It is especially depressing to me whenever I realise that I had forgotten one – when I only have about five to remember. (Clearly I am sticking with the ‘one hand’ metaphor here.) It’s hard.
What is not hard, fortunately, is keeping the friend-count low. By being perfectly curmudgeonly, impatient, rude and generally anti-social, one can avoid suffering that terrible moment of having to decide whether Julie* really is too busy-off-her-head doing important corporate stuff to call you back, or if she is just too busy-being-up-her-own-ass. Attack is the best form of defence. I think that comes from the Art of War, or something.
(From here, things get a little soppy, so I would stop reading now, myself, actually, and scroll down the blog to watch the funny beer-diet video instead.)
A last word on my friends. I think of myself as profoundly blessed with the handful I have managed to gather. They are a quality lot, for sure. I like the fact that when I cook a three course meal for dinner, I can invite all of them without upping the bond on my flat. I am happy even if I may only see one or sometimes two of them in a week and even when the time we spend together is light and easy, it is always valuable, and memorable. Some, living in other cities or countries, I only get to see every few months or even years, but somehow distance does not dilute the connection we have made. All of them I have known for a long time. I am slow at forging meaningful relationships, sometimes ridiculously so. But ultimately, my friends are people who my life would be bleaker without. You need friends man, good ones.
I suspect that some people find this difficult. The ‘good ones’ part anyway. I have known some girls in my life who rarely miss an opportunity to moan and bitch about what their friends did or said or overlooked in the lavish gift department. What is all that about? Personally, I find it wearying enough to have to point out the shortcomings of Julius Malema, the Cosatu leadership, SADTU and the whole of middle America as often as possible. Running down your friends have to be exhausting. And if they really are such bitches, (which, actually, they are – I have met them) lose them. Spend time in your own company. It can be both entertaining and relaxing.
This is of course the third reason why my personal friend-count is so low. There are very few quality folk about, I am sorry to say, and I am pleased and flattered that my folk have chosen me for their circle in return.
And that really is enough sentiment for one day.
(There is a much better blog in here somewhere – like the thin girl inside the fat one dying to get out – but I am not sure yet how to unlock it. I have not even touched on the fact that friends cost you money, that they can be fractious and take you for granted: even your best and favourite people in the whole world are sometimes very trying, and a test to one’s patience. And it is when you recognise this for what it is, and remember that, surely, you must inspire a little despair in them too, from time to time, and hope that they still love you terribly even so, that the world becomes a kinder place that makes sense in a crazy sort of a way. Etc Etc. Work in progress. Note to self: think about how to write about friends without getting soppy.)
* Not her real name