Tuesday, July 19, 2011

standin' at the end of a real long road

When we moved to Kent eleven years ago, I didn't know anyone there. I didn't have a single friend. I tried the ways I knew to make some. I went to a book discussion group. I didn't like it. I went to the fitness center. I didn't like it. What I needed was a job. That's how I have always made friends. And, the fact is, I have always made friends. Wherever I have gone, doggone it, people like me.

My brief stint working at a local public library brought me some friends, but they didn't last beyond my job there. When I started working at the university, however, I finally found some true friends. Friends I laughed and cried with. Friends I got drunk with. Friends I took vacations with. Friends who moved away and left me bereft. Friends who remained my friends even after I left the university five years later, feeling depleted and defeated. Friends who were some of the last people I saw before Ben and I made the big move. Joany, Kristen, Vince, you know who you are, but I want to give you a shout-out here. I love you guys.

Those aren't the only friends I left behind, however. Not by a long shot. When I started working at Miss Chickpea's, my co-workers there became my teachers and my mentors, and to my surprise and delight, my friends. Janet and Kathy and Dianne made it a pleasure to go to work every day, and I was delighted when the orbit of my schedule allowed me to work with each of them over the course of a week. We had fantastic customers at that little shop, and it was a pleasure to see many of them walk through the door, but I would be remiss if I did not single out Amy, who became a true friend to me. Even after the shop suddenly closed, we all remained close, and the knitting groups we attended were full of laughter. I miss you all more than you can know.

When we moved here, I was delighted to realize that there is a yarn shop right here in the town where I live. It was one of the first places Julie and I stopped on one of our outings. I love knitting. I love knitters. Surely here I would find kindred spirits who might some day - with careful nurturing - become my friends. But, you know, I didn't like it there. I didn't like the yarns they carried (too pedestrian) and the staff was not friendly and welcoming in the ways to which I was accustomed. I go back there periodically, but, really, I have plenty of yarn. What I need is friends! And it seems to me that I don't have any friends here because I can't find a job, and I can't find a job here because I don't have any friends. It's a bit of a conundrum.

I try to keep in mind that after we moved to Kent it took me a year and a half to find a job at the university, but I hope it doesn't take me that long here. Because I really need the money, and you know, ya got to have friends.*


*Yep, they're song lyrics, kiddies. From Bette Midler's debut album, The Divine Miss M. I must have listened to that album a thousand times, and probably could still sing every song on it, but these are the lyrics that keep running through my mind:

But you got to have friends
The feeling's oh so strong
You got to have friends
To make that day last long

I had some friends but they're gone
Someone came and took them away
And from the dusk 'til the dawn
Here is where I'll stay

I'm standin' at the end of a real long road
And I'm waiting for my new friends to come
I don't care if I'm hungry or freezing (freezing) cold
I've got to get me some


Ben said...

I do so enjoy your posts, and this was an especially nice read. "Gotta gotta gotta gotta" (more song lyrics) We need to make this job thing happen! Expand it, focus it, something! Keep the faith, something will turn up!

jamanci said...

don't forget, you lived there ten years, so you had lots of time to meet people! when you've been here ten years i'm sure you'll know piles of people.

all you have to do is become a regular somewhere. :) have you tried book groups and knitting classes out here yet, or just in kent? or try volunteering, and help people while you make friends!

anne mancine said...

Someone here in town is trying to start up a food co-op and I am planning on attending the organizational meeting next week. I like food.