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