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Sundries
...a sweatshop of moxie

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

One Friend

When I first emigrated to the US, I knew I was going to take a hit socially, since I was leaving all my friends and family behind in Britain.

My parents had lived down here for a while, so I knew I wouldn't be without my invites to social occasions.

But I confess, they have a much older set of friends, even though they're not terribly old.

It's just that in their milieu and time, a fun night out was partying the night at Jimmyz, Regine's international disco franchise, or a supper club, and watching a floorshow or a play.

And I'm sorry...

...I've just never understood the attraction of the Folies Bergeres.



Especially for us women (my woman crushes notwithstanding).

If I want to look at semi-naked women on stage, I prance around my bathroom mirror singing Jacques Brel songs for an hour.

My generation's equivalent is a night out at a hot club featuring DJ Tiesto, afterwards piling into someone's Hummer for a skinny dip in the jacuzzi.



Same concept, less plastic boobs.

So carefully, I built up my coterie of international friends here in South Florida.

I had Cuban friends, I had French friends, Chilean friends, Brazilian friends, Swedish friends, Colombian friends, Kenyan friends, Trinidadian friends, Japanese friends, friends from almost every region in the US.

I even dated a young Haitian lad once, and he introduced me to some of his friends too.

On and on, a little United Nations of my own, but with more backbone and less corruption.

Everywhere I have gone in life, I have gathered my own circle of friends, happy to spend much time in their company, and hopefully, they in mine.

My mother used called me The Pied Piper, because I've always had this ability to meet many different people from all walks of life, and have them around me.

But you'll notice that most of the people I mentioned above, come FROM somewhere other than Florida. Like me.

It's an important point.

You see, because this is the ultimate transient State, oftentimes, people move as quickly out, as they did in.

For a few years, my circle of friends just kept getting bigger. I partied hard. I needed to get it out of my system, I told my perplexed parents.

Lovingly, they understood, and since I was born a good girl, they even encouraged me.

(Let that be a lesson to you would-be bad boys and girls out there -- you'd die if you knew what parents let good kids get away with, just because they like to see you enjoy yourself for a change)

Then, I decided to enter Medical School, and Kaplan courses, tutors, volunteerism, all got in the way of more frivolous pursuits -- though I'd never describe my friends as merely that.

2001 arrived, and I discovered the internet. Big time.

This medium has introduced to me to SO many wonderful and diverse people, which I'd have to live a dozen lifetimes, and travel much wider than even I have to date, to reunite the same group of wonderful people I speak to daily, with just a click of a mouse.

Slowly, unbearably, inch by inch, my social circle started dwindling.

I didn't return calls.

Invitations to diners prives went unresponded to.

Club dates went undanced with.

In short, I disappeared.

But something else was happening, beyond my control.

My friends just started leaving South Florida, at first in trickles, then in droves. I was heartsick, since I couldn't control people's destinies, even if I had wanted to.

They came from somewhere else, just like I did, but when their grants, their scholarships, their daddy's money ran out, I was left minus yet more one good pal.

This past 15th January, I lost another great chum -- my last female friend, and neighbour.

She accepted a job in central Florida, and off she went, with my best wishes, but also leaving me with the grand total of:

One friend left.

My Chilean friend, Patricio.

The thing of it is, I've become so accustomed to saying "no thanks" to invites now, more content to spend my nights eating an apple, nose firmly in a book, or laughing with my parents, or here with you, that even poor Patricio gets the bum's rush whenever he dares suggest a night out.

All my life, I've had a close group of loving friends around me, and today, I find myself unwilling, in the nicest way possible, to gather more chums around me any more.

Why?

Just so I can mope when they leave for pastures greener? Meh.

It seems The Pied Piper has finally lain down her real-life reed.

22 Comments:

  • I don't mean to presume, and of course do commiserate, but much of what you describe sounds like the natural transistion from 20s-dom to 30s-dom.

    A chrysalis period between phases is natural, desirable, even.

    Relish who you were, enjoy who you are becoming.

    (And also living in a transitory town like yourself, I do understand what it's like to lose contact with old playmates)

    (Did I just type something so trite? Who stole my password? No such luck, that's me being sincere, don't expect it to happen too often)

    By Blogger XWL, at Wed Jan 18, 07:25:00 am GMT-5  

  • Take heart. When you get married, you develop all sorts of "couple friends". And then it's just a hop and a skip to complete square.

    Which is very, very good indeed.

    By Blogger Ruth Anne Adams, at Wed Jan 18, 07:59:00 am GMT-5  

  • Well, props to her for finally finding a suitable job...

    By Blogger JSU, at Wed Jan 18, 08:03:00 am GMT-5  

  • I, like XWL, live in a town full of people who just won't stay! Although some of them do...I view it as having friends all over America I can come see whenever! And have taken advantage of this...

    Victoria, this blog is your new magnet; most of us can't have a cuban libre with you, but we're here with a nod-and-a-wink pretty often! And naturally, if you come to Ann Arbor, you may crash as you will...

    By Blogger Ron, at Wed Jan 18, 08:22:00 am GMT-5  

  • While I agree that there is a natural transition as one ages that reduces the quantity (not the quality) of friendships there is definitely an "internet effect" where more time is spent alone with a computer rather than out socializing with friends. One needs to combat this tendency by actually calling friends and getting together!

    Victoria, hurry up and make new friends before Patricio returns to Chile to meet his new Presidenta!

    By Blogger Jose Aguirre, at Wed Jan 18, 10:17:00 am GMT-5  

  • What Jose said.
    Such friends you have here! Chances are really poor though, that actually (sing "getting to know you" - here) socializing together, hearing the voice, laughter and experiencing daily life with each other is unlikely. The Internet Lament.
    We have our place, put us in it.

    By Blogger Paul, at Wed Jan 18, 10:37:00 am GMT-5  

  • Perhaps, someday, we will have 3D avatars walking about in some form of "cyberspace" (to use an older term!) and perhaps we will all meet under the Virtual Eiffel Tower for a kir royale...

    By Blogger Ron, at Wed Jan 18, 11:42:00 am GMT-5  

  • XWL was correct. It's a part of growing up, "Petra Pan". LOL

    Come up to Largo, sometime, and visit an old man, why don'cha?

    ; )

    By Blogger benning, at Wed Jan 18, 02:23:00 pm GMT-5  

  • I don't mean to presume, and of course do commiserate, but much of what you describe sounds like the natural transistion from 20s-dom to 30s-dom.

    Well, huh.

    I hadn't even thought of that, XWL!

    I'm not sure it gives me a more stable view of my situation, but clarity is often not easy to deal with -- so I'll mull it over.

    A chrysalis period between phases is natural, desirable, even.

    *sigh*

    Sure is lonely though.

    And listen, you hear the gentle whine of the spoilt, loved only child speaking.

    Outside, I understand you are right.

    Relish who you were, enjoy who you are becoming.

    I shall. Even if these wing thingies cramp my style.

    (And also living in a transitory town like yourself, I do understand what it's like to lose contact with old playmates)

    An acquaintance of mine, come to think of it, once called it getting rid of excess baggage.

    It sounds awful, this expression.

    (Did I just type something so trite? Who stole my password? No such luck, that's me being sincere, don't expect it to happen too often)

    Don't worry, XWL.

    Becoming trite and corny is a very natural transition from 30s to 40s. :)

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Wed Jan 18, 03:43:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Take heart. When you get married, you develop all sorts of "couple friends". And then it's just a hop and a skip to complete square.

    Which reminds me of that scene in Sex and the City, when a former party-hard gal, that the 4 Manhattanite lovelies once knew, had become just another expectant mom in the 'burbs.

    Apart from the usual snide Hollywood dig at 'just folks' around the US, it did of course, have a ring of truth to it.

    I don't think I can ever become that suburbanite mum, with my SUV and 2.4 kids in the oven.

    So if my future husband is reading this, start making the Benjamins, fool! We going to the Seychelles!

    Which is very, very good indeed.

    You know why I know you're right?

    Because life rocks.

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Wed Jan 18, 03:48:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Well, props to her for finally finding a suitable job...

    Just took her two years to land one, right...

    BTW, she says she can't last up there very long.

    Orlando, Jacksonville, and the like are all very well, but they are not South Beach, and you know what an adrenline junky she is.

    We'll see.

    She's kept her condo apartment, although it's let out just now.

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Wed Jan 18, 03:52:00 pm GMT-5  

  • I, like XWL, live in a town full of people who just won't stay!

    I reckon that's part of the American Experience.

    Even those in the countryside, who have a greater connexion to their roots, have family members who leave all the time to escape to the "Big City".

    Although some of them do...I view it as having friends all over America I can come see whenever! And have taken advantage of this...

    That's great!

    I have done the same thing -- which actually took me to visit a friend in Michigan, which I might've mentioned to you about.

    I drove from South Florida to above Lansing, all alone in my car.

    This is why I pride myself, unlike the snooties from NYC, on knowing real Americans, and the Heartland, first-hand.

    Victoria, this blog is your new magnet;

    And I'm very happy that it is. :)

    most of us can't have a cuban libre with you,

    Brandy Alexander for me, please!

    but we're here with a nod-and-a-wink pretty often! And naturally, if you come to Ann Arbor, you may crash as you will...

    That is exceptionally sweet of you, Ron. Thanks. :)

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Wed Jan 18, 03:56:00 pm GMT-5  

  • While I agree that there is a natural transition as one ages that reduces the quantity (not the quality)

    I know where you're going with this, because my mother worries about it all the time.

    of friendships there is definitely an "internet effect" where more time is spent alone with a computer rather than out socializing with friends. One needs to combat this tendency by actually calling friends and getting together!

    Yes.

    This thing we call the internet has changed our socialising forever.

    It's not like crack either, unless you live in a crackhouse.

    It's legal, it's on all the time, and it draws you like Neiman-Marcus blow-out sale.

    Victoria, hurry up and make new friends before Patricio returns to Chile to meet his new Presidenta!

    Heh. One day, maybe Jose, you'll know how funny that really was. :)

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Wed Jan 18, 03:59:00 pm GMT-5  

  • What Jose said.
    Such friends you have here! Chances are really poor though, that actually (sing "getting to know you" - here) socializing together, hearing the voice, laughter and experiencing daily life with each other is unlikely. The Internet Lament.
    We have our place, put us in it.


    Pshaw!

    You know how I view my online chatting with friends?

    Like you coming to my salon every day, and we chat about anything under the sun.

    Suddenly, I'm Madame Recamier, and I'm happy.

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Wed Jan 18, 04:02:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Perhaps, someday, we will have 3D avatars walking about in some form of "cyberspace" (to use an older term!) and perhaps we will all meet under the Virtual Eiffel Tower for a kir royale...

    How about in the Tour D'Argent for some pressed duck and Anissette?

    P.S.: I've often wondered how the internet will be, 20 years from now.

    A decade ago, it was forums like USENET. Then IRC, then web-based forums like BigSoccer, then video-camming, now blogs.

    The next big internet invention is...?

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Wed Jan 18, 04:04:00 pm GMT-5  

  • XWL was correct. It's a part of growing up, "Petra Pan". LOL

    I REFUSE TO GROW UP!

    (As I mentioned once, I actually have a button pin with that written on it. ;)

    Come up to Largo, sometime, and visit an old man, why don'cha?

    Depends.

    Think about it. ;)

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Wed Jan 18, 04:06:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Suddenly, I'm Madame Recamier, and I'm happy.

    So are we, so are we.
    Don't ever lock the door. :)

    By Blogger Paul, at Wed Jan 18, 08:52:00 pm GMT-5  

  • So are we, so are we.
    Don't ever lock the door. :)


    Funnily enough, I made the acquaintance of a girl today, when I was waiting for my mother to come out of a party -- a few hours ago.

    She seems nice, but...she's Austrian.

    Ah well.

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Thu Jan 19, 12:09:00 am GMT-5  

  • She seems nice, but...she's Austrian.

    and? :) What is wrong with that? Or (I hope not) should I know? You are such a character!

    Let me ask you, kidding, of course, but have you met any people having several generations of home-grown Floridian in them? Or has Disney done something with them all?

    By Blogger Paul, at Thu Jan 19, 12:40:00 am GMT-5  

  • I've been stretching out my small blue box of tea from Tour D'argent forever!

    I must finish it someday...but not today!

    By Blogger Ron, at Thu Jan 19, 01:00:00 am GMT-5  

  • and? :) What is wrong with that? Or (I hope not) should I know? You are such a character!

    Well, I'm thinking ahead already.

    She's Austrian...she might leave!!

    Jebus, I'm too old to suddenly get abandoment issues...

    Let me ask you, kidding, of course, but have you met any people having several generations of home-grown Floridian in them? Or has Disney done something with them all?

    Yes. They're all cryogenically frozen.

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Thu Jan 19, 02:02:00 am GMT-5  

  • I've been stretching out my small blue box of tea from Tour D'argent forever!

    I must finish it someday...but not today!


    *LOL*

    I do that all the time with my treasured, but hard to get goodies.

    Like my tin of Number 16 Harrods tea, and that special Victoria soap from Sweden.

    "Only for special occasions"

    Bah. Living is a special occasion.

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Thu Jan 19, 02:03:00 am GMT-5  

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