A New Old Friend

I had the pleasure recently of reconnecting with an old friend I hadn’t seen in a very, very long time. Our mothers were best friends when we were kids, and we spent many vacations together. The last time I last saw her was over fifteen years ago, very briefly. When we met this time, we had an immediate connection, as if no time at all had passed.

We both grew up in Greenwich Village, in New York, with similar artsy bohemian parents. There are very few people in my life who grew up the way I did, and it was amazing to reconnect with my friend, after all these years. She understands things about who I am now – even though we haven’t spent time together in a long time – and we fell into easy conversation. She lives very far away now – across an ocean – and I was so sad when she had to leave. Part of it was nostalgia, probably, but I think part of it was realizing how alone I feel so much of the time. My husband is wonderful, and he’s my best friend, but there’s something very special about having a close female friend as well.

I find it gets harder to make new friends the older I get, particular a female “best friend.” Part of it is lifestyle – we’re all so busy living our lives – just getting through the day, dealing with the economy, homes, responsibilities. When you meet someone new at this age, there’s so much past to explain. At this age we’ve all experienced so much – different job paths, different love paths, different dreams and expectations. I love talking with people who are different than me, because I love learning about their lives and their choices, but often, at this age, I find people are either too busy to sit and have those sort of profound conversations, or they’re too guarded. They just don’t have the time or the energy to open up to someone new. I understand why and how that happens.

There’s something incredible about connecting with someone who understands you a very core way. My old friend understands what formed me – I don’t have to try to explain my family and my upbringing, because she lived it too. Even though our lives are different now, we both could see how we’ve made certain choices based on what we experienced as kids. It was so amazing to have someone say, “I know! I get it!” And even more wonderful was that we didn’t only talk about the past – we also talked about the present, how we feel today, as women of a certain age, and what we expected, and what we have, and what we anticipate. I realized how important that is, and how it’s been missing from my life.

I feel I’ve been given a wonderful gift. A new, old friend. Even if it’s another twenty years before we see each other again (and I hope it won’t be), I know that the next time we meet, we’ll be able to pick up again, as if it had been only days.

Do you have someone in your life who gets you? Do you find it easy to make new friends as you get older? Do you feel you have a “best friend,” or do you ever feel alone?


White, With Patches of Red

I have noticed there is an unwritten law of the universe that says whenever I am wearing white pants, I must eat something tomato-based.

While there is no absolute directive that I spill on myself, that seems to be an unavoidable next step.

I am looking forward to the day it stops being 100 degrees in LA and I can go back to wearing dark clothes that hide the stains.


Crochety Old Lady: Report From BlackBerry Lane

So, for a long time I had this perfectly fine free e-mail account. And then I started to do some freelance writing for my husband’s company, so there was another account for work-related stuff, and there would be all these e-mails to check and read and file and delete on both accounts.

And then we got “smart phones,” and one of the e-mail accounts was put onto my BlackBerry, which meant now I could get e-mails in the produce aisle at Vons. It also meant now I had to check and read and file and delete the same e-mails in two places, because apparently the BlackBerry does not talk to the Mac. It’s like those two women you work with whose cubicles are side by side, but they don’t speak and never go to lunch together. Whatever. It’s fine, and everyone works around it.

But then I started to do some more freelance writing, and I began to get IMPORTANT e-mails about work-related stuff in the work-related account. Except that account was not on the BlackBerry, which was stupid, because those e-mails were the ones I really needed to know about in the the produce aisle at Von’s. So I added the work e-mail account to the BlackBerry, which then meant I was standing in the produce aisle at Von’s for hours deleting unnecessary e-mails. And then I still had to go home and read and file and delete all the same e-mails all over again on the laptop.

So then I had an idea. I assigned different sounds to the different accounts on my BlackBerry. The first account, the one that is mostly sales alerts from Zappos, has a sprightly tinkling sound, as if to say “Hello, friend! Here’s something fun for you!” Except of course, there were also some work-related people who had that e-mail address, so I still had to check that account anyway, even though it was usually just about some pants on sale at Nordstrom’s. The sound I assigned to the work account has a slightly urgent yet not overly-insistent sound, suggesting “IMPORTANT e-mail coming through, lady! You might want to take a look at this one ASAP. Especially if you want to earn some money to buy those pants.”

It sill doesn’t solve the problem of too many accounts, and basically the BlackBerry is a very expensive alarm clock. I’m told you can also make phone calls with it, but honestly, who has time to talk on the phone? I’m too busy reading and filing and deleting e-mails.


Job Search – Job of the Day

I was perusing the job boards today, as I am wont to do, and I noticed a posting for “Physician – General Surgery.” Right there on Jobs.com.

Frankly, I was shocked. You’d think that physicians would have their own special site for job hunting. Jobs.com is sort of the equivalent of the cork board at the local community center, where you might find ads like “Rooomate wanted! Must love cats!” or “Seek driver to share expenses on cross-country trip. Must love cats!” or “Tutor needed for dyslexic. Must love cast!”

But there it was – a job posting for “Physician – General Surgery.” Upon closer examination, I saw that the job requirements specified someone who could do “colonoscopies, endoscopies and other GI related procedures.” Perhaps that explains it? Not a huge rush on those gastrointestinal positions?

I suppose it’s just another sign of the times. Everyone is looking for ways to cut back. Until they figure out a way to conduct a physical exam over Skype with a doctor in India, we still have to actually appear in person at the doctor’s office (in my case, a vaguely Kafkaesque HMO, with a disinterested front-desk clerk and hostile nurses.)

Perhaps instead of recruiting from Harvard or John Hopkins University, the decision to go with Jobs.com is an attempt at belt-tightening. I know we all have to make adjustments in this economy, but the whole thing makes me a little uneasy. I’m not sure I’m comfortable with an employment service that caters to both the guy searching for computer engineering jobs and the guy searching my large intestine for polyps.

Oh well. That’s the world we live in now. In a way, it gives me hope. Maybe tomorrow I’ll find a listing for the job I’m really looking for, “Observational humor writer. Seeking self-starter with ability to stare at blank wall for hours. Must love cats!”


In Memoriam

Eight years ago today my friend Mitch lost his stepfather, John Talignani. John was aboard United Airlines Flight 93, which went down in a field in Pennsylvania. A group of ordinary citizens on an airplane made an unthinkable sacrifice to save the lives of others they didn’t even know.

As Mitchell says, “John was an ordinary extraordinary man.”

Today I think about John, and Mitch, and all my friends in New York who were unwilling participants in a horrible day in history.

I was not there, and could only watch with horror and sadness from far away. Today I will remember, in honor of those who were lost that day.


Are We There Yet?

Wow. This summer has kicked my butt.

I’m hot and tired and worn out and I haven’t even done anything. Between the extreme temps and the smoky air and the poor economy and John & Kate (not to mention the eight) and Heidi and Spencer and the crazy people biting each others fingers off to prove … something … about health care, I just can’t keep up.

Of course, in LA, summer is never really over. It will get hot again.

But I need to chill, yo. I need a staycation from my staycation.

How about you?


Sex and The City – The Sequel!

I’m so excited! The second SEX AND THE CITY movie is finally starting to shoot in NYC!

I can’t wait to see the sequel to the first movie! This modern tale of four fabulous young menopausal woman scouring the city for designer fashions anything that fits and doesn’t look dowdy is sure to be as popular as the TV show, which first aired eleven fricking years ago.

In the sequel, artsy Carrie (now writing a “sexy seniors” column for BlogHer and single again), sensible Miranda (laid off from her law firm and single again), ritzy Charlotte (penniless after investing all her money with Bernard Madoff and single again), and indestructible Samantha (retired and single) are still best of pals, as they enjoy life in the Big Apple.

The plot of the sequel is still under wraps, but sources say the gals rally when Samantha breaks a hip in the tub and needs help filing in her Medicare forms.  Over an early bird dinner at The Olive Garden, the four realize they’ve all had it with the harsh New York winters and agree to split the rent on a condo in Miami.

Yeah.  On second thought, maybe I’ll just rent TWILIGHT again.