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Saturday, 2 February 2008

Old Friends and New Friends

Four times a year I meet up with old friends. We all worked together in the Council's typing pool as teenagers, apart from one, older, woman who is an infiltrator to our little group. She never worked in the typing pool with us, although she did work in the same building, but somehow wheedled her way in about twenty years ago and sort of took over. We are all aged between 50 and 55 now and B is approaching 70. As teenagers we all found her slightly scary and to be honest she was a bit of a dragon to us scatty young girls who were too scared to answer back.

Believe me, my oldest friends are all lovely women. We've been through marriage, divorce, children, bereavement and just about anything that life can throw at us together. We're not bosom buddies but we're always there for each other. Sometimes we don't see each other between our quarterly nights out.

Last night we went to the Thornhill Arms in Rushton, a delightful little village pub nestled in the heart of England. There were only six of us - a bit depleted because three others couldn't make it.

I wanted so much to share my experiences in London on Wednesday with my oldest friends. I'd made my mind up that I was going to tell them about Twisted Garlands, Jane's inspirational book and how I'd always loved writing.

B started off the evening, when H and I picked her up, by starting to talk about one of the others, who has been having a bit of a hard time lately. This I could have coped with - if it had been just two friends showing concern for another - but it wasn't. It could easily have turned into a bitching/slagging session and it made me feel uncomfortable all the way to L's house and H, who was driving, never uttered a single word all the way there. I was relieved when L got in the car.

It was a long, long night. Small talk about the weather; Florida and the Everglades; what was the difference between alligators and crocodiles; MBE's; which was the cheapest - Tescos or Morrisons; hairstyles; dogs and cats; the pros and cons of fake tans; air travel and check-in desks and America. All these conversations were cut short by B, changing the subject. C and J then started up a conversation between themselves, which I had half an ear on (it sounded fascinating and I'd have loved to have listened and joined in). L and H then started to talk to each other and I ended up talking to B, or rather B talked to me and I nodded, tutted, shook my head and made sympathetic noises now and then.

B went out to the loo. We all fell silent. J said "I've got something to tell you all, but well ......" her voice tailed off as she shrugged and raised her eyebrows.

I said "So have I but ..."

We all just looked at each other and H said, "Perhaps we ought to meet in town one lunchtime so we can have a chat."

Isn't life complicated sometimes?


Debs said...

You're not kidding, life and people can be so complicated at times. It's such a shame that you were looking foward to a fun evening and that you didnt get the chance to talk about your London trip or Twisted Garlands. Thank heavens we in Blogland have each other to chat to about writing.

motherx said...

Yes, people can be strange. Its a real shame you did not enjoy yourself as much as you did on wed! Ive had things like that happen in the past and Ive gone home really annoyed and thought "Why did I bother?" If its any consulation, I felt like you were an old friend and I loved talking with you!!!

motherx said...

Oh forgot to tell you, showed your pic to my sister and she said you do NOT look your age! thought you were in your late 30s! Thought I must tell you as its always nice to get a little compliment.xx

HelenMH said...

Life is soooo complicated. I seem to spend half my time trying to speak to people I want to speak to (who can be very elusive) and avoiding people I don't want to speak to who seem to be there every time I turn around!

Lane said...

Such a shame Annie and it only takes one person to completely upset the balance. I hope you can tell them your news soon and lunch together sounds the best option. Life certainly is complicated:-(


It's tricky isn't it? I suppose people can grow apart without meaning to, and sometimes even a bit of shared history isn't enough. Maybe next time will be easier :o)

Annieye said...

Debs: I've since spoken to two of my friends and it's a bit of a conundrum. C and I are going out for lunch tomorrow so I might tell her then.

Mother X: Tell your sister that the picture is lying. I was chuffed to bits that people don't think I look my age. Apparently no-one really felt the night was as good as nights we have enjoyed in the past - perhaps it was because three of us were missing.

Helen: I laughed at your comment. I'm always trying to avoid people - mostly my mother-in-law!

Lane: None of us would want to upset B. She is a widow (although a very merry one).

Karen: As teenagers working together we have a lot of shared history as you can imagine. Actually - three of us still work there, but in different departments now - that's how come C and I are going out tomorrow.