i woke up thinking–i cannot leave her behind. miss x was crying when i left her.
“i feel like i made and lost a friend in the past couple hours!”
“no, you haven’t,” i said. “you made a friend on facebook and you still have a friend.”
she wasn’t convinced when i pulled out of the driveway. she sat on the porch bench, crying. i felt awful. i was tired, i was scared, i was driving so many hours. i had so many more to go.
miss x is the 331st facebook friend i have visited since my 2011 new year’s resolution. at that time, i had 325 facebook friends and i resolved to meet and spend time with each one during the course of the year. i mean, who are all these people in my little solar system of mark zuckerberg’s virtual universe?
but as the year progressed and in this year 2012, i have been meeting newer friends. miss x had seen a bit of news about me, had friendshipped me, and we’d been corresponding. she thought she was inviting me to louisville, kentucky to give me an opportunity to test out my fearlessness against agoraphobia. instead, we faced an interesting problem: she drinks. a lot. much more than i do. when i showed up at her doorstep at one thirty, vodka had been two glasses ahead of me.
we all find ways to quell the pain. whether it’s prescriptions, meth, alcohol, video games, hoarding or the carbo load of a dozen doughnuts in front of the television set, we do it. we have to. times are particularly tough right now. miss x lost her job fourteen months ago and has pretty much given up on getting another for the moment.
the breckenridge inn of louisville, kentucky had generously booked my room next to the “can’t sleep without the television on, argue at two a.m., have makeup sex at four” couple. i so got to appreciate the room decor.
was it a good idea to go back? to meet miss x again? but i was haunted by the crying galpal. and by something she had said.
“i started drinking because i thought i was too boring when i’d be with people, you know, at parties and such.”
i was thinking “that’s me”
i have often felt like a wallflower who can only manage with a glass of white wine. and then i can talk with people. and then another glass of white wine. and i can sit still through dinner parties. and another white wine. i can be funny or witty or amusing. one more white wine. and i’m smushy in my thinking and scattered in my speech. but i don’t notice by then because i have white wine saying “it’s all good.”
i messaged miss x at six a.m. total long shot. if she was up, i would return to her house. we’d go for a walk. i wanted this facebook friend visit to end well. she had drank and fallen asleep and had awakened early. i was packing up for the next facebook friend adventure.
i checked out, went to her house. and that’s when i really met my friend. the day before, i had met alcohol smothering my friend.
the facebook friend who opened the door, the three hundred and thirty first friend i have recorded about since i made that resolution, is bright and funny and witty and engaged in the world. she looks sort of like lana turner or maybe jennifer coolidge. she has a gift for seeing beauty and translating it into home decorating. she has an empathy with cats and although one of her own is dying, she has a sense of humor.
we walked and we shared a morning ritual. it is how i pray these days, having figured out that rosaries and om’s sometimes seem hollow for me. we exchanged lists of ten things we are grateful for. i was grateful for coffee that morning. she was grateful for her husband and mother who are both loving. we were able to exchange gratefuls for each other.
there are many days in which coffee has made my list.
we said goodbye. well, goodbye sounds more final than what it was. we hugged and kissed and i will see her again. and i’ll even take up the offer of the manager of the breckenridge inn for a free upgrade because of the couple next door. really, i should just remember that maybe the couple was celebrating and happy and . . . well, actually, i know they were pretty happy at four a.m. roughly thirty seconds apart from each other.
i strike north for bloomington. i thought i would be aiming for tennessee but my friend in cookeville has distractions. i drive. i meet my facebook friends. i ask for their friendship to be in person. mark zuckerberg introduces but there’s nothing better than right there, right now.