Monday, September 23, 2013

Friends are like fine wine...

Last month, my dear Brenda Starr turned the big 5-0. Last week, another oldie but goodie, Betty, hit the same milestone.  “As I told Betty, I can’t believe I’ve known you for almost 40 years.” I can’t believe these amazing people have been in my life that long with no legal reason to do so.

It’s funny to watch friends age – funny in that way that I’m laughing with them and not at them. At least most of the time.  For Brenda Starr and me, our kids are close in age and we’re going through many of the same things as parents. But for Betty, well, she and her hubby, Strummer, are empty-nesters. I watched them marry, become parents and move through those milestones with awe as I was barely able to care for myself.  I see their girls as young adults – bright, beautiful and walking their own paths and realize that when Mini-me is that age, she may need to push me in a wheelchair down that same road.

Years ago, we would talk about going out, drinking too much and hooking up.  Now, we talk about staying home, the ability to finish one drink (or three) without yelling at a single child or getting too tired and complain about being nagged for sex, not enough time for sex or the complete lack of sex.  Back then “hot” meant sexy, now it’s about having your own personal summer and “Shit, can we turn the AC up in this place?”

Betty and I talked about lucky we are. Not just because we’re healthy, happy and have great family and friends. We’re so fucking lucky we survived – and we were good kids yet we managed to find our own brand of trouble. We wholeheartedly admit we would kill our kids for doing what we did and it’s totally a case of, “do as I say, not as I did.” We still have secrets and we still laugh our asses off about them, swearing we will never tell. Then we complain about hot flashes, aching bones and worry about aging parents.

Brenda Starr and I joke about the fact our parents let us go to Georgetown every Saturday night until 3 a.m. – with nary a worry or thought. What the fuck is open in Georgetown on Saturday nights? Bars are open, people, bars. Bars with boys and OCS candidates from across the river. Her parent’s naivete, my total lack of supervision and guaranteed access to a car made for great opportunities for teenage mischief and we took total advantage. The mornings after we would be exhausted and hungover and talk about the boys we met (For the record, she met great guys who were shipping off in the service and would send her lovely letters and trinkets while I met guys looking for a final – uh – fling before shipping out). Today, we talk about our constant state of exhaustion not from partying too hard or too late but from work, parental worries or insomnia.  How far we’ve come.

Recently, Runner and I were talking. She mentioned some minor ailments, I commiserated. We trade recipes, kid updates, belly issues and moan about the high grocery prices for Passover or Jewish holiday food. Seriously, I remember when our conversations were about cheap vodka, trying to get into Hammerjacks and if we had enough to order from Sorrento’s and get free delivery.

It’s no secret that Neiman and I talk about everything under the sun. I’ve talked about how we bonded over a road trip – well, she was wildly hungover on that trip. I may have been – sadly, I can’t remember. We were often hungover and making a Taco Bell run while we dissected the previous night – war stories from assorted bars and parties.  Sometimes, you sought out that “hair of the dog” remedy. Those days when we stopped in to visit Sporty when she was tending bar – just to say hello before we went ice skating and ended up staying all day – where Bloody Mary’s turned to beer and then who knows what? Yeah, now we like a glass of wine with carry out Chinese, a good movie from On Demand and to be in bed by nine. What’s worse? We consider that a fucking awesome evening.

Even Geek, who I met as a parent – our talks have gone from babies, toddlers, park playdates and preschool, to breast cysts, insomnia and random body hairs.

My old friend Biff recently posted one of those silly cards on Facebook   It said, “OMG, people now in college were born in 1995.”  I liked it; I laughed. Then I realized it has been 31 years since Biff and I met as freshman. Clearly, the joke is on us.

My old friends and I have shared so much – the good, the bad and the ugly. We’ve gone from
kids – literally and figuratively to adults who may simply act like children. Aging is just one more thing that holds us together, one more thing for us to share, support, complain and laugh about.  I’m so glad I’m not alone in this aging business. I know I’ll be there for my friends – I’ll keep them company at the colonoscopy appointment, sympathize over the annual boob squeezing, commiserate over the new aches and pains and shake my head at what those young kids are doing today.  I will relish in the perks of adulthood - knowing that I always have wine (okay, vodka and tequila, too) in my house, there is decent food in the fridge, the phone within reach and Advil in the cabinet.  I count on their company, their laughter and most importantly, for one of them to wield the tweezers for stray hairs.

We may be getting older but sometimes – we may refuse to grow up.