The older I get, the more I crave the company of the people who have known me longest–who knew who I was before I became who I am. Living in California means being thousands of miles away from my roots–so I love it when my roots come to me, as they did this week when my friend Carol and her husband came to visit.
I feel really blessed by the lifetime bonds I have with childhood friends. Even though I rarely see them, our shared history gives the friendships a texture and richness that’s impossible to duplicate or describe. There can be no pretense with someone who knows where you came from. I know which boys Carol had crushes on in junior high, and she knows I was responsible for a school prank that no one would have suspected since I was such a goody two-shoes.
It was a huge treat to hang out, talk from the heart, and go right to the heart of things that matter. On the last night of their visit, after a dinner filled with wine and laughs, our husbands both went off to sleep. Since Carol and I are both night owls, we settled down on the couch for our last face-to-face girl talk.
We barely scratched the surface of whether or not we should cave in and have plastic surgery—when we were rudely interrupted by an univited guest. She managed to intrude on our conversation and our mood and the precious time I had left with Carol. It was you-know-who. Settling down for her own little chat–on TV. The one with Charlie Gibson. It felt as if she had just plunked herself right between us on the couch. And once she injected herself into the conversation, she was impossible to ignore.
Carol and her husband left the next morning. And even though they left plenty of chocolate behind to keep me company, I still miss them. So today being Sunday, the day I often catch up with family and friends–I called my treasured friend Deborah, also from childhood. And after abbreviated updates on our lives, Sarah butted into this conversation, too. Mostly Deborah and I discussed what we could actually DO to keep Sarah from butting into our conversations for the next four years. Deborah’s spending time in her neighboring state of New Hampshire, talking to undecided voters. I can’t decide whether I want to fly to Ohio for a month and shake people by the shoulders—or buy a one-way ticket to Australia.
I felt pretty discouraged when Deborah and I hung up. As another friend put it,”Too much of Sarah is sucking the joy out of everyday life.” She’s turned the election upside down, monopolizes the media, distracts from the issues, and now she’s intruding into the inner sanctum–the safe and secure zone established between me and my girlfriends. Suddenly she’s part of a secret society no one invited her to join.
So I decided to blackball her from my sorority. I swore off Sarah, promising to finish out this day without reading a single thing about her or allowing her name to escape my lips.
And when Judy called, I knew I’d be safe. Judy is my first friend from my earliest days in California. Politics has never been part of our relationship, and I was sure the conversation would cover completely safe territory. Because Judy’s life at the moment has plenty of drama. She has not one, but TWO daughters who are about to deliver babies, and Judy left a message earlier that one of them is already dilated. One daughter is in New York; one is in Los Angeles. One is having a girl; one is having a boy. Just the topic of the potential names for her grandchildren could easily have occupied us for a half hour.
After the headlines, telling me the name of her about-to-be-born granddaughter took approximately .005 of a second–and we never even got to the name of her soon-to-be grandson, and Judy was ready to move on….to Alaska.
And I gave up. After I hung up with Judy I read every word about Sarah in the New York Times; and every email that was waiting for me; and way too many blogs about her, even the really snarky ones; and even started writing another one, about how we should forget about Sarah and instead just vote for Tina Fey.
Yes, we’re all sick of Sarah. Her superstar status is bad for the Democrats and bad for the country. Because we need to move on to the issues. And though I couldn’t make it through a day without talking about her, I sure hope Barack Obama has more success than I did.