The Jazz were in town tonight to play the New York Knicks. I once again managed to get two of my firm's tickets and invited a friend to go with me. The Knicks are terrible and their coach is a misogynistic racist ass (who even after judgment can't admit to sexual harrassment) and I am still happy Karl Malone elbowed him in 1991 inspiring the nickname you won't find in that wikipedia link but I use to this day - Cry-siah (not sure who coined it but I attribute it to a high school friend of mine). He has barely been hanging on as a coach and I was really hoping the Jazz could blow through town and beat them by 30 points or so putting the nail in the coffin of his career as the Knick's terrible coach. Instead, I had to endure a sloppy, poorly played game where the Jazz trailed from early in the 1st quarter until they threw away any chance at victory in the final seconds. It was tragic. Especially after I was such a know-it-all loud-mouth and was literally quizzed with random questions about the Jazz by the guys sitting behind us (and yes, I answered all their questions because I'm nerdy like that). So the only photo I took was this one - right before the opening tip-off.
My friend and I were sad that we once again went to a game with killer seats and didn't get a photo of us there. Next time, right?
Now, let me tell you about the real losers because my title isn't actually referencing the Jazz. I blame the loss partly on yesterday's tough and physical game against the Pistons. I won't hold a grudge. No, the losers I'm referencing are a group of people who occasionally masquerade as my friends.
As my friend and I were about to walk into Madison Square Garden we ran into a few people I know from my old singles ward. We chatted briefly before the game and went in, forgetting about them. Before half time I sent one of the girls a text message and asked where they were sitting. We trudged high up into the rafters to see all 25 of them chillin' out and chatting. Here is what makes me upset. Among this group are people I consider my friends. People who complain that we never hang out anymore, people who never call me, never email me but feign excitement when we do see each other and complain about how long it has been since we last hung out. And these same people keep asking me when my dessert party is this year and pestered me about having a party on my roof all summer.
My mother always tries to tell me that people aren't trying to leave me out, they just aren't organizers like I am. Well, someone had to organize a group of 25 tickets to a Knicks game and that someone had no way of knowing I would get tickets from work. I make no secret of my sports fanaticism. So what disappoints me is that no one thought to forward the email to me when tickets were being purchased. Several of the people there were among those I invited to the Yankees game this past summer and a couple of the girls I considered among my closer friends.
This is what I dislike about the Mormon singles scene so much - the selfishness. Because what else can it be? I guess I can take it truly personally and conclude they really just don't like me but I don't think that is what it is (but maybe I'm delusional!). I think girls just outnumber the boys at all church related events and activities so they don't want to invite one more girl for fear of knocking the odds out of balance. Girls cling to their roommates and the other girls who they deem as safe and easy to sustain friendships with. I don't go to their ward anymore. I don't live close to them. I don't see them on a regular basis. Therefore, out of sight, out of mind, no need to add another girl to the mix.
It is difficult for me to make deep and meaningful friendships these days because most people can't be bothered to step out of their own self-interest long enough to care about someone else unless it gets them something. As long as I am hosting parties I add value, but this summer I chose not to be the social coordinator for people who I knew had no real interest in hanging out with me, so I fell off their radar and off their email lists.
I would say this makes me sad but the truth is it doesn't. I never felt any deep abiding affection for any of them. I have tried but my friendship antennae always warned me there wasn't depth to be found there.
What does make me sad is how difficult it is to find deep and enduring friendships as an adult. I have moved through several generations of truly amazing men and women and experienced (and continue to experience) friendships that have truly enriched my life and taught me so much about love and forgiveness and laughter and silliness and heart-ache and joy. As each set of friends steps forward and into the marriage stage, then the children stage, it takes more and more work to keep us linked. It is difficult to watch our friendship fade in priority even as I rejoice in the happiness they each find as their lives are enriched by spouses and children.
But it is difficult to replace these friendships and I miss having girlfriends. Not that I don't have girlfriends now. I have friends with husbands, friends with boyfriends, friends with careers, friends with kids, friends with responsibilities, friends who live far away, friends with whom I am not truly in sync. As a result, I miss having girlfriends because now when I see my friends we have brunch or dinner or maybe we go shopping. We rarely just hang out or roadtrip or have movie marathons or stay up late talking or create inside jokes or eat too many cookies. Instead we are left clinging to the distant memories when we had the freedom to sit around giggling about boys or that time we dressed up and went to McDonalds or that crazy party she dragged me to or the concerts we attended or that ridiculous boy I liked or the makeovers we gave each other or the time we went to 5 different 7-elevens to find the perfect slurpee. I don't have a best friend. I have many wonderful friends I will describe as "one of my best friends" but no one I see consistently or even talk to or email on a regular basis.
That is what makes me sad.
I manage to fill free weekends pretty readily with brunch plans with various friends (but only after I make plans, I rarely get unsolicited invitations) but as good as brunch is and as much as I enjoy it, it is very rare to later look back and exclaim "and remember that time we had brunch at Norma's?" and laugh. At best one might look back and say "remember when we had brunch at that place in the Village I liked so well? What was the name of that place?" The end. Lately I feel as if I have stopped making memories. Not lately exactly, for a while. I realize this isn't entirely true, it just feels that way. I feel stuck in a loner cycle and I don't have a lot of incentive to work my way out of it because even though I feel like I am in the same place friendship-wise I was two years ago, I enjoy myself. And tonight having such a pronounced illustration of how I am being left out brought this distant ache to the forefront.
Of course, on the positive side, I was at my second Jazz game with a new-ish friend. We were making real memories (not just brunch memories!) as she flirted with all the guys sitting around us and I rattled off nerdy Jazz stats. She felt similarly slighted by the persistent omission of her name from group email lists as well which ultimately deepens our tie and resulted in a promise to see a movie together later in the week. And in just over a week I have a blogger friend coming to town for a real life visit which will most assuredly result in loads of fun memories. So I guess new friendships are possible over 30 and I need to remember to cherish those precious few who drift into my life and enjoy what they have to offer and give at least as much as I receive and supress the urge to spitefully omit certain names from my dessert party evite.
If nothing else the one thing I have learned from disappointing friendships, friends who have used me and friends who neglected and abandoned me it is this: to rise about it. I live my own life and I live it well, that is the best way to recover. There is a reason I am guarded because this disappointing little blip barely registers in the grand scheme and tomorrow I will forget the sting and instead be reminded of all the beautiful people in this world who I am lucky enough to count as my friends and I will be comforted in the thought that they feel lucky and comforted in counting me among their close friends as well.