I bought a plane ticket to Clarksburg, West Virginia today. Full disclosure, prior to today, I did not know Clarksburg, West Virginia existed. I know nothing about the town, other than that on Friday it will unfortunately have me as its loudly dressed tourist. And I have no plans once I get there save for one.
Meeting up with one of my oldest friends from childhood.
How this all came about was almost mystical in origin. My friend, who lives in Ohio, told me, who lives in Boston, that we should get together sometime soon. But then, unlike every other time we’ve said this exact same thing over the past decade, we actually picked dates. And a location. And arranged childcare. And booked a cabin. And she told work she was leaving early next week. And I bought a plane ticket.
If this all sounds obvious and not the least bit magical to you, hey, congratulations on being a fully functional and socialized adult!
For the rest of us, you understand that what we did was some kind of friendship wizardry.
See, people like me are always saying things like how we want to get together. Soon! But then, the second the words leave our mouths, even while those words are still hovering in the air over our heads, we are already mentally making excuses about how we can’t make it. Which is totally ok because the other person is likely doing the exact same thing.
“We should get together sometime soon!”
“Yes! Absolutely! Although I probably can’t make it.”
“You mean to the thing we haven’t even planned yet? Yeah. Me neither. I’m going to come down with a cold.”
“Oh, no worries. I’m thinking I’m going to be working late and then, just as a backup, my dog is going to eat a small amount of chocolate and I really should stay home and monitor him.”
“Sounds totally plausible. I look forward to having this exact same conversation in eight months.”
I don’t know why I do this. Even for an extrovert such as myself, plans always seem like a good idea at the time (at the time usually meaning after consuming large quantities of alcohol) but when it comes time to actually do said plans, I start to dread it. Like, wait, I have to leave my HOUSE? Away from my cozy cocoon of blankets and carbohydrates? And interact with people? Why would someone ask me to do this? I thought these people were my friends. Why are they making me socialize with them?
Of course, when I do drag myself out, I always have a fantastic time. I remember why I’m friends with these wonderful people. I remember I am a social animal. And I vow to start socializing more. A vow I then promptly forget, turning back into my Gollum personality usually within 24 hours.
“Peoplsies are dumb.”
*caresses TV remote and recently delivered burrito*
And it’s so easy to think of reasons not to go see your friends…
I’m so tired.
I’m so busy.
It’s been a rough week.
There’s a 10 percent chance of rain.
The new episode of “Castle Rock” is out.
I spilled ketchup on my shirt, clearly I’m in no shape to go out.
I sneezed four hours ago. I don’t want to get anyone sick.
I’m pretty sure my friends don’t even like me even though they have consistently proven otherwise.
We’ll just get together next week. Or month. Before 2025 for sure.
But this time, after both of us talking about how we feel like we are drowning in a toxic whirlpool of motherhood and responsibility and anxiety, it hit me. Friendship is a lifeboat against all those things. So why do I waste so much energy coming up with ways to avoid it? Why do I work so hard to convince myself I should stay home and clean instead? (Especially since, let’s be honest, I’m not actually going to clean).
So I bought a plane ticket to Clarksburg, West Virginia. And I will be getting together with my friend very soon. Not because we should. But because we need to.