Old Friends, New Friends, Red Friends, Blue Friends

Posted: June 14th, 2006 | Author: | Filed under: Friends and Strangers, Husbandry | 1 Comment »

A couple July 4ths ago Mark and I were walking past my first grade teacher’s house, and one of her daughters (who was a friend of my sister’s back in the day), drunkenly spotted us from their front porch and dragged us to their backyard BBQ to be introduced to legions of similarly boozed-up folk. My former teacher, Mrs. Parella, was looking terribly old and frail. So after all the nice-to-meet-yous, I sat next to her and in a wave of nostalgia told her I remembered a song she’d taught me back in first grade. It goes, “Make new friends but keep the o-old, one is silver and the other gold.” After singing it to her she looked at me like I was mad and said, “I taught you no such song!” Well, I think the old gal is getting a bit soft in the memory department. Despite her haughty dismissal of my fond memory, I hold fast to the notion that I learned the ditty in her classroom.

At any rate, as it turns out Mark and I are taking resumes for new friends. Which isn’t to say that we’re tossing our current ones asunder. (See “one silver/other gold” lyrics above.) It’s just that A) many of our friends—especially those who Mark brought to our relationship—have left SF, 2) we moved to Oakland, and C) we’ve got the kid now. So, in light of geographical changes and new interests, we’ve got some openings.

A few months ago Mark was in a funk about it. I think it was the Super Bowl, and there was no one around for him to watch with. As he sees it (and of course I’m over-simplifying it), he has his five good friends, damn it, and he doesn’t need other ones—he just needs them all to move back near us. Eternal optimist that I am, I see the sitch as an opportunity to get out there and flex my extroversion. But I’m also the one who likes looking for a job. I guess I’m always convinced there’s something (or in this case someone) great out there.

Though some friends are no longer in our backyard, they are within striking distance. On Friday we ventured to Sacramento for the night to stay with the beloved Mullin clan. I worked with Dave a few gigs ago, and he’s a super good egg. We shared an office, so he’s heard me make appointments for bikini waxes, flirt with Mark on the phone early in our relationship, and have any number of difficult, frustrating and/or weird conversations with clients, bosses, and subordinates. He was also the first to point out that I make a quiet humming sound when I’m typing and really focused. (It’s something Mark has also noticed, but it’s strangely inaudible to me. For all I know, I’m doing it right now.)

When the ship was sinking at our old agency and there was a scramble for volunteers to fill the lifeboats (with nice fat severance packages), Dave signed up. I was crushed when he left. He and Scott, the head of Creative, practically clicked their heels, linked arms, and skipped out of the office that day. It was no doubt my saddest work day. My two closest cronies and allies were giddily ditching a once-great workplace for greener pastures, leaving me to manage the team and to attempt (impossibly) to rectify rock-bottom morale. It sucked.

Dave’s next endeavor was as Mr. Mom. His wife was wrapping up her OB residency and they couldn’t bear putting their newborn in daycare. These days, residency is just a memory in one of Deanna’s scrapbooks. They’re now the owners of an immense fabulous house, take jealous-making annual vacations, and are living quite an appealing suburban dream.

When we’d seen them last I was pregnant, so this time we were able to swap tales of parenthood. We’ve had a lot of fun with Dave and Deanna in our kid-less days, but now that we’ve treaded some of the same path they’ve been on for eight years, it’s fun comparing notes. And those two are rock-star parents, so when they talk, I take notes. They should teach weekend seminars on how to raise sweet, polite kids.

And then there’s their dirty little secret—which actually isn’t a secret at all—which is that Dave’s a (gasp!) Republican. The horror! And yet we still like him! In fact, whenever we see them, I wonder why we don’t see them more.

Saturday night, Mark’s new work friend, Scott, and his wife, Courtney, came over for dinner. Mark likes Scott enough to willingly make back-to-back social plans on a weekend. This cuts into Mark’s time doing nothing, which he cherishes. So, a few hours after returning home from our night away in Sac (as I like to call it), Mark whipped up a delicious dinner and we were showing off Kate, opening more wine, discussing the merits of stinky cheese, and getting to know some new folk.

Scott and Courtney are life-long Texans who pulled up roots in Austin for Scott’s cool new job in SF. In the Lone Star State they had a fab house with a pool, more friends than you could shake a stick at (my Dad’s odd expression), great jobs, and family. Now they’re experiencing the foggy version of an SF summer, trying to find grocery stores that sell the kind of food they like, and carving their way into new social circles. Based on one evening of interaction I sure hope that they plan to stay a while in these parts. What a great couple! And not one of those “I like her so I’ll put up with him” duos. They both appear to rock. It was so easy to talk to them—they’re funny and smart and like stupid movies, and even claim to have a cute dog named Maggie (though that might put them over the edge for being *too* perfect).

As they were leaving they offered to reciprocate with dinner at their house some day, and Courtney and I determined we should get lunch at the Ferry Building on one of my Kate-less Thursdays. She’s going to take a crack at showing me the gastronomic virtues of oysters.

But what made me super happy about the whole evening was despite the mantle of people-aversion Mark likes to pretend that he’s cloaked in, he’s been doing a bang-up job of making new friends lately. He’s been responsible for getting us invited to a few lovely dinners that have caused us to say before turning off our night-stand lights, “That was really fun. Those guys seem cool. We should get together with them again.” Then we smooch and go to sleep.

1 Comment »

One Comment on “Old Friends, New Friends, Red Friends, Blue Friends”

  1. 1 Lori said at 4:03 pm on June 14th, 2006:

    your first grade teacher may have taught it to you, but it is also the Girl Scout song.
    Full lyrics attached for your amusement.

    Make New Friends

    Make new friends,
    but keep the old.
    One is silver,
    the other is gold.
    A circle is round,
    it has no end.
    That’s how long,
    I will be your friend.

    A fire burns bright,
    it warms the heart.
    We’ve been friends,
    from the very start.

    You have one hand,
    I have the other.
    Put them together,
    We have each other.

    Silver is precious,
    Gold is too.
    I am precious,
    and so are you.

    You help me,
    and I’ll help you
    and together
    we will see it through.

    The sky is blue
    The Earth is green
    I can help
    to keep it clean

    Across the land
    Across the sea
    Friends forever
    We will always be

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