Thursday, July 19, 2012

Waiting on a Friend

Today I am going to talk about something that I think is true for a lot of people that move to New York City, or any new city for that matter. Let's start this one out with a song.

This is the Rolling Stones' "Waiting on a Friend", and it is basically my life story right now. Here we have Mick Jagger standing in a doorway watching some ladies pass by. He's all "ooo ooo oo OO ooooo", but you know that is just code for something really heavy that's weighing on his heart. Then he starts singing and you eventually hear him repeating over and over, I'm not waiting on a lady. I'm just waiting on a friend. Then it hits you. Mick Jagger isn't waiting on a lady...he's waiting on a friend.

You and me both, Mick. I wouldn't mind if that friend was a lady, by the way. I'm not picky. I'd probably prefer it.

Let me explain. Daniel and I have been living in New York for almost two months, and we have been having a blast. We've been to museums and zoos and parks and musicals and Coney Island. We are a daily audience for an inconsistently impressive dance show on the Q train. We've eaten cupcakes, ridden on ferries, walked by historic landmarks, sighted celebrities (Clinton Kelly...I had just been watching What Not To Wear before I saw him). This place is great. Listen to Alicia Keys. She's not kidding.

But here's the thing about moving to New York that I hadn't completely realized until we actually got here: when we moved, our friends didn't move with us.

This revelation probably isn't as shocking to those who have moved before, but I don't have a lot of experience with moving, so give me a break. From the time I was born, I lived at the same address in Helotes Park Estates in the same bedroom with the same bunny light switch for nineteen years. The first time I really moved away was college, but I was still in Texas and when I got there they had something called Welcome Week where they basically assigned us lifelong friends. Thanks for the bridesmaid, Baylor bubble!

My wonderful friend Lara and I, freshman year at Baylor.
On my wedding day. The comparison seriously makes me cry. 

From there, Daniel and I got married and we moved to Austin where most of our friends were anyway. I got used to a lifestyle of going out to dinners, having occasional sleepovers, checking in on each other, having real in-depth conversations, and simply doing life with my best friends. I was spoiled.

These people spoiled me rotten.

Now we've moved to New York, a city where I know only a handful of people and none of these contacts are preexisting best friends. This situation has NEVER happened to me. And I mean for that sentence to sound as dramatic as it looks.

When I think about how I even accumulated the friends I have in my life, I realize that I have mostly made new friends with a few older ones by my side. Then I have to think about the first time in my life that I made a friend which was probably in pre-school, and that was probably the result of Tinker Toys or some other friend-inducing toy of the early 90s. Kids are awesome at making friends. 

I know I am getting ahead of myself, and I am absolutely making it look like I am totally socially inept (which I'm pretty sure isn't the case). Daniel and I only just recently joined a church and while I have a job, we haven't started taping yet, so I haven't been around any of those folks. These are very logical places to meet people, and I probably will and everything will probably be more than okay.

The problem (as always) is my expectations. I am seeking in strangers what was cultivated through years of experience with my close friends. I want discussion and honesty and accountability. I want to skip right on through the politeness and primary tension of meeting someone to true, real friendship. 

That's not how life works. I know that. I know I am being selfish in not wanting the work of starting new friendships. The truth is I have been pretty fortunate to have had such great relationships despite my propensity towards over-thinking absolutely everything. And it's not like I am looking to replace any of them. They are still there, though miles away, whenever I need a dose of thoroughly-marinated, real conversation.

Still, as Mick Jagger says:

Don't need a whore
I don't need no booze
Don't need a virgin priest
But I need someone I can cry to
I'm just waiting on a friend

My thoughts exactly, Mick. Who needs virgin priests when you've got friends?


  1. So true. I have always said that camp ruins you for making friendships. I mean, don't all your relationships start by being blindfolded, "shot at" and thrown in the back of a uhaul. And people wonder why I stink at making new friends...

    1. Ashley! This is maybe my funniest comment ever. A) So glad you can relate. B) Exactly! It's a real problem. New York should set up prayer partners for me.


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