No one is neutral about her. She makes me smile when others cringe. Growing up with Daddooooo inured me to the fall out of expressing one's feelings at great volume, in public. I know the words are not meant to defame or demean or diminish. They are certainly not designed to exact the desired result, which is a good thing, because they rarely succeed. They are honest expressions of her feelings at the time; there's no boundary between her brain and her mouth when she feels she's been wronged. She feels that way a lot.
I finally convinced her to make a plane reservation and spend a few days in Tucson. She was nervous but said WTF (she says that a lot) and came to spend the weekend. She's been gone twelve hours; I miss her.
There's an intensity to her that is missing from everyone else I know. The first night she was here, my legs were jittering up and down, my foot rubbing against my newly sensate thigh, my toes flexing and arching to stretch my tendons and try, somehow to calm down. Finding someone who is more hyper than I am is always a treat; I feel so calm beside her. The downside of the equation is that it's very hard to turn it all off.
She's a Play Group Mom, so much of the weekend was spent kvelling about our children. Kvelling is what you do when you are so proud that your heart is bursting; from the outside it probably would be called bragging. But, we watched our kids grow up, together, for the last twenty-nine years and six months. That's a of body knowledge that cannot be replicated.
We gave one another advice, we give one another advice, and our friendship was deep enough that we could argue or agree with impunity. We have been laughing at one another's foibles for three decades. We exhaust one another. We also respect the other's space. Naps were taken. I swam laps for an hour. We'd both been brought up with the same admonition: Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days. Neither of us wanted to disappoint the other; it didn't take very long to fall into an easy rhythm.
She's a very easy guest. She insisted on paying for most of the meals, and I smiled and said "Yes." There were so many more interesting topics over which we could squabble. It feels like New York; it's really Chicago. It's purposeful and judgmental and over the top and I love it.
For three days.
We drove to new housing developments because she's a real estate agent and she was interested. It didn't take her long to discover that she was not going to move to a neighborhood like that. She'd feel too alone. Up until that moment, I had no idea that she was considering relocating to my town.
Looking at houses wasn't merely a way to pass the time. It was more than comparison pricing and had little to do with the quality of the construction of the models we toured. It was putting herself in the situation, trying it on for size.
No wonder the world disappoints her so often.
Tucson didn't fit. She needed more traffic lights. I moved here to get away from traffic lights.
Driving to the airport for the early flight this morning, she reassured me that "Tucson will become a metropolis." She didn't want me to worry. She was assuming that I was embarrassed by the small town nature of my town. I talked about dysfunctional local government as I smiled to myself.
I think Chicago is the best city in America today, but Tucson is a town and I love it that way. It's a college town and a cowboy town and I love every funky, barely traveled road. I love the saguaros and the Santa Catalinas and I showed them all to her. She acknowledged their beauty as she reminded herself that she wasn't going to live here.
That's okay. I'll go to Chicago and visit her. I'll wonder aloud how she can stand fighting for parking. I'll complain about the humidity. I'll gasp at the tax rate and the fee at the formerly free museums.
And I'll leave in three days.