I’ve gone Joey.
Meet my dear friends Mill Valley Mama (MVM) and Her Baby Daddy (HBD). Their baby is due on Friday (I’m keeping my fingers crossed that Duck and I will share a December 2 birthday, along with Lucy Liu and Britney Spears) and today I got to spend the entire day with them which for me was a huge deal considering this could be one of the last days of their pre-parenthood to enjoy together.
MVM, HBD and Duck are collectively one of the reasons I decided I absolutely, positively have to be in SF. I love them dearly and I plan on being the greatest fake aunt the world has ever seen. But today on the way to their house I had a mild estrogen attack of crying, which, as much as I hate to admit it, came from selfishness. Allow me to explain.
I may very well be the Joey Tribiani of their lives. You know what I mean. Monica and Chandler, two of Joey’s best friends, are expecting. They buy a house more conducive to family outside the city. As excited as Joey is for them, he worries where he’ll fit in, when he’ll see them, will they still go to Knicks games together? Can Chandler still fit him in for “Baywatch” and sandwiches? Will Joey’s responsible, permanently employed friends still find time for him, unstable, unemployed actor Joey? Or is this is it, save a couple of days a year when they meet up to celebrate birthdays?
I started to think about my Joey parallel and I got really sad, a sadness not even little Dakota Fanning could console. I’ve never worried that we wouldn’t be friends anymore. But so many things can change the dynamics of a friendship, things that demand – and deserve - time and attention. Marriage. Jobs. New in-laws and families. And now, kids. I guess I just worried where I’d fit in. (See? I told you it was selfish.) I love these people. They’re like family. I miss them as it is.
But today we made brunch. We talked. We made Christmas cookies. We read the paper. We relaxed. We hung out. We did things that they probably won’t have time to do for a very long time. And I was thrilled just to be part of it.
As the day wore on, they told me stories about their fighting raccoons in the back yard and their unidentified caller on caller ID. I told them about my exciting life in the city, my job and my dating life, all of which took about 9.2 seconds total. The thing I realized is that I was secretly basking in the glow of what they thought was “boredom” and I think they were genuinely interested in my 9.2 seconds of city life.
I realized that while single people worry about how they’ll fit into married/couple/family life, married people probably worry that they’ll fall off the “call” list because their single friends think their raccoons-in—the-backyard stories aren’t enough of a draw. (Trust me, these 2 could make a 20-page legal document seem hilarious and insightful.) They worry that their kids/mortgages/college funds conversation won’t be a match for our small apartments/3:1 female to male ratio in the city/overpriced vodka tonic bitching. But in reality we’re each kind of secretly fascinated with the others’ completely different lives. And truthfully, we only talked about that stuff for about 5 minutes total. The other 9 hours we talked about the same stuff we always talked about when we were sitting around having drinks as single people. The nothingness that makes you laugh and love your friends: why Jessica and Nick didn’t work, why the 49ers can’t win to save their fricking lives, why some people think sitting in a hot tub naked with business associates is a good way to close a deal (We split on this: HBD is all for it. MVM and I, not so much).
In the end, both my selfishness and my inner Joey were soothed. But my inner Solomon came out with a vengeance. You may remember Solomon from “The Hand That Rocks the Cradle”. Slightly retarded, probably not a ton of previous kid knowledge but his love and devotion for the family was so strong that he would eventually overcome the evils of nanny Rebecca DeMornay by helping the mom knock Rebecca out the window and fall to her death on the point of a picket fence. So I’ve got that going for me. I’d gladly take down anybody that dared fuck with the happiness of my friends, their new little Duck or my God dog Josie. I’d rig a greenhouse. I’d steal an inhaler. I’d push someone on a picket fence. I’d follow behind their car on my bike-with-a-handy-basket to make sure they’d stay safe.
The next time I see them, they’ll have a baby. This still causes me to cry, but now it’s more from happiness and excitement than fear of losing my friends. Because I learned I’m on the very short call list when Baby Duck begins his/her exciting journey into the world. And they’re on my short call list for, you know, when I get free lattes, land permanent health insurance or go out on more than 3 dates with anyone.
And maybe that’s what life’s all about. Making sure you’re always on somebody’s short call list and that you have people on yours. Because without the call list, what have you really got? A bunch of Rebecca DeMornays, that’s what. And nobody wants that.