Since I moved to the city, I tend to receive a lot more phone calls of this ilk: "Hey! Are you busy? I'm in town!"
It would be nice if my friends and family would call a few days in advance to let me know they're coming, but the sad truth is that I'm usually not that busy.
Last week an old friend, Mary, called one morning, "Hey! What are you up to? I'm at the Imperial. My husband's playing in a poker tournament. I've already lost too much money. Come rescue me."
I met Mary back in 1991 when I had to move back home in Utah to try to raise more money for college. I found a job at Burger King in January, and she was hired there a few months later. We joke about it now because I was her boss for a while. This is particularly amusing because she is several years older than I am, and she had a lot more experience in fast food than I did. Neither one us was stayed at that job long anyway.
You'd never believe what bonded us: yard sales, antique stores, and crafts. Maybe it's not so unbelievable, but I've never had any other friends with these interests. The crafting part was the best because we would visit all our favorite boutiques, declare (sometimes literally--continue reading) that everything was too expensive, and then go make our own homemade crafts for a fraction of the cost. And a lot more fun! And let me tell you, when she left fast food to work for a florist, our crafting went to a whole new level.
Mary can be boisterous and she's definitely opinionated. At times it can be embarrassing, but at least with her you always know what you're getting. My first husband didn't like her, probably because he was well aware of what she thought of him. But then, don't think for a minute that just because she was a whopping one of two friends I had left after our marriage broke up (not exaggerated), that she didn't tell me, "I told you so." There are the friends who soften the blows, and then there are your friends who keep it real.
I guess in my case "keeping it real" is picking up on an old friend on a corner on Las Vegas Boulevard (also not an exaggeration) when you haven't seen her in three years. No big deal. When I couldn't find any good antiques stores open on a Monday morning, she's the kind of friend I could bring back to my half-unpacked house so we could drink iced tea and gossip like old women--like old women who saw each other just last week.
I love how time and distance make no difference with good friends.