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FRIENDSHIP

by Rose Madeline Mula

Sally and I are great friends, though its hard to understand why. We have so little in common.

Sally is happiest when shes behind the wheel of her car. Her idea of a good time is a long ride, which is my idea of torture.

Lets go to lunch, shell say.

Why not? Sounds good to me. Next thing I know were heading to a mountain-top inn 120 miles from home. I was thinking more in terms of that new sandwich shop on the next block.

She loves to listen to music while driving oldies, new age whatever. Talk radio is my choice (except for commentators who dont share my political views!).

And guess who else disagrees with my politics? Thats right. Sally.

I hate to shop. She loves it. She swears she doesnt, but a Sale or Outlets sign draws her car like a magnet.

I enjoy almost all movies and the theater indiscriminately. Sally doesnt. I think I know why. She cant abide sitting in one spot for a couple of hours time that could be spent aimlessly driving somewhere.

Having grown up with two brothers, Sally is a sports fan. She loves to watch baseball, football, hockey, basketball, track, NASCAR racing anything but figure skating. Can you guess which is the only sport I (a sibling-deprived child) enjoy watching? Yep, I love those spins jumps axles lutzes salchows I cant tell one from the other, but I find them all mesmerizing.

When Sally watches sports or anything on TV, she constantly surfs from channel to channel. Drives me crazy! Pick a show and keep it there, for heavens sake! I have to take a Dramamine before watching television at her house.

We do both enjoy travel and have taken many trips together. I prefer a fixed itinerary. Not Sally, of course. She abhors being tied to a particular schedule. And while I much prefer to fly to a destination more than a few hundred miles away, Sally would rather drive again, the schedule phobia, and also because her car has a huge trunk which she can pack with every article of clothing she has owned since college and still have room for all the treasures shell buy along the way. Im happier with having to keep track of only what will fit in one small suitcase; and since theres no room to spare (and since Im basically a tightwad), Im better able to resist any impulsive purchases that I know Ill regret when I return home.

Unlike most of our other friends, Sally and I do have a love of gadgets in common especially electronic thing-a-ma-jigs. Weve both had computers since floppy disks actually were floppy (remember those?) and can spend hours on the phone trying to help each other when we cant figure out how to make our PCs do what we want them to.

Sally is far more selfless than I. She constantly rushes to help whichever friend within a thousand-mile radius has broken an ankle, sprained a back, or come down with the flu even if she hasnt yet had her own flu shot. Me, Im a hypochondriac (and probably basically lazy); I stay away.

And she always finds the flimsiest excuses to shower people with lavish, numerous gifts. (Me? See tightwad reference above.)

I sold my house several years ago and bought a condo, the eighth move of my life. I could not be bothered with all those home maintenance responsibilities, either doing them myself or finding someone to take care of them mowing the lawn, trimming the shrubs, weeding the garden, painting the shutters, repairing the roof, repaving the driveway, fixing the dripping faucets, shoveling snow off the walk the list was endless and daunting. Sally, however, who was born in the house where she still lives and has no intention of moving in the foreseeable future, thrives on what I consider all that drudgery. Though how she finds the time, I cant imagine since shes still working part-time. Is it any surprise to learn that I couldnt wait to retire?

Sally is a very private person, whereas I am apt to blab every detail of my life and maybe yours. Well, not really. At least Id like to think Id keep your secrets. But with Sally, theres no doubt whatsoever. If you tell her something in confidence, even the threat of hanging wouldnt get her to reveal it.

Despite her many admirable attributes, she does have a flaw or two, one of which is her chronic tardiness. Its not that she doesnt leave her house in time for any appointments. Its just that she always seems to have errands to run on the way. She has to go to the bank, the grocery store, the dry cleaner, the drug store and she never seems to calculate how much time these detours will eat up. I must say, though, shes been getting much better about this lately which is very disconcerting. Because I always assume shell be late, I take my time; and Sally ends up waiting for me.

We do share the same basic values and the same religion (though Im much more critical of it than she is). Sally truly is a beautiful person (unlike the beautiful people who bug me), and I believe that associating with her has made me a finer human being. What better qualification for friendship can there be?

By the way, Sally isn’t her real name. She’d be very embarrassed if I revealed her identity. (See — I can keep a secret!)

©2009 Rose Mula for SeniorWomen.com

Editor's Note: Rose Mula's most recent book, The Beautiful People and Other Aggravations, is now available at your favorite bookstore, through Amazon.com and other online bookstores, and through Pelican Publishing (800-843-1724), as is her previous book, If These Are Laugh Lines, I'm Having Way Too Much Fun.

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