Thursday, April 17, 2014

In concert

You have this great friend.

She’s quirky and artsy and complicated and different from you. You love her.

She has a boyfriend who you love too because he’s not like her but he really gets her and makes her happy.

Then they get married and move away. You lose touch for many, many years.

You think about them occasionally, especially when you hear certain songs from the ‘80s.
The social network happens and you reconnect with them.

They were in bigger, better city, but now they live close by.

They still like you. You haven't done anything over the years to piss them off.

Your laughter together still sounds the same.

You remember she was a great cook and they invite you over for an amazing meal. And in the background they are playing all the music you love. Music that happened AFTER they went away. You realize you both love The Pixies. The National. Nick Cave.

You discover he has become a cocktail aficionado with a collection of bitters. Over exotic drinks with names like The Sanchez and Hemingway on the Beach, you catch up.

You make plans to see some shows.

And your musical heart soars. You now have OLD friends who like the same NEW music as you.

He follows through. He gets tickets to The Pixies. He gets tickets to The National.

The show date arrives.

Your divergent paths have led you to this very same moment together. In a glorious old theater, in plush balcony seats, drink in hand, next to two of your oldest and dearest friends, the lights go down, the crowd starts to whistle and cheer, the band takes the stage. And though you can't hear it over the beautiful rock n' roll din, you can feel your heart beat in tandem with theirs.

Lucky you.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Five things to say to a friend whose job sucks

Recently a good friend of mine sent me one of those ubiquitous "Top 5 Reasons" stories. It was something to the effect of "Top 5 Ways to Know It's Time To Quit Your Job." I thought the story should be filed in the "Thank You Ron Obvious" folder. I responded that people would be better served with useful advice like "how to survive your sucky job until you can get another one" or this: 

Five things to say to a friend whose job sucks

Just because the economy is reportedly improving, doesn't mean everyone is able to immediately find new or more satisfying work. And for those with spouses, family and good friends who are disenchanted with their jobs (i.e. 99 percent of the adult population) here are five new platitudes to deliver when you are told "My job sucks so hard and I can't get out of there fast enough":

 1. "I'm sorry." Then stop. Let your friend vent. Nod occasionally or make other "yes-I'm-listening" signals and wait it out until the diatribe is over.

 2. "Man, I'm really sorry." Then stop. Let the person cry, shout expletives and defame his or her boss as a cock-sucking asshole worthy of the 11th circle of Hell.

 3. "Oh dear, I AM very sorry." Then stop. Let your loved one apologize for making you listen to his or her endless rant-a-roos about their horrendous situation. Toss in an occasional: "That IS gawd-awful. You are so better than that."

 4. "Dude, I'm extra sorry. That sucks." Then stop. Gaze into their eyes and give them that "yeah-I-get-it-but-I-still-love-you-and-lets-move-on" look.

 5. "Whoa. I didn't mean to be patronizing. I really do care. Let's go to DQ or get liquored up." Stop. Let your friend begin the litany again if necessary because you really do care and that's what friendship is all about, you bitch.

I'm happy to report these five tips actually worked. My friend was amused. (Unless he's off writing "5 Things to Say When Your Friend Is a Bitch.")