Friday, December 30, 2011

Grin and Fake It

Day 90
In high school at our senior dinner dance, my peers named me “Friendliest” and gave me an award.  While I’d much rather have taken home “Best Legs” or “Best Smile”, I was happy and proud that my classmates thought that I was kind. 

Today, I phoned it in.  I hope they don’t snatch back that piece of paper.   

At Kroger (I feel like I’m always at Kroger), a woman called out to me.  I turned to see my neighbor. 

Let me be more specific.  The Neighbor.  The neighbor who complained to the city about our tree house and caused us months of stress, a trip to the zoning board and countless hours of crying boys fearful of losing their fort. 

“Uh…hi!” I responded.  I haven’t seen her since before the hearing.  (She didn’t attend but instead sent a detailed letter of complaint.  Chicken.  Did I say that?!)

After our zoning board victory, I’d been feeling magnanimous.  Victory does that to you.  I’d planned to bake her cookies and deliver them to her for heavens sake!  A case of meningitis and a week’s stay in the hospital delayed my plans. 

One thing after another seemed to take precedent over baking those cookies: my son’s birthday trip, Thanksgiving, Christmas.  Oh, I didn’t want to.

“You’ll never be best friends,” my husband said.  We weren’t before.  We belong to the same book club and we talk about books and kids.  That’s it.  And that’s OK. 

I don’t need to confide in her.  We don’t need to have lunch.

I also don’t need to be purposely rude.

I tell my kids all the time, “You don’t have to be their best friend, but you can’t be mean.” 

Don’t you hate it when you are forced to take your own advice?      

“How was your holiday?” I asked.  “Any plans for New Year’s?” 

“Nothing big.  Dinner and a movie.” 

“That sounds nice,” I said. 

Awkward silence. 

“Happy New Year!” 

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