Now, this is not a Tyler Perry film.  This is not a scene where you see an All-American family sit down to dinner.  The mother gives a nod to her youngest son and he screams, “Houseguest!”  An abnormally large – like a linebacker – black (wo)man comes bounding down the steps in a housecoat carrying an AK47.  She hits the last step and opens fire on the table, each round perfectly massacres the main entree and side dish on each plate.  Her firing perfectly mashes up the potatoes, her bullets perfectly slice up the meat.  The youngest boy smiles like it’s Christmas morning and the mother says, “Thank you, Houseguest.”  The houseguest nods and unwraps the AK from around her neck  placing it on the breakfast bar.  She pulls out her chair and the family sits down.  In a lilting soprano, she looks at the father and says, “Paul, would you like to say grace?”


This article is not about that.  That houseguest is one word and it’s a movie starring Sinbad (I’m not kidding).  My house guest, this weekend, is a more demure two word split like you see at the beginning of this sentence.  We’re having an old friend for dinner to quote Anthony Hopkins in Silence of the Lambs.  Actually, that might scare our house guest, so it might be better said, “I have an old friend coming over.”  An old friend from my New York days.

When I left New York to move to the UK to be with Wifesy for her last two years of school and to try my hand at comedy around the queen’s nation – one true thing happened.  I lost A LOT of friends.  Even though, I tried to guard against it.  I had Skype already set up on my computer from a million Skype sessions between myself and Wifesy.  In what I thought was a smart move, I decided to bring my Vonage phone with me.  Now, if you don’t know about Vonage – it’s fantastic, if you’re involved in any kind of international lover affair.  You can buy these packages where your entire country and one other country are bundled together.  Every time you call the other country it becomes just like making a local call!  This was a godsend for me when Wifesy when we first started dating.  Before Vonage, my first phone bill was $1200, just about as much as my rent.  (Yikes.)  So, after a year or so, once I decided to move across the pond to be with her, I spoke to my Vonage representative and was told I could take my Vonage phone with me!  “This is great!” I thought.  “I’ll stay in touch with all of my friends!”

I was elated.  I had some close friends in and around the comedy scene.  One who I even called the, “Gayle to my Oprah”.  When I was living in New York, Gayle and I talked everyday.  If we had an issue with a friend or a business problem or a dating conundrum, we picked up the phone and we hashed it out with one another.  We’d call each other at the end of the evening and call it, “final thoughts” like a terrible segment Gayle had seen on a Jerry Springer show.  It helped that Gayle was and is mind-blowingly funny.  She is, as of now, a very well known comedian in the U.S..  Her career blew up when I took off.  I thought back then, “This is great, Gayle will be able to call me using only a local, New York number.  Technology is so great now, you can live fricken’ any where and still stay in touch.  I won’t lose any of my really close friends.”

But, I forgot that one simple, human, rule…Outta sight, Outta mind.  It’s work to maintain friendships.  And I have this thing – this shutoff valve.  I’ll call you a couple of times and if I don’t get a reasonably quick call back, I stop calling.  Then when you call me out of the blue, having ignored, or returned my phone calls after a ridiculously long amount of time – I start to pull away.  Like a boat leaving the harbor, Momma is setting sail.  This happened between Gayle and I.

After our two years in Scotland, when Wifesy and I returned home – I remembered the people who had kept in touch.  I remembered them like a Vietnam veteran remembers the guys who were in the actual foxhole with him.  There were only a handful.  There was definitely Miranda.  Miranda was my second Gayle – equally as funny, equally as intuitive, and bonus we fell in love with people in foreign lands at just about the same time.  She met her Dutch husband right around the time I met Wifesy.  So, we commiserated over long distance relationships and love and the differences between Europe and America.  The biggest and best thing about Miranda – she does the work that friendship takes.  She calls to check in, whether I’m in Scotland or Socal or New York.  I am eternally grateful for this and I probably don’t tell her enough.

Truth be told, part of this is probably my fault.  Now that I have Wifesy, I find myself putting less and less into my friendships.  Well, plainly, because I’m married.  However, I know – down in the deepest parts of me – that this is a mistake.  A human needs friends.  When Wifesy and I were in Scotland, everyone at her school was younger than Wifesy.  Way younger, since Wifesy went back to school at 32.  So, we hung around with these youngsters, which was fine, but I’m telling you – a 22 year old and a 37 year old, just do NOT have the same philosophical perspective on life.  They just don’t.  They can have a beer together, but they can not go deep.  And I’m one of these bar-talking, gathering-having individuals who likes to go deep with my conversations.  When I’m socializing, it’s my raison d etre.  I remember I had a bar conversation with a friend of a friend – a Chicago man – who swore to me he was Jesus and by the end of the conversation, he was crying.  Now, I understand he was a bit nutty.  I know he was a bit much.  However, he was such a good conversationalist that by the end of the evening I thought he was one of the best people I’d ever met.  I was glad I’d had that conversation.  I was glad I had met him.  That must’ve been ten years ago and I remember that conversation to this day.  Now, I’m not saying I’d want Jesus-man around me everyday – a bit intense, in reality, BUT there was something in his banter that conveyed what he meant.  He was trying to say that there was god in all of us, even as he explained it in the most convoluted, yet highly entertaining way.  I love someone who can verbally tap dance like that.  It’s one of the many reasons why I love comedians, but not comedians who are on all the time.  I like the jokey philosophers.  I like the Gayles.

So, back to house guest.  She’s not as close to me as Gayle or Miranda.  But, she was in my closer circle of friends.  Her and I were like Whoopi and Oprah.  They’d had an unspoken feud for years.  Whoopi thought Oprah was mad at her and Oprah thought Whoopi was mad at her.  So, these two women who had had a life altering experience together making The Color Purple (like a Vietnam vet in a foxhole) never spoke.  They never spoke due to some unspoken feud that never was.  This weekend’s house guest is my Whoopi.  All is smoothed over.  (We went to dinner before this and talked about the fight that never was.  I think sometimes you fall into a mad-love relationship and it’s all engulfing and your other friends, somehow – and mistakenly – interpret that as your angry with them or neglecting them.  I think that’s what happened here.)  When Whoopi comes over, we’ll have a great weekend.  I see us playing some tennis and watching some basketball and a movie here and there, while drinking copious amounts of alcohol.  And I can’t help, but feel like I’m back.  Unlike, Sara Palin’s “bridge to no where” – this is my bridge to somewhere.  And I’m hoping that somewhere is friends.  Good, solid, friends.  New Gayles.  I want to be surrounded by oodles of Gayles.  Gayles encircling me like a group of Jesus-men skipping, holding hands, and singing a fecked up version of “ring around the rosy” while we hash it all out.  It will be work, but it may just be worth it.


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Photo creds:  Madea, Oprah and Gayle, friends-feature


15 thoughts on “Houseguest!

  1. I commend you for working to keep your friendships alive. As a big time introvert, I function much better in the online world than the real. Then again, that’s probably why I’ve never had lunch with Jesus. I’m really limiting myself here. 🙂

    1. Oh, Carrie. U give such good comment. I smiled really wide at this. Yep, something I’m working on. Time will tell ! I think friendships are important for artistic folk most of all. I mean, there’s only so many times I can ask wifesy to read a post…lol. – mother

      Sent from my HTC Inspire™ 4G on AT&T

  2. True friendship is just as deep and meaningful as a romantic relationship and require just as much work in their own way. I’ve always had a hard time maintaining friendships because I was too needy. Now, I recognize that there must be acceptance as well … I still have a shut off valve, but think I accept people as they come now. I also appreciate the friends I’ve made later in life so much more.

    Lovely post as always!

    1. Great comment, gillian and I hear u. What I’ve learned is that every friend can not be all things. U must accept each at their individual limitations. That took me a long time to learn. Thanks for reading and stopping by here, sweet friend.

  3. Making any kind of long-distance relationship work is tough—with friends or lovers. Some drift away for good. But sometimes you get lucky and you drift together again. That happened with me and my best friend from school. Once we married and moved geographically further apart, we drifted away. But then we found that connection again and keep in good contact now. So you never know what the future could bring….

    1. True. And perhaps one day Gayle shall return ! I like the sound of that. It’s like a Roman play. Thanks for taking the time to read my stuff, jm. It means a lot to me. – mother

  4. I had what I thought was deep friendships when I was a kid. Almost all of them turned out to be fake. At around 18, I started hanging out with guys instead. I don’t think I’ve ever had a real, deep relationship with a woman. I’ve tried, but I seem to intimidate them somehow.

    And I knew a guy who thought he was Jesus too…until the drugs wore off.

    1. yep, i’m trying. slowly, but surely said the turtle as she tried to reach her friend… oops, sorry, haven’t had my full cup of coffee this morning and it causes me to talk like a weirdo.

  5. Great read Mother, and so true. Twenty years ago I thought the friends I hung out with all the time would be my best friends for life. 5 years later some were still around. 10 years even fewer. Now I still have a handful that I truly consider close friends. Like the kind that calls out of the blue just to say “whut up”? Although the advent of Facebook brings people back into your life that you haven’t thought about in 20 plus years. Both good and bad. The marriage thingy definitely alters the equation in some aspects, but you get a friend for life out of that…. Hahaha, I just wrote that last line for the ladies.

    1. ha, ha. i love, ‘i just wrote that last line for the ladies.’ completely hilarious. and all true, bill. it’s all change, but change is good, i suppose! yes, yes, today i say it is. thanks for stopping by here. it’s always good to see you and your stanley cup. at least that’s what your icon looks like when it’s all minaturized…

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