Special to The Sun
When my out-of-town best-friend-since-grade-school calls and asks what I’ve been up to, I’ve learned to reply, “Just the same ole same ole,” and follow up quickly with, “How about you?” It beats repeating my old standby church-reading-writing-bridge-movies-and-luncheons litany, and it frees my friend to launch into the reason she called: i.e., to talk about herself and hers, and I don’t mean that in a bad way. Even really good friends don’t really listen while they wait for you to get your “you story” out of the way so they can get on with the “me story” of themselves, and I’m happy to let them have at it.
I’d rather hear of my out-of-town friend’s aches and pains; her rotten, ungrateful kids and grandkids; her underfoot, deaf, insensitive and forgetful husband, than regale her with my virtually identical personalized version of what I recognize to be her own “Just the same ole same ole,” and thank God she’s worse off than I am. I’d rather hear about her holiday plans than lie about the ones I should be making but won’t, and when she tells me about the fantastic cruise she and her deaf, insensitive, forgetful underfoot husband have signed up for, I thank God again that I don’t have to go, and if I did that I’d go alone.
I’m sorry my friend can’t get hooked up to sign on with the good folks at healthcare.gov (which she does not refer to as Obamacare), but she’s a Democrat on a roll and not likely to listen to reason, so I don’t break in to remind her of the chance of identity theft .... or of the 5-plus million households that lost what insurance they did have before the Big Apology.
We’re an hour or so into my friend’s “me story” of herself and hers when I realize my earlobe has grown numb and my neck is in a crimp due to clamping the receiver between my shoulder and chin while completing various household tasks such as filling the dog’s bowl; opening the front door to accept a pamphlet from two smiling Jehovah Witnesses and emptying and refilling the dishwasher, but the environmental protection people will be here any minute to file a complaint if I can’t find a way to quietly flush the commode. The pressure is on, so I tell my out-of-town friend the kitchen is on fire and she abruptly signs off with, “Good talking to you, Betty.”
I’m popping aspirin when it comes to me that my best friend-since-grade-school just called me Betty. That’s not my name. I’m taking inventory, trying to decide if I’ve ever in my lifetime even known a Betty, when eureka! I’ve got it: Best friend What’s-her-name’s memory is slipping. Thank God mine’s still sharp as a tack.
MARJORIE ANDERSON is an Edmond resident.