Tuesday, September 14, 2010


I am blessed. When it comes to friendships I am truly blessed. I have friends from every part of my life: amazing relatives who I would choose as friends even if we did not share DNA, grade school friends (with whom I have been reacquainted thanks to Facebook), high school friends (thanks to Janie), college, and then throughout to my adult life.

I am not talking about fleeting friendships. Those friends that wander into your life for a brief period due to school, office or neighborhood affiliations.  The friends I speak of love me, because of me and...well...in spite of me. They love me regardless of all my faults and failings. That unconditional love is reciprocated to each and every one of them.  Again, I am thankful and blessed.

The best example of loving me in spite of me is Maggie. We have been there for each other for the past 19 years.  Together we have lived through raising 4 children, 2 divorces, money woes, jobs or lack thereof, depression, crushes, fear, illness, death, relationships, broken hearts, endless phone calls and most of all a friendship that will endure a lifetime. If I had a penny for every minute we spoke on the phone in the past 19 years, I would be a millionaire.  Although not wealthy, I am honestly richer in spirit because of her friendship. 

We always have each other's back. After her divorce, she could not afford to pay a speeding ticket.  She was experiencing a series of bad luck and I was afraid her license would be revoked if it was not paid soon.  So, although she did not ask for assistance, I paid her ticket.  However much money the ticket was has been repaid to me 1,000,000 times over. 

Maggie is my Wing Girl. Going on a first date?  One of us is on the other end of the phone suggesting clothing options and moral support.  Final words before hanging up are always, "Call me - no matter what time!  I want to know how it all went.  Love you!"  Especially for those blind dates, the "call me no matter what time" phrase is to make sure the other did not date the next Ted Bundy. Upon driving home from said date, Wing Girl is there to find out how the date went and if there will be date #2. 

Maggie is, in fact, one of my favorite dates. Whenever possible, we go out for dinner and a movie date. We laugh a lot(!), shop, eat, drink and go to the movies. We often joke that if one of us was the opposite sex we would be married by now.  Once we went to see "Confessions of a Shopaholic".  Maggie bought drinks before the movie and I planned to buy movie tickets and popcorn.  Unbeknownst to me there was a problem with my ATM card.  Earlier that day I tried to update my GPS maps through TomTom's website which is based in the United Kingdom.  There was a problem with their website.  After three attempts to update my GPS maps I gave up and decided to update them another day.  Yet, my bank decided someone had access to my VISA check card and was trying to use it in the UK.  They shut down all access until they could reach me.  They, unfortunately, neglected one small detail.  They forgot to call me and tell me that they were freezing my account.  Now I NEVER carry cash on me.  Carrying cash is completely against my religion.  So, we get to the theatre to see (again) "Confessions of a Shopaholic" (isn't the irony priceless?) and my check card does not work...at all.  Completely and totally declined.  Payday was the day before.  I knew there was money in there.  Money comes and goes quickly with me, but it sticks around for at least a weekend.

What could we do?  We laughed.   Maggie paid.

After 10 years of debate and countless field trips to tattoo parlors looking for the perfect Meg/Alexis angel, Maggie joined me on my tattoo field trip.  We laughed at all the different tattoos.  Seriously, naked angels with vampire fangs?  Obscene butterflies?  Not sure about you, but I believe butterfly bodies should not be phallic symbols.  Tattoo parlors are a strange and crazy world.  But with the two of us we had a blast.  After my angel was permanently affixed to my shoulder, Maggie was already asking what my next one would be.  Tattoos are rather addicting.  Most likely the Chinese symbols of "To Live, To Love, To Laugh."  The problem I initially had with that question is the same problem I have now.  Where to place those symbols?  Therefore, there have not been any more tattoo field trips, nor do I have Chinese symbols permanently adhered to my body. 

Maggie May knows everything about me...and I mean everything.  (Side note to the men I have dated:  OK...she does not know everything, but she does know as much about you as your best friend knows about me.)  I cannot lie, or bluff.  She was there for every episode of my life since 1991.  The one thing I can always and only be with her is real.  No fronts, nor falseness.   Occasionally there is bravado, but when I return to earth there is always laughter, or tears, over my false bravado. 

While taking pole dancing classes a couple of years ago, I called Maggie weekly on my way home to tell her about spinning, flipping, or about how strong and powerful I felt after my 2 hour workout.  I convinced her to come to an S Factor Open House so she could see first hand what this was all about.  After entering her name in a raffle, Maggie went home with her own stripper pole to install in her 1 bedroom Rogers Park condo.

We slid the 10' pole into my SUV. It went from my windshield, over the backseat and through the hatch.  We secured the pole with bungee cords and tied a red winter scarf on to the 1'-2' of extra pole sticking out of the car.  Once we got it into her back alley, attempting to get that dang long skinny box up two floors of a winding back porch staircase to her condo was a Lucy and Ethel moment like no other.  We dodged live (yes, live) electrical wires, almost dropped it when I was scared by a squirrel (I swear it was rabid), laughed till tears were streaming down our faces.  Of course I was in heels (aren't I always?)  Can you imagine if that pole actually hit a live wire, there would have been two crispy critter women (and possibly fried rabid squirrel) and many questions why we were trying to bring a pole dancing pole up to a 1 bedroom condo.  Questions would have been raised by many.  Those that know us would have shaken their heads and said, "We are not surprised."

When Mags decided she really could not store her winnings in her living room (on the floor, along the long wall, behind the T.V., stereo and chair) any longer, I offered to store it for her in my basement.  Which required us to return down two stories of the winding back porch staircase, again almost hitting live (yes, live!) electrical wires, (no squirrel this time) again laughing like idiots as we almost fried ourselves, again into my car where we slide it from windshield to hatch, tied a red winter scarf onto the last two feet of the box, secured it with bungee cords and I drove it down Lake Shore Drive to my house.  Once there, my accomplice, Katrina, helped me bring it through the garage, into the family room, pass my mother who was sleeping on the couch, down into the sub-basement and into our storage room.  Where it stayed until Maggie donated it (just last week) to a Harley charity raising money for ovarian cancer research.  The story is legend with my friends.  To this day, when the story is told I get tears in my eyes from laughing. 

Our friendship has seen the worst of me and the best of Maggie. Maggie is never mean, so I have never seen the worst of her. I have seen her at her saddest. And I have seen her angry.  But never at her worst because I truly don't believe she has "mean" built into her genetic code.  There are very few people in the world that possess pure kind souls.  I have been fortunate to meet a handful.  Maggie May is one of them.  When faced with a situation, I quite often ask, "What would my Maggie May do?".   Or "What would Maggie May think?" 

How many friends can laugh about the fact that I threw a clipboard at her?  Yes, I did.  Really.  Sad but true.  It is still the most embarrassing moment of my life, yet Maggie laughs about it.  When the subject comes up, I generally want to hide my head in the sand.  At the time I was frustrated in my job. My ex-husband was making my life miserable. I was angry, annoyed and irritated with everyone.  Actually, I was angry, annoyed and irritated with myself, but it was easier to be angry at the world.  I hated my life.  I had always wanted a career yet I knew my career was derailed due to single-parenthood with a toddler and pre-schooler.  Any career was going to be on the back burner for a number of years.  I love my children and would go through it all again to have them in my life, but at the time I could not see the forest for the trees.  I felt stuck with little options. 

If I remember right (because honestly, I've attempted to obliterate this moment of my life out of my memory), we were making audition phone calls for the theatre.  We had a clipboard for each day of auditions and I had the one she needed.  For whatever reason, instead of handing it to her, or flipping it onto her desk (our desks were definitely within handing and flipping distance), I threw the clipboard at her.  In my brain I meant to toss it, but there was definitely more throw than toss in my actions.  I don't know why I did it.  I never wanted to hurt her.  But in a burst of anger it went flying.  Maggie, fortunately, remained unscathed, yet I still remember the look of surprise on her face.  She teases me about it.  I remain mortified.

Yet, I am blessed.

There are endless stories involving many different friends.  Each one holds a special place in my heart. 

But if a friend can forgive me and still love me unconditionally for what could have been bodily injury, I am beyond fortunate.

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