Thursday, October 09, 2008


Friend.  That word generates a lot of thoughts and feelings for me, and I want to share some of them with you.

We use the word so often to describe people around us; co-workers, neighbors, members of a church or other organization, or schoolmates, for example.  But to give a label to something does not necessarily mean you know what to do with it.  And that is where I find a lot of people are stuck.  What does a friend do?  What do you do for a friend?  How do you feel for a friend?  Is there a length of time that defines a friendship?

Interestingly, in communally-based societies, (today that means mostly indigenous tribes and ethnically isolated groups; the United States is definitely NOT communally-based) a "friend" was someone outside your community with whom you could share common interests, a meal, or territory, but you still lived in that identified society where the nomenclature of "friend" was not necessary.  You lived in a group that worked for the betterment and support of the group, regardless of biological or legal relationships.  Within that community, you found people to talk to, laugh with, share tasks and chores, learn from, trust, and enjoy.  Differences could be accepted and conflicts worked out.  Since the advent of individual rights, democracy, and (especially) the United States of America, we have been becoming more and more alienated, competitive, individual and selfish.  In the pursuit of happiness and wealth, we have replaced the 10 Commandments with Inalienable Rights.  We have replaces Faith with Science.  We have replaced Sharing with Privacy.

Now, this is no religious diatribe, rather I use the ideas loosely to illustrate my point.  Consider these ideas as just that, ideas.  Ponder them, like you might savor the taste of fine wine before swallowing it and pronouncing your reaction.  It's meant to generate thought and discussion, and maybe even action.

In my case, I hope to work towards action.  But not without a better understanding of "friend" and what place that can take in my life.  One blog that I read talks about key words that motivate the writer for a length of time, usually a year.  She has written about the concept of "enough" and tried to live it for a year.  Now, she is focusing on "nurture" and how she can find more opportunities for it in her life.  I like that idea, and am going to give it a run.  So for the next year or so, I am going to explore the idea of "friend".

Sometimes, it's going to feel a lot like work.  Most times, I hope it feels more like fun.  Either way, I feel it's important to do...especially as I read of the fear and trepidation in more and more people with our looming economic depression.  (Because I don't see competition and wealth and profit as the road out of this mess...)

So Karin has given me my first assignment.  She tagged me to tell you all more about myself.  (like the soapboxing wasn't enough, she wants facts.   Six of them, in fact.)  And I'm supposed to find six others of you to play this game with us as well.  So let's start with the first fact:

I love to change rules.  That goes along with I love to be different, I love to challenge, I love a puzzle.  So I'm only going to tap 4 people.  Six is too big of a number for me to absorb all that information and really keep it.  So, four people I want to know more about, or think you will.  The following are officially tapped:

(She is currently "funemployed" and should have lots of time to talk...)
(She was so kind as to tag me and let me know she loves my blog, so I am reciprocating...)
(She recently had the most amazing post all about have to see it - pun intended...)
(If I lived anywhere near this woman I would be a large as a should see what she bakes for the farmer's market...)

I  love logic.  Or at least for things to be congruent.  So the game as I was told says I must tell you quirky, boring facts.  (I don't know why this was the rule; personally I suspect the originator of the game was a little afraid of self-disclosure and didn't want to seem too invasive - bosh on all that!)  If something is quirky, it is different, odd, or even strange.  That does not seem congruent with boring.  So from here on out, the fact are just the facts.  Any ones you choose.

I love the way sheep smell.  Nuzzle 'em, hug 'em, and bury your nose right close.  Ummm....

I hate the phone.  I hate the dozens of people who think they have the right to pester me with calls about politics, offers of merchandise, polls, calls about credit, computer-generated appointment reminders, even long-winded folks who can't stop talking even when you tell them you have to go...I hate the hundreds of people who suddenly can't walk, eat, drive, or watch a movie without a phone stuck to their ear.  I understand it is a fact of current modern life.  That doesn't mean I have to like it.  Curses to Alexander Graham Bell!

I love jigsaw puzzles.  I can remember doing one with my mother on the dining room table when I was probably no more than 6.  It was a scene of a big red barn by a pool of water.  I used to do them in the summer at our camp when it rained and there was nothing to do outside.  My neighbor who managed a toy store used to bring me puzzles as a challenge to see if he could find the one I could not complete in 24 hours.  He never found one. 

I hate to talk to anyone first thing up in the morning.  Give me ten or fifteen minutes to get my bearings, brush the moss off my molars, and decide how I want to deal with the day.  I just need that period of quiet and isolation before I have to deal with human voices.  (Otherwise I am very cranky.  Consider yourself warned.)  My DH still has not mastered this one; he asks me silly questions like, "Is everything OK?" when I return from a nocturnal bathroom trip, or "What time is it?" when we sleep two feet from a glaring, red LCD alarm clock with 3" numbers.  I don't answer.  Ten more minutes of sleep will usually rectify the situation.

So there you have it.  Six things (I guess) that qualify as quirky.  All facts.  

And while we're on the topic of used to be considered strange to have (invisible) friends you couldn't how does  blogging change all that?


kristi said...

okay my friend, you get props on this one! I am going to post my response this weekend cuz I have so many "issues" within my small world that I will need to rank them:) A very thoughtful post & I love the pic at the end!

melanie said...

Issues?!? What, run out of lesson plans this early in the year??? (*grin*)

I can't wait to see the post...and I am sure there will be some photos to drool over as well....

Corinne R. said...

Oh, my...I can do quirky! :-). I'll get working on it.

melanie said...

Corinne-somehow I knew you'd be up to the task...

Wrensong Farm said...

Hi Melanie, I "intend" on getting right to my task....though I have been tagged by another over a month ago.....maybe I can combine them? I'll work on it this weekend. I enjoyed your post as I have been thinking about all my friends lately, how they came into my life and what they mean to me. I have to say that blogging has brought some unexpected and joyous friends into my life!

Kathy said...

What a great "thought provoking" post, Mel! Through it I not only found a new venue to think about, but also found out we like and dislike some of the same things. (Logic and phones come to mind first!)
Many times I have pondered what a "friend" really is. My father used to say he had many acquaintances but could count friends on one hand. As years have progressed I see the wisdom in that thinking.
And now, with logic in hand, I shall be thinking about this all day today. :) Thanks!

Michelle at Boulderneigh said...

You just listed three facts about me! (I'll let you try to guess which three.)

melanie said...

Oh, Michelle...The only one I think I got was the sheep smell thing...maybe hating the telephone???


Michelle at Boulderneigh said...

Yes, Invisible Friend (VBG), like the way sheep smell, but the three things I identify with more strongly are 1) loving logic; 2) loving jigsaw puzzles; and 3) hating any oral conversation first thing in the morning - I want quiet! (Computers are fine; that is why I'm hiding up here. Brian woke me up this morning - Rick is out of town - and he wakes up chattering like a monkey and continues chattering all day long. For me that is the most exhausting part of parenting!)

melanie said...

Ahhh...will keep my eye out for any good puzzles...especially with sheep!