Banishing The Birthday Blues

, , , , | | Hopeless | July 13, 2019

(Birthdays have always been a struggle for me. No matter how many people I invite, only the usual close relatives show up, and sometimes my best friend who I’ve known for 23 years. Besides that, I never had many friends. Somehow my “BFF” has managed to excuse herself out of it for five years now. So, my birthday goes by with just my mom, my brother, his girlfriend, my grandma, and my uncle coming in the afternoon. My friend calls to say that her car broke down and she can’t make it… again. Surprise. In the evening, I expect two of my bandmates — whom I have known for less than a year — and they don’t exactly live nearby. They have been traveling by train for two and a half hours to get to me, so I invite them to stay the night. They arrive, congratulate me, shove two bottles of wine and a homemade cake in my hands, and look around.)

Bandmate #1: “Where are all the guests? I brought my guitar and everything. I thought there was a party?”

Bandmate #2: “Yeah, we were excited to meet all your friends! Where are they?”

Me: “Well… it’s just us three now. Some family came this afternoon, but they went already. And my one friend cancelled… again.”

Bandmate #1: “Well, that’s not fair!”

Bandmate #2: “Your best friend cancelled… and your other friends?”

Me: “I don’t really have any… Not nearby at least.”

Bandmate #1: “Well, that’s just stupid! We don’t live nearby, either, and yet we are here. What trouble is it to just come over?”

Bandmate #2: “Don’t worry. We’ll get you wasted enough to not be sad about the bad turn up!”

(And they did. They conjured up another bottle of rum from their bags and we drank — I never even drink, but screw it just this once — sang songs, played games, laughed, and chatted until 4:00 am, and I can’t recall having a happier birthday ever!)

Friends With Money (Problems)

, , , , , , , | | Friendly | July 10, 2019

(I am at the mall with a friend, who is also my roommate. We head into a cell phone provider, as I’m going to change my plan and buy a new phone. We get to talking about how expensive it all is. Side note: he’s notoriously bad with money.)

Friend: “I can barely pay my phone bill as it is. I can’t imagine paying [price] for a [brand-new model phone].”

Me: “I can’t afford it, either; that’s why I’m getting the older model. It’s on sale now, essentially free if you extend your contract.”

Friend: “Make sure you ask about cancellation fees. [Other Phone Company] was the worst when I couldn’t pay and tried to cancel my plan.”

Me: “Yeah, I’ll ask.”

Friend: “Or you can do what I did and just disappear.” *laughs*

Me: “What?” 

Friend: “Yeah, instead of giving [Other Phone Company] like 200 bucks to get out of the contract, I just stopped paying.”

Me: “But you still owe them that money, right? They can come after you for it.”

Friend: “Let’s see them find me.” 

Me: *silence*

Friend: *proudly* “I’ve moved twice since then. They’ll never get a penny from me.” *laughs*

Me: “That would kill your credit rating.” 

Friend: “What does that matter? I already have a credit card.” 

(It still boggles my mind. He was a good person, and smart in general, just absolutely clueless about money.)

Red Pepper Alert  

, , , , | | Friendly | July 7, 2019

My Mom’s Friend: “[Friend] told me that you were allergic to red peppers, so I made it with yellow and orange ones, instead!”

Because Men And Women Can’t Just Be Friends

, , , , | | Romantic | July 1, 2019

(A large group of us goes bowling one night after church. There are some new people in our group, including one particular guy who has decided to follow me around all night, attempting to enter every conversation I’m in. I’ve been able to avoid being alone with him so far, but when one friend gets up to take her turn, he slides into her seat.)

New Guy: “So, you’re [My Name], right?”

Me: “That’s me.”

New Guy: “I’ve been wanting to talk to you, but you’re pretty popular around here.”

Me: “And your name is…?”

New Guy: “Oh, sorry. I’m [New Guy]. It’s my first time. Do you guys always do big group stuff like this?”

Me: “Oh, yeah. It’s more fun that way.”

New Guy: *scoots closer* “So, are you single? Because I’d love to get to know you better…”

Me: “Um…”

(In one of those rare and perfectly-timed moments, one of my guy friends hops over the bench we’re sitting on and plants himself between me and the new guy.)

Guy Friend: “[My Name], what’s up? I feel like I haven’t talked to you all night. How’s life? How’s your bowling score?”

Me: “You know very well that you’re going to kick my butt, as always!”

Guy Friend: “Let it be known that you said it, I didn’t.” *turns to the new guy* “How’s it going, bro? Don’t think we’ve met. I’m [Guy Friend].”

New Guy: “Oh, fine. I get it.” *gets up and walks away*

Me: “Has anyone ever told you that you have insanely good timing?”

Guy Friend: *laughs* “You had that deer-in-the-headlights look.”

And Now She’s Immortalized Here At “Not Always Hopeless”

, , , , , | | Hopeless | June 28, 2019

I work in a call center with several other women, all of them at least 40 years older than me. They’re all incredibly sweet and we get along great. One of them has a lot of health problems and eventually has to carry an oxygen tank around, but it does nothing to dampen her hilarious and eccentric spirit.

One slow afternoon, this particular coworker hands me a Post-It with her signature scrawled on it and tells me that I’ll want to keep her autograph for when she’s famous one day. I laugh and tuck the note away, forgetting it soon after.

Eventually, I leave the company to move back to my hometown for a new job opportunity. A few months after moving, I come back to town for a visit and stop by my old call center. I’m talking to my former supervisor when I ask how the elderly coworker is doing.

She suddenly gets quite somber and tells me that the coworker passed of cancer a month or so ago. I’m devastated. While I wasn’t terribly close with her on a personal level, I’d worked with her for over a year and a half and truly enjoyed her company.

After my trip, I’m looking through some of my old things and I find the sticky note with my former coworker’s “autograph.” I have a small corkboard hanging on my wall, so I pin the signature up there alongside mementos from my old city. It makes me happy to know that she is no longer suffering and that I’ll always have a little something to remind me of her.

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