With spring break just around the bend in my little corner of the world, I was reminded of spring breaks past. I found myself digging through Facebook to see if any of my old college buddies were there. I was suddenly struck with an overwhelming need to "catch up". I found a few people...some I added, some I didn't. But my very best friend from days of yore still hasn't caught up with the times. Eh, that's ok. We still talk on the phone. She even comes to visit on rare occasions, and sometimes I think rare is best. You know what they say about house guests and fish...
My daughters asked me the other day how I was able to still be friends with my best friend from college. Even though our visits are few and far between these days, when we do get together it’s as if we were never apart. We finish each other’s sentences, laugh at the same silly things we always laughed at, and argue about the dumbest things.
I told the girls a story about my first college spring break. It was at the end of my sophomore year at the University of Pittsburgh and my best friend Mary Lou and I decided to take a Greyhound bus from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
Let me just say that spending fifteen hours trapped on a bus with anyone will make you just a little stir crazy. The bus stops along the way were terrifying in their nastiness, and I think we visited every disgusting bathroom at every stop we made. Add to that a heavy dose of OCD—I had some of my favorite songs on repeat (on the only cassette I brought with my Sony Walkman) that we both listened to using two pairs of headphones—and a very limited budget. We couldn’t afford to splurge on food. We had to choose very wisely.
Our room had a kitchenette, so instead of eating out, we decided to shop for food and eat in for most meals. This would have been ideal if not for the fact that we couldn’t agree on what to buy.
After more than twenty years, I would guess that she would still say I was being unreasonable, but if you are a mayonnaise person you just won’t eat Miracle Whip. She would have been happy getting Miracle Whip to serve two purposes—as a sandwich spread, and as a salad dressing. I was adamant that it would serve neither purpose in my world. We had the same argument over which brand of peanut butter to buy. Somehow we managed to find a compromise, but the trip to the grocery store set the tone for the entire trip. Then, only one of us had a fake ID to get into the bars (hint...it wasn't me). We capped off the week by having a heated disagreement about religion.
And then we had to ride fifteen hours back to Pittsburgh on the bus!
This was the part of the story when the girls asked me how Mary Lou and I were still friends after all these years. “It’s simple.” I told them. “We just had to accept that we could never share an apartment.” Or spend more than a weekend together without a break.
That’s just how friendship is…you make adjustments to accommodate each other. Good friends are irreplaceable, but hardly perfect. We make mistakes—sometimes even big ones—but true friendship is like a marriage, you’re in it for better or worse. You accept each other’s flaws for what they are, and you love each other anyway. I don’t know what I would do without my friends…even the ones who drive me absolutely crazy after just a few days of togetherness. My friends have been there for me in my darkest moments, and I certainly hope they known that I will be there for them in theirs.
Until the next time…I’ll be giving thanks for my wonderful friends, both far and near!