Almost six years ago now, I wrote and published a story called "Spring Cleaning: you don't have to be friends with everyone." I pitched it as a "How To" piece. Specifically, "How to break up with a friend."  [Click the link and you'll get a PDF of the story. It's clean, I promise.]

Stupid, right? Who was (or am) I to give anyone advice (even semi-silly advice) on how to end a friendship? I only have two kinds of friends: the real kind and the fake kind. And of course, the fake kind are usually the ones to go. What can I say? I'm a conflict-avoider. That's how I end up with fake friends in the first place. So when we're done, it's usually a relief. I've gotten rid of two such friends in recent years, and it's been great. But when it feels like I have to lose someone from category one, it's a lot harder.


I know why I wrote the Spring Cleaning piece at the time. I wanted to seem cool. And funny. And I suppose I was feeling sardonic. That's what shines though. It's awful. Insipid and embarrassing.

But nonetheless, I found myself thinking about it yesterday as Nathan and I talked about how it's definitely time for me to give up on a couple of less-than-stellar friends.
Want advice on how to do it? I don't really have any. I have a friend who advocates just cutting yourself off. He says I worry too much. That I don't owe anyone anything. Not even an explanation. He says that, if interacting with someone leaves me feeling worse instead of better, I should just stop. Let it die. Don't reply to emails, don't return calls. Poof. It's gone.

But it's hard.

It helps if you're a little angry, of course. This weekend, as I struggled though a long distance phone call in which I tried and tried to connect with a person who I no longer trust and who didn't ask me a single, substantial question about my life, and who wouldn't (or couldn't) engage with my questions about hers, I started to feel a little of that, and it helped.  Then, when my ex came up, she mentioned something about how I needed to "get over it." That helped too. THEN, she commented on how difficult my breakup was. For her. Actually, for our whole friendship circle. My breakup, she said, was really traumatic... for them.

Suddenly, it didn't feel so hard.

The funny thing is, this person has been trying to tell me for years that she's a "bad friend." She mentions it every time I talk to her, and in almost every email. So why didn't I listen before? Why did it take me years to get it?

I suppose because we don't grow up thinking of female friendships as dispensable. Romantic relationship, sure. Men? Marriage? Of course. But platonic relationships, especially between women, are supposed to be forever.

I think we've talked about this before.

I guess the bottom line is that what I said in my post about Craig a few weeks back is true: if you don't feel happy when your friend is happy, you know you're not really friends. And if you're not really friends, maybe you never were. And if you never were, what does it matter how it ends? What was it worth in the first place?

* Image by Lucasbite from Stock Xchng.
So the New York trip is behind us. How was it? How WAS it? It was exhausting, thankyouverymuch. I loved Manhattan. I'd definitely live there. But walking around a city for days on end isn't exactly like lying on a beach for days on end, is it? I'm tired.

Nonetheless, it's very interesting. Very interesting indeed. And absolutely packed with actors. Here's a round up of those we spotted.

On Sunday, chillin' and smokin' in the East Village: Rubicon's Christopher Evan Welch and Dallas Roberts (which might not be interesting if you don't watch Rubicon, but I do. In fact, Nate and I were talking about having to miss it just before we ran into these two.)
* CC licensed Dallas Roberts photo by Marjorie Lippan. CEW photo by Bryan Better at Getty.
On Monday, wandering through Washington Square Park: SNL's Bill Hader (who may or may not have been with a sunglasses-wearing Jason Schwartzman (couldn't get a good look past Hader's big head).
* CC licensed Bill Hader photo by Hans Watson.
On Tuesday (and this was exciting): Vogue's André Leon Talley AND Mr. Manolo Blahnik at Bergorf Goodman. (We stumbled on a book signing and scored free champagne!)
* CC licensed André Leon Talley photo by David Shankbone. Manolo photo by blogger Chanello (who was also at the signing).
On Wednesday, chillaxing on an practically abandoned and very nondescript deli patio in Tribeca: Harvey Keitel.
* CC licensed Harvey Keitel photo by David Shankbone.
And finally, on Thursday morning, picking up his dry cleaning in the theatre district, Dan Lauria. (And if you're old enough to remember The Wonder Years, you should know he is. If not... well, so what? I loved it, okay?)
* CC licensed Dan Lauria photo by the strangely monikered yotambientengosuperp oderes from Flickr.
Now, I know these Creative Commons photos are kind of spazzy. But I just couldn't bring myself to accost any of these people or pull out my own camera to snap them in person. I didn't want to seem like a big, dorky, starstruck tourist. We all know I'm not as cool as I'd like to seem, but THEY don't have to know that.

Anyhoo. Kind of exciting, right? More on the NYC trip to come.

P.S. I may also have spotted Julia Stiles, but frankly, so many thin, blonde actresses look the same to me. I couldn't tell if it was her or a look alike. 
On Saturday, I gave blood. 

And after I gave blood, I passed out. In the middle of Toronto's Manulife Centre. And I was unconcious for several minutes. And when I came to, I was sweating and my lips were blue and Nathan was terrified.

This kind of thing happens sometimes. Not to me, but to other people. In this case, it was entirely my own fault. I'm a regular blood donor, but I'm also a bit of a doofus, and instead of following the proper guidelines and eating a hearty breakfast and drinking plenty of water before hand, I was very cavilier about the process and didn't remember to eat at all. So I have no one to blame for the whole "oh, I'm unconscious" thing but myself.

Why blog about it? Well, because it was interesting. Having never experienced a true vasovagal response, the whole thing was facinating. (I was also lucky enough to have had the presence of mind to sit down, which meant I didn't smash face-first into the marble floor, which would have yielded a different -- and not at all pleasant  -- experience entirely.

As it was, I was seated, people were around to take care of me, and once it passed, I felt better. I guess that's why I feel able to appreciate how surreal and strange it is to lose consciousness.

So...what's it's like? I've been thinking about that ever since it happened, trying to come up with a good way to describe it. I can't.

As it turns out, if we're talking about what happens when you lose consciousness from a describable experience point of view (as opposed to a pysiological point of view), nothing happens. 

You just... go.  You're just gone.

Wikipedia (everyone's favourite source, I know) says that what people experience just before passing out in this way is often termed an "almost undescribable weak and tired feeling resulting from a lack of oxygen to the brain due to a sudden drop in blood pressure. Tabor's describes this as the 'feeling of impending death'...."

The feeling of impending death. I'm not sure what to make of such a description, because, how could anyone know, really, what it's like to die? If you come back, it doesn't count. But if by chance the description is valid, I'd say that we, as humans, are pretty lucky.

Maybe to go is to go gently. And maybe it's not bad at all.

* Flow image by Ramzi Hashisho from Stock Xchng.
Well, it's October. It's October and the leaves are falling, and everything is crisp and chilly and beautiful. This is my favourite time of year.

I'm feeling nostalgic today. Probably because I spent this past weekend attending the wedding of an old friend. Craig Swann. I've mentioned him before. Our friendship, like all friendships, has had its ups and downs. We've been closer at some times than at others. But over the past twelve years I can say that he's been unfailingly loyal and he is one of the few people in the world I've always felt safe with. I've never had to tell him a lie. And he's seen my ugly cry. That's saying a lot.

Here we are back in 1999:
As his wedding approached, people asked me if I was sad to see it happen. Sad? SAD? I couldn't understand it. Why would I be sad? His bride, Leah, has been great for him, and while it's cliched to say so, he's never been happier. The people who asked were mostly of the sort who couldn't understand how two straight people could have a completely platonic friendship. (And if you're that kind of person, I think the bottom line is that you're never going to get it.) But for the record, no. No, I wasn't sad to see it happen. I was happy to see it happen.

This is an important thing about friendship that I'm not sure a lot of people truly understand. When you love someone, you're happy to see them happy. That's how it works. When you think you love someone, but you aren't happy to see them happy, well... then you know there's something wrong. Seriously, people. Take this to heart. It might help you with some of your more difficult relationships.

(Still don't get it? Feel free to read my long post about pseudo boyfriends and what they are. It's kind of funny and ranty. Maybe that will help.)


Feeling nostalgic isn't the same as feeling sad. And what I'm feeling nostalgic about isn't about a frienship, but a time. It's about the past twelve years. Where did they go? When I met Craig, I was 18. He was 19. We were babies. (Maybe we still are?) We were so silly and so light. We had so much fun. We still have fun, but it's a different kind of fun. That's growing up for you. That should be Growing Up's official subtitle.

Adulthood: it's a different kind of fun.

My point? I don't have one. This is a personal blog. It's rambly.  I will leave you with a slide show of some photos circa "the old days." Friends come and gone. Loves had and lost. Who doesn't have a set of photos like these? See 'em and weep.
P.S. Congratulations Craig & Leah. Love to you both.