Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Odd, But in a Good Way

I have a habit of putting too much emphasis on the first syllable of proper nouns. SWISS Chalet. PIER 1 Imports. Nothing makes me feel so loved as the snort of affectionate laughter my best friend produces whenever I do that. There is recognition in that snort; there is history, knowledge, acceptance.

The great thing about blogger meet-ups is that they are punctuated with such moments of familiarity and recognition. After a blissful weekend of bed-and-breakfasting with maritime bloggers (and Upper Canadian imports), I'm nostalgic for that atmosphere of affectionate mockery. All weekend long we mocked Cinnamon Gurl for putting ketchup and tabasco sauce on her omelet; we mocked Niobe for the condiment-phobia that had her averting her eyes in disgust; we mocked Bon for eating all the dessert and Mad Hatter for her uncanny memory for the month and year in which particular blog posts were published. Thordora mocked me for the paint chips I kept pulling out of my purse (I pulled them out once, in a store in Lunenberg, just to see if someone would catch me in the act and mock me for it). I would like to write a whole post about all the delicious food we ate (banana pancakes, corn fritters, French toast with freshly stewed rhubarb, fish cakes and key lime pie, whipped cream on everything, home-baked chocolate chip cookies, sandwiches with cream cheese, pecans and sliced pears...) - but I know if I did that they'd all come here and mock me.

It was a sad day in my unhappy first marriage when I realized that the phrase, "That's so you" - uttered fondly by my friends - would only ever come from my husband as a kind of accusation. It is my personal definition of friendship, perhaps, that those characteristic traits are welcomed with mockery rather than rejected with disgust. We are quirky, annoying, damaged people, we bloggers. When we get together we skip the polite tittle-tattle, filling the air instead with talk that seems almost designed to frighten the hapless ordinary folk within earshot. We tell our birth stories in harrowing obstetrical detail; we talk about sex, drugs, mental illness, marriage, politics, and the Myers-Briggs personality types (okay, that was just me), all at length and at high volume. We try (without success) to drum up creative synonyms for the word "half-wit." When we gather around the fireplace in our plaid flannel housecoats we can wear our quirks on our sleeves, basking in the affection that can only come from people who have long ago stopped caring about being normal. It's a marvelously freeing sensation.


Mad and me, and a little bit of ocean.

32 comments:

thordora said...

ahmen sista. I actually swept up a paint chip last night and smiled.

Anonymous said...

That post makes me yearn for my far-away girlfriends and want to call local girlfriends. Ok women friends A blog friend is for keeps.

Your post makes me jealous and sad that we didn't have the internet and blogs in "my day". Hope you guys gather together again soon.

cinnamon gurl said...

Oh this is SO you. All weekend I kept reeling at how I would talk specifics and you would broaden them to theories and themes... I admire how you do that.

slouching mom said...

Damn. You've all made me insanely jealous. Hope you're happy.

At least you posted a picture, and a cute one at that.

I might just forgive you. Might.

Jess said...

I have noticed that whenever my mother tells me that I'm just like my father, she means it as a criticism. That makes me a little bit sad.

Andrea said...

I get to be an import!

It was a lot of fun. I wish I could have stayed to the end.

Janet said...

It sounds like great fun, random paint chip ogling, and all.

sweetsalty kate said...

You totally just made me hungry. Again. sigh.

xo

wheelsonthebus said...

That's what they mean by "peeps."

nomotherearth said...

Great food, great company...is there really any more to life??

bren j. said...

Mmmm....french toast with rhubarb....sounds like a super fun trip!

Bea said...

Me too, Andrea, me too.

painted maypole said...

sounds like such a lovely weekend

Merle said...

Glad you had so much fun and arrived home alive. lol. I must admit that I too am extremely jealous!!

planetnomad said...

Ok I'm totally jealous. I admit it freely. After all, I'm not perfect either.
But it sounds fantastic! And I know what you mean about welcoming through mockery each other's quirks.

Omaha Mama said...

I love that picture!
I have a whole post in my head (not yet being able to articulate it) about how all of my "new" friends here in town are all in the small talk phase of life and I crave just being me. And having people know who that me is. There's nothing that can replace that intimacy. Certainly not small talk. This post hit on that and also gave me an aha moment where I realize a reason why I love blogging so. I am quirky and damaged. In a good way.

Thank you for taking time away from your paint chips to share such a great story!

Beck said...

You know, what you wrote about friends loving your quirks is SO true. And am I jealous of everyone getting to meet up? Oh my God, am I ever. Jealous and HUNGRY.

Bon said...

damn, Sin beat me to it...i was going to say "this is SO you."

it was an honour and a delight to eat all the desserts in your presence. :)

Cyndi said...

Oh, it sounds like you had a great time!

I know what you mean about the teasing. It just isn't a good friendship unless you can be yourself around each other and mock each other for it.

trudymorgancole said...

Sounds like you all had a wonderful time. I think you're so right that amused recognition of someone's foibles is the surest sign of friendship. One of the worst moments of my life was when I was in a group of people whom I'd been staying/travelling with for several days but NEVER felt relaxed or comfortable around, and at the dinner table I did something very clumsy which resulted in an entire pitcher of some thick fruity drink getting dumped on top of a casserole ... and nobody laughed. Just looked and then politely averted their eyes. It was chilling.

Mad said...

Yup. That's me all over. Odd. In a good way.

It was such a treat seeing you. I won't soon forget our drive-in from the airport when you, Sin and I overwhelmed poor Thor. It's amazing how much history there is and how much catching up needs to be done even when you've only met a person once or twice before and even when we all spill our minds publicly on a thrice-weekly schedule.

Next time it'll be Thor overwhelming the newbies...

Magpie said...

I'm with Slouchy. Jealous. What a nice time it sounds like.

the new girl said...

Very nice post, Bea.

Plus, now I'm hungry.

ps. you're a cutie.

Swistle said...

When I saw a new post by you in my reader, I thought, "Ooooo! I wonder if she has PAINT CHIP NEWS!" I am a little sad!

Gwen said...

I am right this minute frothy green with envy (and not because of the whipped cream, either).

Kyla said...

Sigh. Sounds perfectly lovely.

NotSoSage said...

Cin beat me to it, but I'll say it anyway. This post is so you, Bea. And I loved it.

canadacole said...

That is a lovely post on the nature of true friendship. What did we do before blogging? I love best the friends who laugh with me over my quirks. Sounds like a wonderful weekend. This Maritime girl is a little jealous :)

Hannah said...

I have a confession to make - when we were buying our new house, I carried a paint chip book with me wherever I went.

Jenifer said...

I like this post because you summed up how blogging develops such wonderful kinship.

Glad you had such a wonderful time.

Mimi said...

Amen to that. And damn, I'm so cheesed off I couldn't go. Stupid new house grumble grumble moving.

Dr. Cason said...

Oh, That sounds nice.

Good friends, mutual respect and lots of laughter. We can't replace that.