I’ve been quite the nostalgic little lady of late. I suspect it has something to do with the fact that I’m SO STRESSED AND KNACKERED FROM WORK I MIGHT LEAP FROM THE CRUMBLING APOLLO ROOF AND SPLATTER MYSELF ON SHAFTESBURY AVENUE SOME DAY SOON but hey, I don’t like to make a fuss.
Back at the end of November, I packed a bag with sturdy boots and chunky knits and headed north of the Watford Gap for a week of damn good coffee, decent days of writing and wandering, and most importantly, a college reunion. It might sound like the basis for a wanky American made-for-ABC movie but believe me, it was necessary. This year’s been a bit of a rollercoaster of highs and lows around the world for me and mine, and a couple of months ago my age old college gang of misfits and vagabonds lost one of the best of us. I hadn’t seen her in years, not since we’d actually been locked in the education system, but you know, Facebook has this annoying way of keeping you connected to people and so when the news hit it sent a ripple of tragic crapness through the interweb to all of us, wherever we were in the world. If there’s one thing that will get a group of people who’ve been talking about a reunion for ever and a day, it’s the fear of another one of you popping your clogs before you actually get around to organising one, so with this in mind, Ferris and I masterminded a night of pub crawling, radio station crashing (don’t ask), muddy country lane walking in the pitch black night and drunken Rockband, with spectacular results.
Oh yes, I was one of those quirky theatre/media student types, once upon a time. And for one night only I shirked my blackberry and expense account and became one again. And it was AWESOME*.
Back to London for the rather trying month of December – you may recall December in Ritzi’s world essentially consists of WINE, press nights, office parties, boozy lunches, WINE, after work drinks, show Christmas parties, MULLED WINE, and, hang on, there’s something else… oh yeah… shedloads of work before everyone buggers off for the festive season – and by December 20th I was suitably frazzled to within an inch of my life. You can always gauge the level of my frazzledness by checking the barometer that is my hair.
Styled/straight/artfully curled – either a 1 on the frazzle scale OR a quick pre-press night blowdry has just occurred on a lunch break
Frizzy/interestingly kinky fringe – nearing the 5-7 mark on the scale. Get her a diet coke and/or large glass of red. Stat.
Topknot – mark 9… seriously, avoid her in corridors.
Topknot AND fringe pinned back – WARNING! WARNING! RITZI’S ABOUT TO THROW HER BLACKBERRY OUT THE WINDOW AND MOVE TO CORNWALL.
Nestled in December, amidst the organised/disorganised fun, is Irish’s birthday. This year the timing was particularly key, as Irish chose this moment to announce her imminent departure from London for the foreseeable future (I will not cry, I am in denial. I have lots of airmiles and will use them ALL to go to Dublin every other weekend and pretend absolutely nothing has changed), which Bridget countered with the news that she would also be buggering off on tour for the first quarter of 2014. Flora is to be wed, and we haven’t actually SEEN her since even to perve at the ring, so essentially, all my friends are leaving me and I need some new ones.
The whole idea of friendship is an odd thing, I think. What I love about my girls is that we’re usually annoyingly frank and honest with each other about most things. Irish’s birthday dinner/winefest got pretty deep around midnight, and we got onto the subject of friendships coming and going as we stumble through life. I’m not naïve enough to think that in ten years time the friends I have now will still be my inner circle, no exceptions. I could live in another town, or another country by then. The ones who are married may have kids, (or worse… move north of the river…) and then we’ll lose touch and only see each other when the parental ones can get a sitter and so on and so forth.
That said, Blondie made an observation that got me thinking. She remarked she was always impressed by how I managed to stay in touch with people, for instance, I’ll think; ‘Cripes, I haven’t seen so and so in about six months, we must arrange brunch’. Apparently, if Blondie has this thought, in her head it translates to ‘Cripes, I haven’t seen so and so in about six months, clearly we are no longer friends,’ and then they lose touch.
I’ve actually always thought I’m a bit crap at keeping in touch. The other day, when the aforementioned Apollo was falling down**, a few of my friends were working in there and I texted Nicole in a panic from another theatre across town to find out if she’d heard any news other than the terrifyingly overdramatic Guardian news article, to make sure our former ticket tearing buddies were safe. Seconds later I realised guiltily that I actually haven’t seen Nicole for about 5 months, which is frankly ridiculous, and so once we’d established that everyone was alive, we arranged brunch for January 2014. Job done.
The thing about friends – and I mean by this the people who, at one time or other, we have considered our very best mates – is that they are our friends in the first place for a reason. That reason may not be around forever, but once it was the most important thing in the world. Ten (ish) years ago, Ferris and my college boys were my whole life, and just because I don’t see them so often and I don’t necessarily need them physically beside me on a day to day basis to help me get through the way I used to, it doesn’t mean I don’t remember the time when I did and that I can’t enjoy the heck out of escaping down memory lane, back to the safe, fuzzy environment of nostalgia, when I get the chance.
We put too much focus on time. Just because we only see someone once in a blue moon, it doesn’t mean they mean any less to us than the ones we see every day. It’s easy to be friends with someone you see every day, the real test of friendship is fast-forwarding ten years into the future, dropping by for coffee (or, let’s face it… WINE) and still having a million and one things to talk about. Ferris wisely quoted to me the other day; ‘Friends are the family you choose for yourself’, which was quite profound for him so I had to google it and make sure he hadn’t nicked it from someone else. Turns out, every fucker on the internet claims to have made that shizzle up so I’m giving it to Ferris.
And so there you have it, it seems I did end up going down the wanky American schmaltz route after all. Who new I even had it in this bitter, stone cold Londoner’s heart? While we’re on this role I’m dedicating this rambly post to the gorgeous girl we lost this year – I should have dropped by for coffee when I still had the chance.
Until next time… next time likely being the New Year’s Post… cripes.
MUCH LOVE (I’ve had three glasses of vino),
*The hangover was not.
**It didn’t actually fall down. Some plaster fell off the ceiling and it was very scary and unpleasant for all involved but that doesn’t mean every theatre in London is unsafe for FECKSAKE.