One of the things about moving countries is that you suddenly fully realise the value of those you left behind, given that now, your social circle has deflated into more of a saggy hexagon of minute proportions.
When we first arrived in Canada, once the initial novelty had worn off (i.e. I managed to stop giggling like a drunken 80-year-old at a wedding every time I glimpsed a mountain, which, living in a mountain town at the time, was pretty damn often), I was suddenly struck by a horrible thought: that mountains, however spectacular, can’t hug you back. Barbara Streisand might have thought it lucky, but right then and there, being a person who needed people felt mighty crapola.
I realised this might be a problem when I found myself staring at random strangers in the park, imagining a future with them that included barbeques, our kids frolicking together tantrum-free while we clinked our beer bottles together and toasted the sunset while a pint-sized Julie Andrews serenaded from a nearby squirrel hole…
Seriously, sometimes it was all I could do to muster the strength to go up to such strangers, wrap my arms around their legs and scream while they dragged me away: “PLEASE BE MY FRIEND!”
Then of course, time passed, I made some real friends and what do you know? I didn’t even need to stalk.
Then we moved towns though, and so it all started again. We’re four months into our new abode and while I’ve definitely started making some really nice connections with people, there’s still plenty of room for more!
Which is why today, while heading for our car in the carpark of the hospital, I was pleasantly surprised to be smiled at, waved at and then approached by a british lady I kinda recognised…
“We were in the same room together!” she cried.
It clicked. We shared a hospital room when Littlest Boob popped out some six weeks ago.
“Oh yeah!” I said. “How’s it going?”
We laughed and compared the trials and triumphs of having three kids, her older two being quite a bit younger than mine (3 under 4 – AGH!). It was such an easy conversation, you know when you just really genuinely gel with somebody straight up? I was just beginning to think again upon squirrelly Julie Andrews when Little Miss Boob pipes up with:
“Mummy, how do you know her?”
“We shared a room when Littlest Boob was born.”
“OH!!! Is SHE the one who’s baby wouldn’t stop screaming all night and kept you awake?”
A beat. I muttered something like “Well our baby was up through the night too…” but Little Miss was having none of being dismissed.
“Yeah but only because HER baby kept screaming and waking him up!”
The fact that this observation is true, is completely beside the point. Having it blurted out, in front of my potential pal no less (who I already felt pretty sure would have felt crap about her noisy newborn in a shared room way back when it all happened) – well, it’s not that I wanted to die as such, but I wouldn’t have minded being knocked out for a good ten minutes.
And evidently, she who I shall now refer to as ‘The Friend that Never Was’, wouldn’t have minded it either. She quickly grabbed her bub out of her car, said “Well, bye then!” and went on her way.
Ah boy. Remind me never to let Little Miss Boob go into the match-making industry…