ain’t no use in tryin?

This song was released in 1965, so I kinda missed it the first time around. In fact, the first time I remember actually listening to it was in 1985. It was a wet, cold Friday and I was visiting a friend and her young baby. She was the first of my friends to have a child – and for quite a long time – the only one.

I was in the middle of a post-grad course and totally at sea trying to put together a manageable thesis proposal. My life revolved around study and partying (probably not in that order), and I think I both pitied and slightly envied her “not having to work” but just being home with a baby – probably reading books and watching tv most of the time. It took another ten years and a child of my own to see how wrong I was about that.

At the time I didn’t realise she had post-natal depression; I’m not even sure she knew it. To me she just seemed a bit dull and disinterested in things I wanted to talk about (like my totally fascinating and complicated love-life). So when I went to visit, I don’t quite know what I expected we’d do, go out for lunch or something I suppose.

But instead we listened to her old records and I appreciated her taste in music. It was probably a good thing we did, because – quite honestly – being the shallow, self-obsessed creature that I was in those days, without that reminder of her cool, I might have given up on the friendship.

I’m glad I didn’t. We’ve been friends for thirty five years now, and although we don’t see each other often, I value her presence in my life. She’s funny, wise, accepts me as I am – and she knows where all the bodies are buried!

coffeeIn many ways, we’ve continued to live divergent lives. Our socialising pretty much takes the form of meeting for morning coffee every few weeks. Our partners know each other, and we have “done dinner” in the past – but not recently.

We text often and both make an effort to find each other the funniest, most outrageous birthday and christmas cards. I’ve kept some of hers, including a couple that go back to my student days and which live on the pinboard above my desk. Ours in a friendship that has never really known conflict, or even drama. It wasn’t forged in adversity or pain. Somehow, as teenagers we recognised in each other some kindred spirit and that has been enough.

When I started writing this post, I realised that there are no photos of us together. None at all – in 35 years. And that makes this post important to me, because in the future, if my son ever looks through the photographic record of his mother, a piece will be missing.  A kind, funny, clever friend whom I care for deeply and who has shared my journey for well over half our lives. I guess I could take a photo of us next time I see her, but I probably won’t. Somehow that feels like it might upset the balance, and I like things the way there are.

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18 thoughts on “ain’t no use in tryin?

  1. Reblogged this on Zimmerbitch and commented:

    As our move from Auckland inches closer, I’m thinking more and more about the friendships that will change and be harder to maintain with distance. I’m guessing this one will survive.

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  2. Beautiful reminisce Su. These friendships are priceless as well as photoless. I loved that song as a lad as I couldn’t wait to get out of my country town to the city. No regrets I did. Could quite reconcile dirty old part of the city with my clean country town, but it was the thought of our generation to just get away. Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much Andy. I know what you mean about getting away. I left my parents’ home at 17 and have never been back except as a visitor. But I guess it was easier then; I had a job and rents were affordable. These days kids find it more difficult to break free if only for financial reasons (though I suspect “home” is more comfortable for today’s young ones than it was for my “one bathroom and share a room with your sibling” generation). My neighbours have just build a house in their front yard for their 20-something son so he can be independent without cost or responsibility. Happy weekend. Cheers, Su.

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  3. Oh I say go for the photo !
    And so many little tidbits I enjoyed here ((like I recall my selfish self-obsessed seasons back in the day….))
    Anyhow – such a special friend this sounds like – 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Emilio. We met at work; the two office juniors kind of thrown together by the fact everyone else was much older. I don’t have any friends from school, partly because we moved around quite a lot and partly because I was such a geeky kid who was just never comfortable around other kids. I often wonder how some people man agave to sustain lots of long term friendships. Cheers, Su

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  4. There are times when I feel like there is no need to photography any memory or an event. It is just like the event will be forever ingrained in my brain. Luckily for you, it is a friend and not a singular event. This was a really good post to read

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    • I’ve been thinking a lot about why there are no photos of us together and I think it’s that our friendship developed not only in “pre-selfie” days, but that it’s also one of sharing talk and coffee and very everyday stuff. We don’t go to the same events or travel together — the sort of things where people used to mark with photos. We just hang out, and enjoy each other’s company.

      Liked by 1 person

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