Monday, March 24, 2008

We've just traced the call, and it's coming from inside your guilty conscience.

My friend Tawana, who is also a powerful and important professional person, has been really busy for the past few weeks. She has to travel a lot for her job. She has a new grandbaby. And I secretly suspect she has fallen off the poker wagon and is spending the odd weekend at the casino again.

And even though I am never entirely sure from whence she is calling, for almost the entire span of our decades-old relationship, we've spoken on the phone at least once a day. Every day.

Until about two weeks ago.

When you're used to rehashing tiny bits of every day with someone else, you might make mental note as your day goes on. "I must remember to tell So-and-so about this." "So-and-so will really think this is funny." "I wonder what So-and-so will have to say about that." Before too long, all those tiny bits add up. I was working on an entire storehouse of tiny bits by the time Tawana and I finally connected.

Foremost on my mind, though, was my decision to take a break from blogging. I already knew that that news wasn't going to go over well with her. Tawana is the one who harangued me into starting a blog in the first place. As far as she is concerned, I owe her 150 words per day. Since I was sure to get a trip to the woodshed for my trouble, I went out of my way keep the conversation away from the blog until the last possible minute.

"So." She said, after we'd been talking for a while. "Do you have anything else you want to tell me?"

Nobody else in the world, with the exception of my mother, has the power to make me feel like I did in that moment. It was way worse than I had expected. Suddenly, I was 13 years old again, and powerless to do anything but stutter and wait to see how much trouble I was really in for getting into that car/wearing that halter-top/smoking that cigarette/sporting that hickey.

"Oh. Well, yeah, there is that. I guess you've already been on the site and seen it?"

"Seen what?"


"I don't know what you're talking about. Today is my birthday. Did you forget my birthday?"

And I had. I had forgotten my best friend's birthday. I didn't buy a new calendar at the beginning of this year and when left to my own devices, I can't differentiate Tuesday from Thursday. It wasn't about me, so I forgot.

So, it's a little late, but...

Happy Birthday, Tawana. Your corn dog is in the mail.

Tawana has never forgiven me for allowing her to forget my birthday several years ago, and has pronounced my forgetting her birthday as the greatest gift I could have given her. She wants me to think that this now makes us even. However, this would mess up the balance of the universe. That is, if I didn't already know that she plans to lord it over me for the next 11 months. Universe balance restored.

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