Girlfriend, It Takes All Kinds of Tomatoes
A pile of cherry tomatoes with quirky stems made me ponder friendship
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A Little Personification
This past week, I harvested some bright yellow-orange tomatoes. I stared at the leaves and stems, and they all looked like quirky little human figures plopped on top of perfect spheres. How were they like the friends of my life? After a few decades of many kinds of relationships, here are a few examples:
The adorable yet precariously placed stem on a gorgeous orange orb that you’ve always loved and loves you back.
Ah, there’s the split tomato: an overripe friendship that just isn’t working anymore.
The awkwardly askew leaves: hard to get in touch with but great for a laugh and some information when we finally get together.
The hands-up-I’m-done: You want to show them you care because you sense their loneliness and hurt but they want nothing to do with showing any kind of weakness at all so they push you away and think you’re needy.
When I was in first grade, I had two incidents happen to me that affected my chromatic view on life. The first was a game of musical chairs, the second was a tug of war.
During a music class, my sweet-faced teacher decided to line up the chairs for a game of musical chairs. The upbeat music played, we ran; I got a chair. Over and over I got a chair, until it was just me and one other kid. Is it interesting that I can’t even remember the name or even the face of my rival? Because my rival was the faceless crowd, as I walked around the one chair with this other child I could hear the whole class saying their name (and I can’t remember that name! it wasn’t mine…).
Of course the other kid got the chair when the music stopped, and I went to my desk and started tearing up. I didn’t cry because I lost, I cried because I remember everyone else wanted that other kid to win. That’s when my teacher decided to play Dionne Warwick’s “That’s What Friends are For” on the record player. I felt a few little hands pat me on the back. Dear god, that’s when I really started to cry. But I can laugh about it now. (ha!)
Then there was the tug-of-ware incident. The girls in my class at the time had split into two factions: the norms and the avante-garde. The norms were neatly braided, had their laces tied tightly enough to not come undone and were just lovely. They moved as one in a tightly linked pack, confident and sure of themselves but not really doing anything innovative.
The other girls were different. One never seemed to have her hair brushed but wore colorful shirts, one was a full foot taller than everyone else and swam in what might have been her Mom’s clothing, and there was a kid that was always in a dream world and only occasionally made eye contact but was super interesting when words came our of her mouth. They did more than jump rope and I remember there were odd games invented all the time, involving new ways to bounce a ball against a wall or exploring the absolute edges of the playground fields.
I did like everyone, and tried to split my time between the two groups. At one point, there was a face off and a decision had to be made. While I was playing with the off beat girls, the power play group came over and said that they wanted me to play with them. I said OK, not thinking it a big deal. Then my other group of pals said we were having fun, and the other group could have me tomorrow. One girl took my hand, and gently began to lead me away. Then a girl from the other group took my other hand, and pulled me gently the other way. Then the pulls became not so gentle. I went from hot commodity to a resource two groups were fighting for, and as I was getting pulled forcefully. A teacher finally broke things up. After that both groups resented me. My Mom put me in a different school the next year.
What’s your attachment type?
Atlantic article The Trait That ‘Super Friends’ Have in Common was a little clickbaity as titles go, but I drilled into the main point that some people believe they should get treated well, and … wind up getting treated well!
A friend was talking about how construction costs for a home project keep creeping up. “Maybe it’ll be done by the holidays?” Everyone started laughing at what I said. What can I say, I’m an optimist. This goes with people, as I assume people want to help and trust me but sometimes I get burned. “Why would you waste your time getting to know someone that you can tell doesn’t care about you?” is something close friends have told me in the past, but in spite of this warning I tend to feel that everyone is nuanced and sometimes there are pleasant surprises.
Do I have this??
“People with pronoia possess the delusion that, despite any evidence to the contrary, others want the best for them.”
No. Well, maybe? I think I’m somewhere between anxious and secure, which probably balances out to some kind of weird normal at least for me. Unless you give me the finger while I’m out driving, I’m likely to think you’re going to help me out if my tire goes flat on the side of the road.
Do you have any friendship stories to share?