Really? Who wants to eat that at one sitting? For breakfast? Besides…where would you even order that?
As I sat across from my best friend at IHOP this past Sunday and was totally grossed out by what I was watching her eat at 8am for breakfast, I was also overcome by gratitude for this unexplainable, unlikely friend I have.
How we met
I met Ginger 10 years ago in an unlikely setting. I had new neighbors who were from Colombia and they invited us over for the first of many parties they would host during their 8 year residency across the street. My husband’s work doesn’t allow for much of a social life so we decided to go and be social with the new neighbors since they were right across the street and we spoke their language. Nice people, nice party, good laughs, good food, lots of loud music (some live and some provided by a DJ but both LOUD), dancing, singing and plenty of Aguardiente (Firewater). The first thing I noticed was that everyone there was super happy (a little too happy maybe) and wearing what appeared to be a shot glass tied to a leather cord around their necks. We were welcomed with our own personal shot glasses and we proceeded to mingle. Everyone was having a great time including me. I say that because although I do enjoy myself at parties, I am somewhat of a quiet, shy, introverted person who would much rather stay home and read a book, but this was certainly a new experience totally outside my comfort box and frankly after 3 shots I was having fun too. Did I mention I don’t drink?
As the evening progressed and after dancing with a few random people, my husband and I approached the DJ to thank him for his great selection of music and his talent at keeping everyone in a dancing mood. As we prepared to leave, we were approached by the DJ’s wife who politely expressed her disappointment in our early departure since the party was just getting underway. We exchanged a few cordial words and we left. We attended a couple of more parties that year and for the most part the guests were all the same. We became familiar with a few buy not friendly, so it was a surprise when we received an invitation from the DJ and his wife to attend a Three King’s Day party at their house at the end of that year. We gracefully accepted; it would be a good time. That’s how we were thrown together.
We bumped into them a few times here and there in the coming months and they seemed nice enough. My husband and the DJ (they have since divorced) found one think they had in common and so we got together to support the guys in their hobby.
One day as we were doing yard work and the Florida heat was cooking our brains, they pulled up across the street. When they saw us, Ginger walked over and said “You guys need to go for a swim and cool off.” We told her we had no pool only a hot tub. She said “A hot tub…great, let’s go now! I’ll go with you, I need to cool off too!”. My husband and I looked at each other and he reminded her that she had no bathing suit. She assured him she needed no bathing suit that she could wear her birthday suit. She called us party poopers. Awkward moment. We laughed, they left.
Another time we were talking about the need to get away from work and the daily routines of life. She said “Great, we can all go and share a room!”. Told her my husband’s snoring would not make for good roommates, she said no problem, we just wouldn’t let him sleep (wink, wink). Awkward moment. We laughed, they left.
At other times she suggested a pajama party, a visit to a nudist beach, more skinny dipping and room sharing, all of which were met with much resistance, confusion and awkward silence.
We were stumped by here forwardness and her insistence in having us participate in behaviors that were clearly not our thing…so we dubbed her “the swinger”. She’s far from this but forever will be known in our family circle as “my swinger friend”.
Learning from and with each other
She is loud…I am quiet…I found my voice…she is still looking for her volume button
She is aggressively assertive…I am meek…I found confidence…she found balance
She is dangerously adventurous…I am cautious…I’m learning to take risks…she’s learning to be prudent
She is creative…I am uncreative…still working on this one
I can go on and on about all our differences, the things she has taught me, her quirkiness and how we compliment each other everyday but the most important thing I want to share with you is to never undermine the power of differences. It’s easy to surround ourselves with people just like us, but it robs us of the opportunity to know ourselves better and to grow as human beings.
“The rough must always accompany the smooth. Without one or the other one learns nothing about oneself.” ― Solange Nicole
Sitting across from her last Sunday as she scarfed down her IHOP crepes and her 7-11 hot wings I couldn’t help but think that this strange pairing was no different that us. Odd…but it works!