Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Cowboys and Indians

One of my dear friends is expecting her first child this summer. We roomed together our freshman year of college in Texas. She hailed from the exotic foreign land of New Delhi, India and I came from the slightly less exotic, but no less foreign Floyd County, Virginia. We were both considered second-class citizens in Texas though because we weren’t born and bred there.

That’s okay, because second-class in Texas feels a lot like first-class everywhere else. Doors were still held open for us, there were gallons of pleases and thank-yous offered, and we had as much right to eat the superior Mexican food and drink the Dr. Pepper as anyone else. I almost got a Texas green card by marrying a native, but it didn’t work out. I couldn’t name all three of Sam Houston’s wives or recite the years that Roger Staubach was quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys, so I was extradited out of the state.

My Indian (not to be confused with Native American) friend and I both moved away after graduation. And, as fate would have it, we spent a few years in the neighboring states of Ohio and Virginia. (We pretended West Virginia wasn’t there and you can, too.) We visited each other a couple of times and set ourselves up for a lifelong friendship. But then I started having travel prohibitive babies and she and I both moved to other states. Me to North Carolina, and she illegally immigrated back into the Lonestar State. And even with email, Facebook, and that antiquated invention, the telephone, I still miss her.

I miss a lot of people. I think it’s the age I’m at (33.8) that makes me feel so much nostalgia for the good old days. I’d love to take a month and just travel around visiting all of my old friends, from high school and college, and even the friend I’ve had since I was in diapers (32 years ago for the record). That’s not very realistic with my busy life and tight budget, but at some point you have to see those things for what they are: excuses.

The years start piling up and people drift apart despite the best of intentions, and I don’t want that to happen. So, I just took a deep breath, closed my eyes, and bought an airline ticket to go to her baby shower. (It was a figurative eye closing, because I didn’t want to end up with an airline ticket to North Dakota, where I know absolutely no one. Not that I couldn’t make friends in North Dakota. I could. But then I’d have more people that I never get to see because they live far away!)

So, I’m leaving in one week and going to Houston, Texas, where I will see not one, but two college friends and a really good friend from high school. And possibly some people I don’t even know yet. The pregnant Indian texted me today and told me to save some calories and spare pounds for when I’m down there, because the Mexican food is better than ever and BBQ runs freely in the streets now. I may need to stop eating tomorrow so that I can break even at the end of my trip. Ironically, my trainer was congratulating me today on how well I’m doing; I’m leaner, stronger, and faster than ever. I couldn’t look him in the eyes because I knew. I knew that come April 14th, I’d be doing unspeakable things that he’d never approve of. However, I fully intend to pack my running shoes and find a way to make that happen. Even if it’s just running to the closest “to-die-for” ice cream shop.

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