Never before have I celebrated a birthday without my family until today (well, yesterday technically). It was an odd feeling, getting up and going to the Public for my internship without the well-wishes of my family. That’s not to say that I didn’t receive well-wishes from the people here on the trip, but, as I’m sure you can tell, it’s not exactly the same. The folks at the office were kind enough to get cupcakes from Crumbs bakery to celebrate my birthday, which I couldn’t have been more happy with, given that, this time last week, they didn’t even know who I was. I think it says a lot for the quality of people with whom I work.
Then a haircut to clean up my look, as my hair was getting shaggy and unmanageable, and dinner at a deli in Times Square with a few good folks from this trip before heading off to our panel discussion for the evening, right before which I received a birthday phone call from my brother (with Happy Birthday Song rendition and all). After the discussion, we went to a jazz club: the Jazz Standard at 116 E 27th St. We heard a tight hour-long set in the chill backdrop of this basement jazz club, compliments of a fellow student on the trip who got us in sans the twenty dollar cover charge. It was after this event that I started to wonder if my family was going to call me at all for my birthday. Little did I realize, since I had turned my phone off in the jazz club, that my family had left me a voicemail. So, I decided to call them and speak to them in person. It was nice hearing their voices, and I didn’t really realize how much I missed them until I started to say goodbye to my sister. Something about it made me tear up, but I think it’s because, no matter how much we think we can get by without our family, there’s something, somewhere, deep inside of us that always remembers how much they really mean to us and that we need that support and care that really only they can provide.
But I digress; I wanted to take a little time to reflect on a bit of a discussion I had with a friend of mine today (to whom I can either refer to as “my good friend” or “one of my best friends”. as we will find out). This friend referred to me as their “best” friend, and, to be honest, I guess I was a little dumbfounded by it. I’ve always seen the “best friend” designation as a term to be used for that one confidante that you feel so comfortable with you could tell or share anything with them and know that they’ll support you no matter what. Note I say “one”. This friend told me that the term “best friend” really can’t be used unless it’s mutual, which is understandable, but still doesn’t reconcile the exclusivity I feel the term denotes. I mean, I do feel this person is someone that I am close with, closer moreso than I am with a lot of people, but I guess it scares me to use the term “best friend” because, to me, that means there’s no other, just an assortment of good friends that aren’t the “best”, as it were.
It leads me to another point about how close one can really be with another; does the connotation of “best friend” mean that there’s no holds barred, no stone left unturned? I feel that’s something else about being referred to as a “best friend”, but also a reason that it has to be mutual- if I’m not ready to share everything with you, but you are with me, then I can understand why you wouldn’t refer to me as a “best friend”. However, I feel there’s a tipping point with this, only in the case of having a best friend of the opposite sex; if I’m not sharing something with you because it makes me feel uncomfortable, it’s not because I don’t want to, but maybe because I can’t, maybe because I’m afraid that it’ll make you jealous or change the dynamic of our relationship; but, I digress once again, because really, that means that it’s gotta be a two way street- what is shared by one is shared by the other and vice versa- for it to be a designation of being a “best friend”.
NYC is treating me well so far, hopefully better for the next two weeks.
So here’s to twenty years
More for hope and less for fears
Bringing laughs instead of tears
Hearing cheers over jeers
Thanks for twenty wonderful years.