Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Who is your oldest friend (i.e., the friend you have known the longest)? How often do you see or talk to each other? Do your close friends tend to sta

I dedicate this entry to Vicki and Shirin: new friends with a future.


Heather A woman in her mid thirties, married and mother to two children under 5

Jamie A woman in her late thirties, married and mother to 4 or 5 little yapper dogs

Jeff Heather’s husband

Scene: Heather is sitting on her bed with what use to be a snowy white down comforter thrown over her legs. She is flipping through a book and glancing at the television screen every once in a while, but largely unaware of its content. The cell phone rings.

Heather: Hello?

Jamie: Hi!

Heather: Hey! How are you?

Jamie: I’m good and yourself.

Heather: No real complaints. So, what do I owe for the honor?

Jamie: (laughs) Oh nothing. You’re money isn’t worth as much as your friendship.

Heather: Oh goodness. You must be needing something big. Flattery will get you everything. Keep it coming. What’s up?

Jamie: Not too much. I just had some free time and thought I would see how you and the rest of the clan are. I’m also driving through Madison on my way to Door County in a few weeks and thought I would see if you were going to be around if I had time to stop in.

Heather: Yeah, cool. I’d love to see you. We are gone this weekend, but should be home for the next few. When do you think you would be driving through? Maybe you could stop in and say hi to the little ones and then we could ditch them for lunch or something.

Jamie: That would be fun, but I really have no idea when I’d be passing by. I could call you a few days before and give you a better idea.

Heather: Sure! That works. Tell, what’s going on in your life? Are the dogs well? Toni still liking school and winning awards?

Jamie: The dogs are well! Except for Daisy. She has a slipped disc.

Heather: Oh no! What happened?

Acting Direction: Heather phases out. She has been here many times before. She will be hearing about Daisy’s slipped disc ordeal for the next ten to fifteen minutes. She is very aware of the correct timing to deliver the perfunctory oh’s, uh-huh’s, aww’s, and what are you going to do. She is more engrossed in the TV program about humpback whales.

Heather: I’m sorry, what was the last thing you said? I was momentarily distracted and missed the last sentence or two.

Jamie: Oh, just wondering about your kids. Are they getting big?

Heather: They are growing so fast. Xander knows how to read and Eva is a little performing monkey. Actually, she is more of a parrot the way she imitates everything her big brother says and does. It’s cute but annoying.

Jamie: I can just imagine. What about Jeff? Is he doing well?

Heather: He’s great. When is the last time you saw him?

Jamie: Oh. I’m not sure. It must have been at least, let me see, probably two or three years ago.

Heather: Oh, well then he has lost about 50 pounds. He looks good and feels so much better. Emdat is still slowly kicking his butt. He’s back on the swing of thinking maybe the paycheck isn’t worth it.

Jamie: Yeah… that’s tough!

Heather: And how is Toni?

Jamie: He’s great. He is still loving school. You know it was such a good thing, although unconventional, that we did.

Acting Direction: Heather tunes out for the most part, much like before. She is slightly more attentive. She knows the plot, but needs to know the details in order to answer correctly.

Heather: Wow! That’s great. I’m glad things are going so well for him. Well, both of you guys really!

Jamie: What about the rest of the old UD gang? Everyone still there and doing well?

Heather: When was the last time we talked? About 3 months ago? Or maybe 6?

Jamie: I’m pretty sure it was in July. I think we were talking about how crazy busy summers get.

Heather: So about 5 months then. Okay… well John and Shelly are expecting their first baby. Jeremy’s wedding is coming up. Haven’t talked to the Saliga’s. Theresa moved in with us. Ed practically lives in our back yard…. Less thana mile away.

Jamie: That reminds me, is their divorce final?

Heather: Yes. It has been for almost a year now. Maybe longer.

Jamie: Do you remember in college when we pledged Gammas how bad Theresa was at that dance. Oh my God! We had to keep doing it over and over. I was getting so mad!

Heather: Yes! Do you remember how you totally broke down. You yelled at me for not going to a meeting I knew nothing about, but before I could respond you were in tears because you had to feed your dogs steak because pledging was so demanding of your time you couldn’t get out to buy them food.

Acting Direction: The passing of time should be shown to demonstrate that the memories continue to ebb for quite sometime. There is a knock on the door.

Jeff: Hey. Who are you talking to?

Heather: Jamie. What do you need?

Jeff: Are you almost done? The kids are begging for you to give them a hug and kiss. They are already tucked into bed.

Heather: Okay. I’ll be there in a couple of minutes. Let me wrap this up.

Hey Jamie, I have to go. The kids are wanting. Listen, give me a call when you are headed through Madison and think you can stop. Otherwise I will talk to you in our usual few months or so.

Jamie: No problem. Okay. I’ll give you a call. Tell everyone I said hi and give your kids hugs from me!

Heather: Will do. Have a good night and I look forward to hopefully seeing you soon and if not, talking with you.

Jamie: Sounds great! Bye.

Heather: Mmm-hmmm, bye!

Acting Direction: Heather hangs up the phone and climbs slowly out of bed. She misses the warmth of the comforter, but knows that her kids will not go to sleep until she makes at least a brief appearance. After providing the requisite hugs and kisses, she leaves the kids’ room and heads downstairs presumably to sit on the big black contemporary chair and disrupt her husband from working on his computer.

Jeff: How’s Jamie?

Heather: She’s good. She says hi.

Jeff: What did you talk about?

Heather: Same ol’ same ol’. Dogs and their never ending surgeries. Toni and school. The fact she will be driving through. We won’t see her. You know how it is. There is never time once she is actually on the road. Oh, what else? Update on the college friends and then college memories. You know, the usual.

Jeff: For as long as you guys sit on the phone, you would think you were the BFF who found each other after many years.

Heather: Reminiscing takes time. And I am a little old to have a BFF. It’s more like I know people, call them friends or not, and we have a lot of history but no real future. It’s always about the past. But, I appreciate my past with her more than most others

Jeff: That’s not very friendly.

Heather: Maybe not. But it’s true. And I know what you are going to say, “Go out and make some new ones.” Trust me, I try. Nothing seems to pan out. I guess I just have poor social skills or maybe I just stink of desperation. Either way, I appreciate my old friends and plan to keep them around as long as they’re willing, even if our relationships ebb and flow.


  1. I was fascinated on the very different ways we each approached this.
    I like your "play" idea. You definitely have a like for showing not telling your audience/reader.
    I also like the gentel switches between nartive and more "play" like format.

    The two parts that I think could need some work are firstly I think there may be a better way to slide between play and narrative.. I am not sure what but I thing "Action Direction" is awkward. The second is the narrative paragraph starting "Acting Direction: Heather hangs up the phone..." I think either there is something missing earlier or just too much excess thoughts.

    Over all I like it.

  2. I would agree on the action direction. It was late and I was out of other ideas at the time. Not that I have a better one today. I'll think about it.

    And maybe the bigger problem with the specific one is that I switched too quickly from 'friendship' to life. Maybe instead of missing the warmth of the comforter, I should have missed the warmth of talking with a close friend, but finding warmth in my children's embraces... or the chaos of routine.

    Does need more thought though... but I guess that is what happens when it is spontaneous and not planned out.