A couple of nights ago, my friend Tulip called from Long Beach. Some of you who have been around this blog since the beginning will remember Tulip because I mentioned her in some of my first posts here on EEOTPB. Tulip and I were really good friends at one time, but we had a falling out over nothing really and although neither of us was truly angry at the other, we fell out of touch over an inappropriate barb aimed at a political personality who shall remain nameless here.
That’s the way most old friendships end. All is going well, and then there are a couple of terse words about something nonsensical and the phone goes dead and stays dead forever. These days there is no telephone receiver to slam down in its cradle in disgust. No telephone booth to rush forth from in the middle of a rainy night, leaving the receiver dangling from its cord…just the dead weight of a smart phone, heavy in your hand, which can be immediately redirected to social media to confirm whatever we need to confirm about our own particular viewpoint or belief. In the end, I think we all might be better friends if we had landlines tethered to the earth.
So, until two days ago, I had not spoken to Tulip in years. But she sent me a card at Christmas this past year saying she’d remarried and was moving to Long Beach, and her new husband was recently furloughed from one of the airlines where he’d worked for more than a decade as a flight attendant. She told me she had given up smoking and she had been watching lots of YouTube videos. She was painting. She was drinking red wine instead of gin. She said she was taking vitamins every day and she and Gavin (not his real name) were planning a trip to Costa Rica in the fall. She was walking ten thousand steps a day and she wanted to go zip lining in the rain forest. She told me she was going to Weight Watchers and reading a book a week. Gavin was taking cooking classes online.
We talked about the day we met in Muir Woods in 1980 and about how she’d driven out to California from Minnesota in the late 70s to work for a paint company in the Bay Area.
But all of that was in the past. Like Reaganomics and the Carter administration. Like B1B Bob Dornan. But this is today, and the pandemic had hit Tula and Gavin hard. Tulip wanted to move to Phoenix, but Melvin hated the desert. I suggested Tacoma but Tulip cut me off. Fed Ex was at the door she said, and she had to go. Fed Ex was delivering dog food for their rescue Chihuahua named Minnie Pearl.
Then it was time to go. I told Tulip I was happy for her new life. I suggested that they move to Denver, but she said no. Gavin is not a skier. I suggested the Midwest, but she said it wasn’t in her blood any longer. St. Paul had left her drained even after all these years. She said the winters would kill her. It was all over in an instant. Tulip went her way and I went mine and she said she’d call back in a couple of weeks.