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2006-02-12 - 9:43 a.m.

blizzards and lost friends

The snow falls and I am very happy! I will probably go out and play in a little bit. I'm already geared up in my stay-warm-it's-snowy clothing. I have the candles at the ready to maximize the weather-outside-is-frightful sensation.


I think because it is the only time when the city is quiet. The cars are off the street. The level of stress is lowered, if only because everyone recognizes that nothing will get done on time anyway, so we might as well give up to it.

This storm reminds me of a wonderful visit from my German friend a year ago - to see The Gates in Central Park. I loved seeing NYC and meeting new people through her curious and gentle eyes.

But then I was also reflecting on friendships I seem to have lost to time and distance. Two of my closest friends from Germany have not been in contact with me for at least eight months. I send them occasional emails. I try to evoke a response by sending short, one-liner emails - these surely do not take effort for a reply. They require a short, one-liner response, yes? But I've not heard from either of them.

It saddens me very much because of their importance to me, because I wish that I were still a part of their lives. I guess it is time to try a different tactic - a phonecall, an attempted postcard.

I sometimes wonder if their lack of response is some reflection on how I've turned out. I feel that I used to be a happier, livelier, more spontaneous and fun person. For the last two years I've settled into a rather depressing and solitary existence. An example is right now - I would love to go out and play in the snow WITH someone. My closest friends are (a) too far away, (b) asleep at this time of morning (and wouldn't appreciate a phonecall..). Many of my entries contain this type of whinging - perhaps I'm just getting boring and monotonous.

But I think that a more likely explanation is just the sad reality that distance and time simply separates our lives. I have many old friends whom I love and remember with fondness and laughter - but I still do not contact them because, well, I just don't. I'd like to think that somewhere out there at some moment during their daily lives, they are still thinking of me, and still maintaining a mental and spiritual connection that I simply cannot feel at the moment.

The two friends about whom I'm writing now are rather different from each other, but have similar uplifting effects on me; they are full of life; full of thoughts; full of passion and laughter.

The first friend was my closest friend and playmate during her year in Germany. She worked for the local e-commerce empire (back in the time when e-commerce empires existed..). We first met on a group daytrip down to the castle of Charlotte von Stein, Goethe's famous lover (rumored to have inspired Goethe's Gretchen in Faust). It was a lovely, spontaneous day complete with gardens, castle ruins, oompah bands, fields of daisies and poppies, lots of goofing around, and German beer. She and I bonded of cats, as she offered to take care of my cat for a couple months while I moved to an apartment where cats were allowed.

And then we wound up being party mates - going out until all hours, introducing ourselves to strangers, doing slightly crazy (albeit innocuous) things on a dare, just to stir things up a little bit.

We took short trips to Dresden, but our most momentous adventure to me was our trip to Prague. We sat on a train, drinking wine and distributing it to our Czech trainmates in paper dixie cups with cartoon dogs that said, "I LIKE you!", we licked peanut butter off our fingers when we ran out of apples, and discussed the cunnilingus article in the prized issue of Cosmopolitan magazine that we scored from the Leipzig train station press stand. (I should note that I am not normally a Cosmo reader. But Cosmo, like most English literature, was not available in our small town. It *was* however available at the Leipzig train station, for an astounding cost of about $10 USD. The Leipzig Hauptbahnhof press stand became a literary Oasis, and the occasional Cosmo was elevated to a comic luxury that we savored together).

Our two-day trip to Prague was packed with bizarre memories like that. We stayed in a hostel-from-hell, but remember it for the moment we blasted Manu Chao across the breakfast room as much as we do for the most disgusting public showers I've ever seen. In fact, the whole YEAR was packed with memories like that. We had a wonderful, wild time together, meeting new people. But it wasn't all parties - my dearest memories are long telephone calls, and our semi-regular breakfast at Stilbruch, where we'd listen to Frank Sinatra or ABBA music while drinking down our milchkaffee, morgenmuffel, and the funfer breakfast (so named because it cost five marks). This was usually followed by three hours in front of the beauty supplies at Mueller - trying on perfumes, lotions, makeup... Even after her move to SF, she comforted me when my cat died, and was there when I first adopted Mizzy and Lyra.

I haven't seen this friend since December, 2003, over two years. So perhaps that is why our communication has become so limited. I am terrible with written communication these days, and so I have not really been very good at writing letters to her. But I miss her, and I'd like to have her back.


The second friend is someone whom I met through the first friend. She worked at the same e-commerce empire, and she became one of my dearest confidants. She is a fascinating woman from the UK, versed in so many languages and so very very smart and well-read. And bubbly, positive, and fun. She always claimed that she wasn't really a party person (which sort of makes me wonder what her vision of a party person was...). I was never bored with her, and always liked hearing about her home. She shared a similar magnetism as with the first friend, an infectious excitement and interest in life. She and I kept in closer touch, and she even visited me in NYC in 2004, on her way to an academic conference.

I potentially understand this friend's silence a bit more. In spite of her bubbly exterior she is more prone to periods of melancholy - or times where I think she feels as though her personal identity is a little lost. During those times, she tends to disconnect, at least in her communications with me. I know that her life has changed tremendously since our friendship together in Germany - she has moved countries multiple times in search of what she wants - or just because that is where life has taken her. I sometimes wonder if, in her instance, that her lack of communication stems from some sense that I don't approve of her, because she has moved beyond the goals she had set for herself five years ago (at least, I THINK she has...we haven't spoken in so long that I don't even think I know the country where is living!). The truth is, I don't mind what her goals are. I don't mind who her current partner is. I'd just like to have her communication back. She is so well-read, thoughtful, and interesting. I am concerned that she has gone through a major life change, and somehow associates me with the previous life, and therefore I am part of the history she has thrown off instead of her present. But I cannot believe that she would change so much so as to lose that sharp witty edge, intelligence, and humor that I valued so much.


Anyway, these are the thoughts on my mind on this snowy day. I should probably just put them aside and go frolic in the snow!! I love snow.

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