Friendship Can Sometimes Last Less Than a New York Minute
In 2007, my husband Pete very casually said to me, “CNBC has some interest in me joining them for one of their shows”. Then he just went back to doing whatever he was doing like it was no big deal. I stood there in amazement wondering why he was so nonchalant. There’s really never a possibility of me A) keeping my mouth shut or B) not trying to make a plan. I immediately started peppering him with questions as if it was going to be some life-saving decision that we needed to make.
Well, it was a life-changing decision, and Pete almost let it slip by. I grew up never holding my tongue — for good or for bad. I wasn’t going to hold my tongue in this situation either. Thank goodness! Pete took the job at CNBC and has worked there for the last 13 years. The job was never intended to be his primary source of income, but the opportunities that it has created for his “real job” have been immeasurable.
Here’s how it played out
CNBC is headquartered in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, just over the George Washington Bridge. However, the show that Pete was asked to be on, Fast Money, was the only show that was not filmed at HQ. It was filmed at the NASDAQ in Times Square. (You may have seen the building on shows or movies. It’s the rounded building on the corner next to the police station on Broadway. It shows the blue stock market ticker on the outside, and if you happen to watch Dick Clark’s New Year's Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest, it’s one of the buildings next to the one that drops the ball at midnight.)
How fun, I thought, to visit that place! This California Girl had never stepped foot in New York. Why should I? Doesn’t California have everything a person would ever need? Big cities, beaches, mountains, deserts, glamorous shopping?! I don’t even need to answer that rhetorical question do I? There is no doubt that I was naive in my younger years, but by then I had wised up and fully realized the potential of Pete working in New York.
After squeezing information out of Pete, I had enough detail to allow me to start planning our next big adventure. They seemed to be courting him, so I took advantage of the situation to make a big move East attractive to our kids, Lex and Kole.
Influence? Manipulation? Whatever it takes.
So the four of us spent an entire week in New York CIty. We stayed at the Marriott Marquis in Times Square, and walked the streets like the true tourists that we were. Dylan Ratigan, who at the time was the host of the show, doubled as a tour guide and showed us around Chinatown, Canal Street, and SoHo.
Audrey was one of the first people I spoke with about my plan. I had grandiose ideas in my head and once again, was not going to hold my tongue. So I asked for an appointment with a make-up artist at Barney’s up by Central Park. Our daughter, Lex’s 14th birthday was coming up and I thought it was a great way for her to learn how to put on make-up properly. (Who would’ve known years later she would be competing in Miss USA where make-up application is critical?)
Our son, Kole was only nine at the time and riding the horse-drawn carriages at Central Park convinced him that New York was the greatest place on earth.
When we returned to our humble town of Western Springs, Pete and I had a chat about seizing the opportunity and moving East. It was a risky decision since we would be taking our kids from the only home, school, friends, and town they had ever known. I was accustomed to change, but Pete was the opposite. So I encouraged him and the kids that this would be a fun adventure and new friends would surely be made in no time.
We Made the Move
Yep. We moved east and lived in Connecticut for the next seven years. The town we lived in was filled with transplants. It seemed I had maybe two or so friends that were actually from New Canaan, the rest were there because it was a convenient place to live if you worked in New York City. The commute was only about an hour by train, and that is perceived as a standard commute time for those going into the most populated city in the nation.
Lex went to eighth grade through graduating high school there. Kole started in fourth grade and was halfway through his sophomore year in high school when we decided to move to Minnesota. Both Kole and Lex seemed to be just OK with their friends; they both struggled to identify with their peers. I admit I felt the same way about mine. I typically don’t focus on bad friend stories, but this blog I will divulge the hard times I endured in Connecticut.
All that Glitters…
During those seven years, I had a handful of new friends. But through Lex’s basketball team, I met a gal who I thought was the bees knees. I admit I was searching for someone who understood me and I them. Someone who shared my same vision about parenting, clothing, cooking, music, traveling, and just being ourselves. This woman, let’s just call her “Mary”, was all of that and more. The bonus was that our husbands shared the same fondness for each other as Mary and I did.
We were inseparable for about a year. We ate at each other's homes almost every Friday night. On Saturdays, we went out for dinner. By Sunday we felt like family and chose to be together that day also. For the most part our kids got along, although Lex was never a fan of their five daughters. But, at this point she was old enough to spend time with her own friends so it was okay. Kole was always with us and got along famously, in particular with their youngest.
In September of that second year of friendship, Mary became distant. Our relationship went from texting at least a half a dozen times an hour all day to texting maybe twice a week. Even a two year old could figure out something was amiss.
So, again, not holding my tongue, I confronted her. I asked very specifically why our relationship had changed so dramatically. All she would say to me was, “no nothing is wrong, we are just busy”. I knew that was a line of crap and it was hurtful. From there we faded away despite my effort to rectify whatever it was that was wrong. She then never spoke to me. What a horrible feeling to lose such a dear friend and not know why. I cried myself to sleep for months.
Once Bitten...not Twice Shy
Then about two years later, Kole was invited to come over and hang out with their youngest. It was during American Idol season—a show Mary and I always loved together. That day when Kole was there, Mary texted me to ask if I wanted her to drive him home. Listen girlfriends, I was shocked. I didn’t know what to do or say. So I just said, “Sure! And then you and (her husband) can watch Idol with us if you want.” And they did! From that moment on, we were back to the way we were before.
I was very careful not to ruin our friendship again, but curiosity was killing me. So, one night while out to dinner, I asked what happened. She didn’t definitively tell me the issue, but what I understood was that I became friends with someone that she didn’t like, therefore decided to drop me. I have never described myself as desperate, but when someone gives an excuse like that, it should be a glaring red flag. And guess what? She dropped me a second time. Same way as before except she gave a different excuse.
Of Course There’s a Lesson
That was a tough lesson to learn. I love girlfriendships, but I have suffered from many of them. Many have been less than optimal, but so many have been perfect. I have learned my lesson, and these days I am very selective about with whom I choose to spend time. My heart has been scarred, but I will never stop loving. I can look at Mary as an unfortunate time in my life or I can be appreciative that I had that time to expand and learn a new lesson—that sometimes friendships last only a New York minute.
I love that you were with me today. See you next week (when I put out the green piece of construction paper!