Wednesday, 18 August 2010

An (Unhelpful) Meditation on the Nature of Friendship.

I am going to starve if I keep buying sandwiches for lunch. I never get to eat the damned things, as The Boss always does, either without my knowledge, or as part of an emergency diversionary tactic. Today should be different, though - as I have arranged to meet Pat for lunch. I haven't seen her for a good couple of months, or more - but I've decided to make an effort to be more sociable.

She looks well, and we spend the whole lunch hour talking nineteen to the dozen, wondering why we don't get together more often. It's only when I get back to work, and Greg asks me how it went, that I realise that Pat didn't ask me anything about my life. Not one single thing. The whole conversation was about her. Her job, her boss, her (admittedly-disastrous) love-life, her (largely-imaginary) fatigue. If we'd been set a multiple-choice test straight afterwards, I'd have scored 100% on my specialist subject: Pat's Life 2010, while she'd have been hard-pressed to answer Question One: Who Is Molly Bennett? I am nothing but a pair of ears, and I don't even merit feather-tipped earrings.

When I get home, I ask Max what he thinks about Pat.

"She's all right," he says, without any noticeable enthusiasm.

"Do you think she might be a bit self-absorbed?" I say.

"Duh, yeah," he says. "But then all your friends are. And most of your family."

God, how depressing. Am I so boring that no-one wants to ask me anything about myself? Or is it that my role in life is just to be a sounding-board for other people? I wonder what Pat would have said if I'd told her I was having a virtual affair with an International Director of a Global Oil Company. Probably that she was having an affair with Johnny's CEO, now I come to think of it. She'd feel compelled to go one better. She always does.

I'm a bit disturbed by this discovery, and it gets worse when I start thinking about my other friends. Especially the female ones. Where is the evidence for this sisterly bond we're all supposed to share? It feels more like a one-way street. I am mixing my metaphors all over the place, but then there probably isn't anyone listening anyway, so it doesn't matter. Oddly, it seems that Johnny is the only person who ever asks me how I am, and actually waits for the answer. Apart from Greg. Good God. I knew things were bad, but this bad?

And that's not even counting listening to bloody consituents' problems. Maybe I could suggest that we strike a deal when they phone up. If their problem is worse than mine, I will listen to them. If mine is worse than theirs, then they have to listen to me. Might give the usual suspects something useful to do for a change. For radical policy initiatives, look no further. I am a walking goldmine of ideas for useful changes to our public services.


  1. From whence do you get it all? Real life? I despair.
    Love it. Keep it coming!

  2. Of course it's from real life - though I wish it wasn't!