Friends are Slip-and-Slides and Tambourines

November 13, 2012

You might have seen me in the tabloids over the weekend.

We were in Los Angeles for a couple of days, and whenever I go near Hollywood I assume that I will be accidentally photographed, since I am blonde and wear large sunglasses. It seems like the sort of thing that happens there all the time.

In fact, I used to avoid Los Angeles because I worried that I would be discovered and I wasn’t sure I was ready for that kind of attention. L.A. felt like this forced invitation to be a celebrity. I wasn’t into it. Now that auto-tune can fix a singing voice and photoshop can both slenderize and beautify, it felt like my vibrant personality would mandate Hollywood attention. Maybe I didn’t want that life, okay?

Then again… Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad to high-five George Clooney or offer Angeline Jolie a hamburger. I assume that this is what being a celebrity entails.

While we were in L.A., I got to spend some time with some pretty friends who deserve legitimate discovery.  They can act and sing and the camera actually makes them look 10lb thinner, which is weird and awesome.

Relationship with these friends is so easy that it feels like a slip-and-slide. It is fast-paced, hilarious, and entertaining for hours. I love the kind of relationships that are fun and also make me feel comfortable in a bathing suit.

Spending time with slip-and-slide friends makes me wish that all relationships were that easy. It makes me wish I could leave every social event thinking, “Man. That was a hoot.”

Mostly I wish I just said the word “hoot” more.

These relationships are a rarity, which makes them more special. Everyone has three to five relationships in their life that are pure work. (That is not a statistic, just an arbitrary number I included for effect.) We work on these relationships and cultivate a bit of maturity mixed with a moderated sense of humor. Most of us strive to improve our small-talk game plan, cultivating a set of stories that solicit the desired reaction of humor, admiration, or commonality. So much of life is just working at harmony. So much of life is work. Period.

But then we get around slip-and-slide friends and they remind us how to celebrate. This sort of celebration feels like a riot. It feels crowded in a way, because you have so much to talk about and so much closeness to share that celebration feels urgent and present at the same time. It feels like a tambourine sounds.

I’m so thankful for friends that feel like slip-and-slides, because in seasons marked by growing pains and the occasional heartbreak, we need some friends to feel like a vacation. We need strategic friends to remind us to celebrate, when otherwise we would just stand around discussing the weather and gas prices.

As I write this, I’m not just thinking of one or two friends, I’m thinking of a dozen life-saving, life-celebrating friends.  I’m thinking of phone calls and e-mails and special weekend visits that put breath in my lungs and confidence in the journey, like a slap on the back that says, “keep going.”

Friends help us survive with necessary doses of levity.

This is a month of thankfulness and today I am thankful for my slip-and-slide friends, the ones who feel like a tambourine sounds. They make celebration inevitable, which is a relief when the fight for harmony wears us out on other fronts in other relationships that are necessary in their own way.

Perhaps you have slip-and-slide friends like this, too, and today feels like a good day to celebrate. You might consider passing these words along to them, since everyone likes a surprise “hoot” of a tambourine. Do it quickly, before I get discovered, so that you can take the credit for any popularity I may gain. It will be like a secret that hides beneath oversized sunglasses.

Friends make us feel safe in a way that doesn’t require sunglasses or makeup or hiding in any way. Because through them we know that we have already been discovered. Our friends know all the parts worth discovering and have endured the parts worth photoshopping. They are the ones that make us feel found. It is like a discovery that feels more like a rescue.

So let’s celebrate



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