Weekend visitors left, earlier this afternoon. We hugged and kissed, energetically waved each other goodbyes and yelled promises to see each other soon as their car drove away.
These people are close friends. We don’t feel squeamish about their rooting around in the refrigerator, linen closet, bookshelves and piles of books, studio, workshop or music collection. They really are like family, in that they are free to come and go in our lives, go away and return again, as they prefer, with the understanding that we share our lives and spaces in full respect of each others’ preferences and peccadilloes. To my friend’s wife, I am known as “The Stepford Wife”, a mislabelling if there ever was one. To me, she is “The Obsessive/Compulsive Shopaholic”. My friend, we tend to tease and call “The Prissy German Tourist”, and my husband, “Rumpole”. Our visits together could be the stuff of a quirky TV situation comedy. Our visits back and forth from each other’s homes are exhilerating, exasperating, exhausting fun!
My friend “The Prissy German Tourist” and I, “The Stepford Wife” share a keen interest in music, perception, art and films. Every time one of these topics are insinuated into conversations, “Rumpole” and “The Obsessive/Compulsive Shopper” roll their eyes and forcefully change the subject. On Sunday afternoon, my friend and I wanted to pore over a book, about Damien Hirst, that he had found remaindered at a book sale. We needed merely two hours in which to look and share our impressions about what was illustrated and written. The “OCS” was miffed! “Rumpole” had to drive her to her chosen shopping destination for the afternoon, after which he could escape to visit with a friend. Friend and I spent two heavenly hours, looking over the “Spot Paintings”, the installations with drugs and medical paraphernalia, and the infamous shark, sheep and cowsheads in vitrines. On looking at the butterfly paintings I decided they were too glib. So we segued into a what-if conversation about coating a surface with fly-paper glue and letting flies become adhered to the surface, randomly, in what we decided to dub a “Cage-ian” method. Nah, too easy we decided. So friend and I had a wonderful time, immersed in a mutual interest. Much to our irritation, our flights of fancy and brilliant discussion were frequently interrupted by the “OCS”, as in, when were we going to pick her up and bring her home, etc., etc. We decided to let her cool her heels in browsing her favourite decor store, and after a sufficient time had passed, friend dutifully drove off to fetch her highness.
“Rumpole” sloped in near the dinner hour, bearing the requisite bottle of red. A young writer friend and her husband, mutual friends to all four of us, were expected for dinner. As I, “The Stepford Wife” scrambled around assembling dinner, “Rumpole” and “The Prissy German Tourist” repaired to the study to play with Photoshop. “The Obsessive/Compulsive Shopaholic” unwrapped her afternoon’s purchases, sniffed and fondled them, daydreamed about what a wonderful enrichment to her life these items represented. Annoyingly, she kept barging into the kitchen, swathed in a 600 thread count sheet, to make me “feel” how wonderfully luxe this sheet felt. I threatened to baste her and her sheet in butter, at which point she withdrew, sniffing in chagrin, to traipse around in her buying induced stupour in the living room.
The young couple arrived. We ate, and milled around in shifting groups of three, from room to room, discussing our recent trips, doings and plans. At one point, the young writer friend discussed her research into the lives of Ukranian immigrants to Canada in the early part of the 20th century. She had trouble wrapping her imagination around just how difficult life for familes living in pit structures in the Prairies, with scant access to necessities, may have been. So we all discussed at length stories of family experiences from an earlier time, and just how challenging daily life must have been for those people.
At 10pm, “Rumpole” retired to bed – he could no longer take any more stimulation. The rest of us disbanded, sometime later, and reluctantly, for we do not have the opportunity to visit like this very often and we revel in such occasions.
This afternoon has been one of slow moving, and doings of little, mundane tasks for me. This quiet rhythm is necessary to decompress from the stimulus obtained from such visits. I feel old and worn right now. However, when these friends come to stay and visit, I feel ageless, full of energy and curiosity, and I am so glad!