Where's the village?

Friday, October 27, 2006


I have some friends who live a few hours away from here, L and D. They're friends from when they (and I) lived in Portland. Not my best friends, but close enough that we try to get together whenever they come down to the burgh. And close enough that we can while away many hours gabbing and not have those uncomfortable social silences.

They actually come to town more frequently than they'd like, because D has a liver condition that requires that he come to UPMC for treatment a lot. They don't have the facilities he needs in their little town. So down they come, driving 3 hours each way. For a while it was every other month.

This past spring D went on the liver transplant list. Last Thursday, he got the call that there was a liver for him and he should drive down to Pittsburgh right away. So his wife, L, called me at 5:30 on Thursday and asked me if I could find them a hotel.

Pshaw, I said, why not stay here? We've got the room, even with dajamou's grandma staying with us for the week.

They were profuse in their gratitude, and couldn't stop saying thank you thank you thank you every time we talked over the next couple of hours. I understood that this was a last-minute thing and it's hard to ask for help like this of someone you don't see or talk to very often. But I was fine with it. I was more than fine; I was actually grateful to them for needing help from me.

I kept meaning to tell them this, and even prepared a little speech in my head in between the numerous phone calls to plan things like who would sleep where. It went something like this: "Honey. Listen. In the two years I've lived here in Pittsburgh, I have yet to have a friend who is a fraction as close to me as you and all the other Chicks were when we were in Portland. So I can't tell you how good it would make me feel to have someone who doesn't think twice about dropping by and plopping their ass on my couch -- or guest bed, as the case may be. I miss that, I really do. So please. You're doing me a favor by letting me do you this favor."

Or something of the sort. I was feeling all good and clever and eloquent.

Of course, when she called and tried to thank me again, all that cleverness and eloquence came out thusly:

"Shut up, already."

Fortunately, I think she understood anyway.


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