A real friend is someone who you can sit in complete silence with and still walk away feeling like you just had the best conversation of your life. – Unknown
It was Sunday, late afternoon. We were sitting at Colleen’s in Haiku—actually, we were sitting in the third booth I made us move to because it happened to be close to an electrical outlet that allowed me to use my laptop. Sasha wanted to read the paper—New York Times, Sunday edition—and I had a lot of work to do.
We sat in silence for a while, sometimes wordlessly passing random objects: a napkin when I noticed her iced double mocha forming a precarious puddle next to Section B; a sugar packet when the server dropped off my double latte. Neither of us looked up from what we were doing.
“Geez, how long we been married?” Sasha suddenly asked.
“Hunh?” I said, not really listening. “Oh. Could you pass me another sugar? Thanks, dear.”
I was busy thinking about the night before. You see, I know this amazing artist who, periodically, has fabulous parties out in Kaupo involving the latest works of his artist friends, music, wine, tantalizing food prepared in his outdoor kitchen and wood-fired stove and an international lounge-y ambience in his open-air, raised platform living room, a.k.a. Mediterranean stage of the gods.
Anytime I’ve attended one of these soirees, I’m always shy at first. I walk around the outskirts of the group, stopping to contemplate a painted goddess or the bowls of chopped herbs in the cucina. But inevitably, I dip a toe in socially and get involved in long artistic conversations with fascinating people I’ve never met, I eat too much pasta, somebody’s smile makes me blush and I develop yet another crush on some exotic stranger whose name I can never remember but usually ends in “o.”
Most importantly, I get high with inspiration, then wonder why I don’t come to these parties more often. Maybe it’s the two-hour drive it takes to get out there. Of course, I could have carpooled with friends but on this particular night I was looking forward to a little quality alone time with Rocky, my Jeep.
My need to fly solo came because lately, I’ve been a little frustrated with my friends. Some never call, others call at the wrong times, still others only call when they’re drunk and trying to divert attention from the cops standing outside Honolulu strip clubs—and they all just weren’t recognizing my crabby, overstressed holiday mood as a pathetic plea for attention. Silly, silly friends.
I guess what I needed was a little time spent with strangers out in the middle of nowhere—in a way, to be truly quiet and liberated. Sometimes the comfort of close friendship can be stifling, especially when you know that true friends will accept you even when you’re shy, crabby or distracted temporarily and completely ignoring them.
It’s that pressure—like not enjoying the sunshine when you live on Maui—that sometimes keeps you from appreciating a gift like real, lasting, long-term, almost connubial friendship.
This I thought about as I sat in the booth at Colleen’s, in between the Christmas tree and Sasha, who stopped to peer out at me over her newspaper.
“You know, I never realized how many ‘things’—issues—I have,” she said, looking all cute and ponderous. “They seem to multiply as I get older, too.”
“Really?” I said. “I have no idea what you mean.”
Samantha Campos wishes Hollywood would make another damn holiday film as good as Frosty the Snowman, but only if they can figure out how to have it narrated posthumously by Burl Ives. MTW