I have been in the US for the holidays and for a little business time, doing my usual east coast lap from Ft. Lauderdale to NYC to DC. It’s a familiar route at this point in my life that’s spread around across two continents, two time zones and two languages.
Before I embark on these multi-week schleps, I try to organize coffees, meetings, lunches, cocktails, dinners, chats, gym dates or whatever to catch up with people, organize more work, get some gossip or even get some love (love has many forms, you filthy freakshow).
As you can imagine, this is not only time consuming trying to organize all these type-A people’s schedules (No, I can’t do Wednesday, I have my shrink or well, if the lawyers get back to me, I won’t be able to do 3pm – that kind of shit), but it’s just nuts to actually follow through and do EVERY SINGLE THING you overcommitted yourself to when you were sitting in the summertime and chilling out. But inevitably after three weeks of dragging your ass through the winter, a cold starts to bud, digits are perpetually frozen and a you have a stump speech on what’s been going on that would make an incumbent senator a little jealous.
Truthfully, it’s all lovely: all the friends, all the festivities, all the food, all the memoires. Everyone is happy to see you; you are happy to see them. But there are other people, the people who you once imbibed with countless glasses of fancy wine and canapés who don’t return your calls or your emails. The people who you thought were friends that once you unplugged from the matrix, no longer want anything to do with you. I don’t have tons of these types but there are some people who have mysteriously disappeared from the universe. Hmmm.
When I first started doing these east coast tours and I didn’t hear back from these ghosts, I felt sort of bad. What happened to my friends? Then I realized that these people were never my friends – they were part of the transactional life that has overtaken life in the big city. And now that I can only regale folks with tales of my wacky Argentine life or third world wanderings, I don’t have something they think of as valuable.
The good news is that people I never thought of as particularly close have also come out of the woodwork, becoming good friends even when I am far away. These people have served as inspiration and support and I am more grateful than ever for them.
I no longer feel bad about these spirits that have disappeared. And I don’t even bother sending those emails anymore, I just enjoy my wonderful, amazing North American friends.