Thursday, September 07, 2006

Every murderer is probably somebody's old friend*

I'm in a quandry. Opening myself up to some advice here, people. This is the situation:

I have a friend (this may be the quandry) who I've known for several years. When we met, she was applying for a job that I had held and I was part of the interviewing process. Then I became her trainer (not her boss) and over time and many conversations on breaks and over lunches, I found out she had lived in the same town I did at one point in my life as a child... and she had a couple of children. Things we had in common. Gradually, time passed and her husband began cheating on her, and our conversations were based on all the issues and emotions that pass through a family when there is such infidelity... and divorce. I was her support system through it all and beyond. On into the future when she found another man, got married (I was her matron of honor), and moved away.

We didn't talk often, but got together whenever she would come back to town. One thing that became an uncomfortable issue with me was the fact that she was still so "worldly". She had a college degree (I do not) and she and another mutual friend (who had a college degree) would carry on these long, elaborate conversations about the "high-falutin" books they'd read or the lectures they'd attended on the campuses they worked at. (We'd met when we all worked on campus here, but I'd left to pursue a job with more potential.) Now, I'm not dumb. I may play one on TV, but I am not a dumb woman. However, the more time passed and the more conversations we had, the less interested I was in the things we talked about. We had less and less in common.

I began avoiding her. I would be busy when she would come through town. I would think of reasons why I couldn't meet with them. It just wasn't a comfortable situation.

I felt bad. She had always come to my kids' graduation parties, weddings, whatever. She'd make the effort, drive the 3 hours, and come. Me? I went to her eldest sons' graduation, but missed the younger ones'.

A couple of other developements have made me step back. The first was when she became a Pampered Chef "consultant". Every communication has to have this link to the "job". No, this is not her main job... she's a teacher. This is just the part of her life that she has chosen to get involved in and spread across the land. I don't know how many times she told me they did "wedding showers" when my daughter was getting married. I know they do. My daughter, however, is not the 'girlie' type who gets into all that crap and had no interest in having a shower like that. I politely told my friend this. More than once.... and yet, she still kept coming. Besides the fact that I have a personal "law" that says I don't. Do. Parties. You know, Tupperware, Longenberger baskets, etc.... I don't. Do. That. My friend knows this, and yet...

Okay, now the second huge development. She's evidently found GOD. Yes, that must be in capitals. GOD. Now whatever e-mail, christmas letter, or other sundry communication I get from her, not only must have some scripture, quote, or cutsie little churchie picture made out of commas and periods and whatever other keystrokes will make it, but we get that plus the Pampered Chef stuff. I swear, the few things she actually says are so overwhelmed by the rest of the "messages" she's trying to get across (Serve GOD... sell Pampered Chef) that I cringe when I see her name in the e-mail. (Do NOT send me hate mail about this. I have nothing against people who serve and believe in God in their own ways. It is the method to the madness that I am objecting to here.)

I hadn't heard from her for awhile. It really didn't bother me. I figured she was mad that I hadn't made it to her son's graduation and I just went on with my life... Uh... Hello! I made the mistake of forwarding her a cute e-mail that I thought she'd appreciate (no, I normally do not do this and I now know why because God is punishing me for doing so this one time...). I get a message back. She didn't get in touch because my e-mail address had changed and she hadn't caught that message. Oh. Doh.

Now she wants to talk. She wants to know everything that's going on. How do I get out of this? How do I say, we really do not have anything in common anymore and it makes me uncomfortable to talk to you and I am a bad person but I just don't want to be friends. I am sooo going to hell. Have you ever had this happen? What did you do? Do you all think I'm a horrible person now?

*Agatha Christie