Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Best Friends

The last company I worked at in the UK was part of a massive US conglomerate, and periodically we would have to fill out a survey on our working conditions which management used to determine the morale or something... There was always one question which had to be clearly explained before we could begin: "Do you have a best friend at work?"

In the UK a best friend is someone you'd walk through fire for, spend holidays with and ask to your wedding. Not many of us work with someone like that! So we'd all answer "No" and our company morale would look bad! It seems the definition of best friend in the US is just someone you can gossip with and maybe vent about your boyfriend from time to time... once this was explained our stats looked much better!

I am lucky enough to have a few best friends (UK version). One has known me forever (hi Mom!). One transitioned from "friend of boyfriend" to "my friend" as we both moved from Cape Town to London in the same week (hi Tara!). One bought a house around the corner and travelled Europe with me (hi Kat). And one is simply my best friend in all the world (hi Shane). I also have a number of very good friends who I'm not going to list here (if you got a wedding invite you know who you are!).

Shane was here last weekend. Sadly a very flying visit as she and her husband are not so much on holiday as a on a fact finding mission to see if they want to emigrate to Australia. I had her for a day and a half - and you'd swear we'd been apart a week not however long it's been! It's so nice being around someone who has so much history with you. Shane's known me since I was 17... and she knows the good and the bad and doesn't judge me.

When I left school I wanted to be a graphic designer, so I went to the local technikon to study art. My class had about 30 people and I remember noticing this tall, beautiful, glamorous and perfectly groomed girl among us. I hated her on sight. A day or so later I ended up next to her in pottery class - and by the end of the lesson I had made a friend for life! These days Shane runs her own graphic design company from home, has two little girls and a lovely husband, and is still tall, beautiful, glamorous and perfectly groomed. I'd probably hate her on sight if I met her today! Dunno why she's hanging with the short, scruffy rude girl... lol.

I ended up dropping out of the course, leaving her city a year later, then her country 5 years after that, and her timezone a couple of years ago, but we've never lost touch and we see each other when we can. Shane knows I'm a cat person, she tells stories about the sandwiches I used to make for us after class, she remembers weeding my mom's lawn in the winter sun, and having frozen jelly tots on ice cream cones... I took her on a London open-top bus in freezing weather, I held her baby when she had her ears pierced for the first time at 32, and we used a picnic blanket as a makeshift rain umbrella in a park last year - sitting under it drinking champagne and gossiping.

God I miss my best friends.

1 comment:

Kat said...

Hi back! Glad to hear you had such a lovely time catching up with Shane :) Kat