The other day a Junior League acquaintance posted a picture of a tony Boston penthouse balcony and said she was on her way to this glamorous place. One of her friends commented “You are so interesting,” and I started typing “Party girl!” Then I stopped and back spaced out my letters. I remembered that in my Junior League orbit, adult females were always “women” and never “girls.”
Even though I am almost 49 years old, I always think of myself as a girl. I’m responsible, mature when I need to be, and generally appropriate. I don’t wear pajamas in public and I don’t chew gum. I have been known, however, to start a letter to my oldest friend with the salutation “Dear Girl” and sometimes she refers to me as “Girly Girl.”
It doesn’t bother us one bit.
Driving to work yesterday, I was convinced there was something in my eye. I pulled down the visor to look in the mirror and I saw my travel angel. I hadn’t seen it in a while, although it’s always been on my visor.
It made me smile and it reminded me that even though I have no biological sisters, I have been lucky to have a few good friends who have been like sisters to me. As I drove along, I thought “I wonder if there is a ‘Pseudo-Sister’s Day’ like the ‘Siblings Day’ that popped up on Facebook a few weeks ago?” I even contemplated creating a Facebook post where I would declare that it was “Pseudo-Sister’s Day” and see how many people I could convince to share it. Then I remembered that most of my pseudo-sisters weren’t even on Facebook and the phony idea flew out the window as fast as the speck left my eye when I saw my travel angel.
I don’t believe in travel angels, but I do believe that the pseudo-sister who gave it to me prays for my safety. She knows I’m always behind the wheel and she’s probably praying that I’ll find a way to “knock it off” so I can drive less and enjoy life more. She’s even written to me about it.
“Girl, can’t you find some way to work part-time so you can take more naps? Naps are important at this time in our lives.”
Oddly enough, when I got home last night, I had a letter from my pseudo-sister and it made me laugh. It’s possible that we’ll be the last two people on earth writing letters when the last post office sells the last forever stamp. She was responding to a string of letters I had written and her pithy responses reminded me of all the years we had been laughing, fighting, and crying with each other. She’s been my friend since second grade. She was my roommate in college for a few years and well…sometimes I liked having things MY WAY. I’m sure it wasn’t always fun and games at 235 Androscoggin Hall. One day, I told her that if she didn’t like me playing “Girl on the Phone” by The Jam before 8:00 a.m., she could just move her damn mattress out on the quad. Since college, most of our arguments have been about the Apostle Paul, the military-industrial complex, and layering our hair.
We even paddled a canoe in the Chief Worumbo’s River Race one summer, wearing tiaras and veils, with a sign on our canoe that said “Damsels in Distress.”
The “girl” thing started in college and we haven’t been able to shake it in spite of its apparent political incorrectness. For us, it has nothing to do with any of that. During our junior year, my pseudo-sister was doing her Social Work “Field Practicum” at the Bangor Mental Health Institute. I’m not exactly sure what she was doing there every week, but she’d come back to the dorm with wild stories about the elderly patients in her care. One woman, Mrs. Hill, would repeatedly remark “Girl, I want to go somewhere” and the way my pseudo-sister said it was comical. We started modeling some of our own conversations after Mrs. Hill’s.
“Girl, I want a cigarette.”
“Girl, I want to go to the cafeteria for dinner.”
“Girl, pass me the nail polish remover.”
“Girl, turn on the Tee Vee; General Hospital is on.”
“Girl, is there a keg party in the Gannett Hall basement this weekend?”
I counted five “girls” in yesterday’s letter. As my oldest and dearest friend, she always remembers to be supportive during my times of trial and disappointment. Some of my letters had included a lamentation about the failed infatuation with a certain Prince Charming and how I, as a pear in a rain barrel, had lost out to an apple-shaped woman. Was it my fate to always be a loser at love because of my genes? As kind as only a pseudo-sister can be, she ended her letter with “there is no hoisting up those bazongahs after a while, either. A cast iron bra won’t hold that stuff in place. Rest easy knowing this, girl.”
That was just the reassurance I needed and I slept like a baby.