Birthday Week

It’s drawing to a close. Birthday week. Like my mother, I shy away from birthdays. LOOOVE the presents and the cards but hate that the day really signifies a marking of another year down the tubes, another year older. I did a good job this week of ignoring the whole thing. Aside from bowling with Sage and Ryan on Wednesday, it was fairly low key. I skied a sick powder day last Friday, rode my mtn bike for the first time all season, procrastinated on a story deadline, said goodbye to Bonnie as she packed up for a Tahoe summer and, oh yeah, ran into Kristen. First time all season. Truth be told I rarely thought of her or missed her so it gave me a little pause and jump when Louie noticed her in the tram line. I turned my back immediately.
The beeatch ( 😉 ) showed what kind of friend she was last July so there was really no need to pretend she was worth a look. It basically came down to a phone relationship where- for the most part-we chatted, or better, I listened to her hyperbolize about everything in her life and occasionally she would listen to my stories- especially if they involved gossip on someone we knew.
When we hung up I often felt vulnerable and rejected because the conversations were 9/10 about her, then she “had to go.” That gets super old, super fast. In her head, her life is so much grander than everyone else’s. Who wouldn’t want to sit and listen to her? A mutual friend once coined the phrase “Enough about you, let’s talk about me” to describe Kristen. Those who don’t know her well tend to hang on her every word thinking, “WOw, she is so cool, wish I could be like that.” But I privately rolled my eyes and thought, “here we go again.” Everything is ‘the best’, ‘the worst’, ‘the scariest’, ‘the most tragic.’ Normal things happen to her but she makes such a big deal out of them and is such a fantasticly descriptive storyteller that people raise her like an idol. Phooey. She’s married to a parttime engineer from a small Montana town who spends his free time in ‘man class’ to learn to be in touch with his feelings, she has a chronically sick cat, she owns a couple of rentals and teaches a ski clinic. Not really glamourous when you lay it out like that, is it? After a while the magic wears off and you’re left with a self-absorbed princess with a fairly ordinary life who tries soooo hard to do extreme things so she’s not ‘ordinary’. Don’t get me wrong. This is some of the pot calling the kettle black but I own my shit. She truly believes she’s a compassionate human being.
So, back to running into her. I didn’t actually. Not once did I look her way. Instead I chatted with KJ who kept trying to get me to talk about her and what went down. I just didn’t want to get into it. I think KJ liked hearing me bitch about Kristen. She must have dissed him at some point. He also hears Lou boast about her – like he’s cool by association- and gets that vibe that Kristen isn’t all that.
She told Lou she was going to say hi to me (I learned later). At the top of the tram, I was about to take off toward Little Cloud when she skated in front of me- “Is that Jill?” she coyly exclaimed and looked me goggle to goggle with a curious head tilt. I gave her a quick “WhatEver” head jerk then skied away. I didn’t even hesitate. I’ll be damned if I give her anything -even a hello. She couldn’t see a way past herself to be a better friend when her friend is diagnosed with cancer, why should she think I’d want anything to do with her now? WE never saw her again.
I can only fantasize that she skied home crying. Tee hee. But I’m not bitter. She’s just not the person I hoped she’d become and I’m not the person who has time anymore to be someone’s fan just so I can say we’re best buds.
Lou told me for Karma’s sake that I should at least say hi. Karma is what she’s getting. Nice test. Like the chick who runs into her ex-boyfriend and feels nothing, it’s good to know I’m fine.
At the time of my diagnosis, she was getting ready for her wedding so I gave her the benefit of the doubt. Yes, marriage can be all-consuming and hard to consider anything or anyone else. You would think cancer is like that too. But I rallied. I wasn’t going to miss her wedding even with surgery the week before and a head filled with dread and drama. I was going to be there for her and stand up at her wedding. And they didn’t even have food (seriously, I packed my own Tater Tots) or a sweet wedding cake!
But after the wedding, she still didn’t have it in her to step up and be there for me. Yes, you can still hear the bitterness in my voice. But it’s not because of some simple ego punch. The whole thing will probably always bother me because she put it back on me. Like I made up her obnoxious behavior so I could have someone or something to be angry at. I hate when people do that. You question your sanity when they deny. I dated a guy once who invited me to a party, said he would call me with a time to meet, never called and then acted surprised when I was angry with him for blowing me off. He said I told him that I would call and not the other way around. I actually wondered if I had but then he twisted other things up constantly that I knew he was full of shit and I wasn’t crazy.
I know what I know.
I know that it’s been nearly a year since the diagnosis and treatment and NOT ONCE did she reach out- after 14 years of friendship. I know that NOT ONCE did she admit that her behaviour was out of line or at least in poor judgement. Even if she did, it wouldn’t change things. They would be words. Her actions have always shown a lack of authentic compassion.
Ok, I’ve documented the moment. It’s out there and I had that experience I wondered about and played out in my head. How would I react if I ran into Kristen? My response was brief and awkward but it got the job done. It said you’re no one to me, now get out of my way! 🙂

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