Early to our Fleetwood Mac concert, Bill and I were in the middle of amusing ourselves by taking “selfies” (see below), when we heard two women enter the row right behind us.


Their first order of business, naturally, was to plot which seats to sit in other than the seats they actually bought, since they wanted to be much closer. I always love that. Not. But this was how they ended up sitting directly behind us—well, for about twenty minutes at any rate, until the true owners of the seats arrived and had to deal with the chaos of comparing tickets and asking these gals to move.

So I was, I admit it, already not impressed.

That was about the moment they began their real-life impression of Regina George from Mean Girls (2004). Except they weren’t in high school or even college, although I couldn’t tell at first from just their voices and topic. I was shocked to look behind me later and discover forty-year-olds.

And who was their topic?

Meet Judy.

Judy was, apparently, unable to attend the concert with these women. A cardinal sin.

Which must explain why they proceeded to run over Judy with the gossip bus for a solid twenty minutes. She needed a good dissection, I guess. That’ll teach her.

It was gauche and tragic to the point where I almost giggled at its ghastliness. You know the point I mean.

Just so you know, Judy, your text two weeks after your “friend” set “boundaries” with you was TOTALLY unappreciated. But she understands that you just forget, a symptom of all the many medications you are on. You remind your friend of her mother, which is why she is so bothered, but she doesn’t want to tell you that because she knows you have a hard time. I mean, friends should be there for each other, and she would like to be there for you, but you are SO needy. After the unappreciated text, she texted you back saying that she was busy (like, OMG, obviously blowing you off but you didn’t get it), but then she felt sorry for you a week later on your birthday and she texted you “Happy Birthday” but for some reason YOU DIDN’T TEXT HER BACK. How dare you. But your friend is trying to be a nice person to you even though she really feels overwhelmed by you and she knows you have problems understanding your phone and how to text. It’s just all those medications again. You have so many issues, and she wants to be a “fixer” but she just can’t keep hearing your same stories. You push all her buttons, darnit, because you remind her of her mother, but no, she just doesn’t want to explain anything to you. You’re sweet though. She’s tried telling you this and that, but you can’t remember what she says… You just need to respect her boundaries, stop going to her for help ALL THE TIME. Because there’s, like, friends who need help sometimes and friends who are just too needy. You’re too needy, Judy. And oh, your friend is such the victim. Oh what a martyr, to put up with you.

Sorry to break it to you.

Bill and I were staring like deer straight ahead at first. What vociferous and obnoxious private hell had we just entered? Periodically we would shoot each other glances and I would start to snicker as though I might at any moment lose it uncontrollably not because it was har-har funny but because the whole situation just was so absurd. Just by virtue of being absent, Judy gets to be gossip fodder. What kind of weird world is this?

Like my husband, I don’t get the trash-your-friends-or-people-you-kind-of-know mentality. What leads to that? It has to be insecurity/jealousy, duh, but seriously? What’s fun about that? What’s the point? Philosophically, where does it take you?

I was telling one of my best guy friends this story last night on the phone. We were reminiscing about parts of our friendship and why we’ve always gotten on so well. It’s because both of us have a similar mindset and outlook about life and we don’t complicate things. Even at times when we were directly competing for something academic at school (say, spots on one of our academic teams), we were rooting each other on and wanting each other to do his or her best—sincerely. (It always turned out that we would both get spots on the teams we were on anyway). There is no sense of wanting the other to fail, no sense of jealousy about the other’s success, no looking at blessings and achievements as a zero-sum game. There’s room and opportunity for everyone to be successful, for everyone to be happy, for everyone to create his or her life in the most intentional and magic way.

We don’t complicate it. We’re happy for each other. We know we can always go to the other. Envy has never been a part of our feelings for one another, thank goodness. We’re sensible that way: we know there’s no point in comparing lives. In fact, we’re both optimists. We don’t gossip about our other friends to each other. Life can truly be that simple, even when it feels like it’s not.

In the meantime, Judy, you need some new buds: people who are so confident with their own choices and content with their agency in their own lives that they don’t feel the need to persecute you for yours.  And lady who was listening to Judy’s friend dismantle Judy and asking the leading questions and “mm-hmm-ing” with mock concern? You need to find a new buddy, too: whom do you think your friend talks about when she is somewhere without you?