“What are your plans for the day?”
My best friend Samantha asks me this whenever we talk. Considering we live 20 minutes apart and our other two high school best friends are hours away, this is quite often. At the beginning of the summer when I was still trying to adjust to living at home again, I would laugh when she asked this. What did she think I was doing all day? I was watching the “Gilmore Girls” and stalking old friends on Facebook.
At first I liked my endless summer vacation. I assumed a job would come along eventually, but as I’ve blogged before, the job search has been less than fulfilling. Now that Sam and I are gainfully unemployed together and still in our hometown, her question isn’t so silly. It’s become a challenge to us. If we fill our days with enough stuff, we won’t have to concentrate on those nagging thoughts: When will we get a job? When will we leave Springfield? If you think about those questions enough, you’ll want to stay in bed and never get out. So we stay busy.
We go on 10 mile bike rides, pedaling fast until our legs burn. We make plans to bike once a week. Maybe one day we’ll bike all the way to the Ohio River. We work; Sam at Five Guy’s and me at Gap. We complain when we don’t get at least 20 hours and we’re always the first to volunteer to cover a shift.
We’ve rediscovered the library. For me that means books. I read all of Anna Quindlen’s previous novels. I “read some Hemmingway” just like John Kupetz urged me to do when I was at journalism camp five years ago. I learned about “going to the mattresses” after finishing “The Godfather.” (Yes, it’s a book too.) I discovered what Carrie Bradshaw was like before Mr. Big and NYC in “The Carrie Diaries.” I learned everything I could about the Kennedy’s, Zelda Fitzgerald and Columbine. For Samantha, the library means movies. Lots of movies. She didn’t like “Doubt.” She thought Gwyneth Paltrow was great in “Emma.” She thinks “How I Met Your Mother” is the funniest show on TV, and she’s still talking about last season’s finale of “Grey’s Anatomy.” She reads too but mostly books about good business and magazines like Fortune and Money.
We go to matinée movies. We walk around the mall and through Yellow Springs just to walk. We hang out on her couch or in my bedroom, talking about people we used to go to high school with. We splurge on eating out. We watch movies and drink St. Pauli’s girl and eat pizza. We have sleepovers and wonder if we’ll ever get out of this place. We learn new things about each other even after 11 years of friendship.
We keep each other sane in this endless summer that isn’t so nice anymore. We remind each other that one day our time won’t be filled with bike rides, pizza and sleepovers. We can’t wait for those days. But until then, we’ll keep pedaling and going to the library and seeing early movies. And when Sam asks me, “What are your plans for the day?” I’ll always have an answer.