On Making Fountains and Gal Pals

*Ratatatatatat wham wham* Jackhammers pound outside my front door.  I live in the city, but this is not street construction. I’d love it if there were more street construction here in Dallas. The bumpity roads have caused me to replace all 4 tires after only a year of driving on them, then last week one of the new ones got a bolt in it, so was replaced again.  However, this construction *Ratatatatatat wham wham* is happening in my very own courtyard. The gated complex where I live is installing fountains in what were pretty, round flower beds.  This will be lovely when it is done, but it is unlovely and *Ratatatatatat wham wham* noisy now.  The noise, cement dust and general manly cursing have defined my last few days.  This is when it is NOT good to work from home. I’m trying to look forward to delightful splashing *Ratatatatatat wham wham* sounds of a fountain, but it’s eluding me.  Being a sometime cynic, my brain rushes to thoughts such as; “That fountain is going to attract more mosquitos than usual this summer.”  I know they don’t like running water, but my imagination has the fountains only working sporadically, becoming a murky thing filled with green slime.

That knee-jerk default to dark thinking is why gal *Ratatatatatat wham wham* pals are so necessary in my life. Talking to gal pals help get these dark thoughts out of my head, where they jab me awake at 3am and make it impossible to go back to sleep. Leaving my friends of the past ten years when we moved last year was hard –the women I walked with, read books with, and cheered for the swim team with. There is something so bonding about losing all feeling in your rear sitting on those cold metal benches yelling for the kids to “whoo-hoo swim faster”.  Those gal pals kept me sane in the years my children went through puberty and moved on to college. You can’t replace those friends. If you want to stay sane and not yell inappropriately at your spouse or the workers who are simply following orders by putting in a damn fountain, you must make more when you move. It requires one to be brave *Ratatatatatat wham wham* and say hello, find commonalities, and ask for cell phone numbers. As an introvert writer, getting out and meeting people feels like a thousand-pound weight every time.  It requires fixing in your mind the reason you are doing this – it will make life bearable and might even be fun. Secondly, you make plans, get dressed, do your hair, and go out for coffee. Then the worst part – after all that bravery — many times you must accept the fact that while you might like the person you are coffee-ing with, they may not like you back, or more to the point, they don’t have time for someone new in their lives. Ghosting is a thing for us older folks too, it’s not just for Millennials. It’s hard texting someone for a 2nd get-together and then… you just don’t hear back.  It feels like middle school all over again, and let’s be honest, none of us had any fun in 7th and 8th grade. I wish we could come up with a better way of being dumped as a new friend.

I am happy to report I have made some outstanding new gal pals here in Dallas. I’m so grateful for them. They’ve kept me going through this most difficult year, helping me to laugh and to escape my dead-end thoughts as I listen to what is keeping THEM up at night. There are always shared similarities – body parts that are no longer behaving as they should, adult children going through their own crises, plans that fall through.  Politics and issues of the day. There are joys too, and it’s the shared joys that hold the most healing.  Its good to feel happy for someone else. You forget the *Ratatatatatat wham wham* of your inner critical voice “should-ing” all over your actions or inactions. Sharing time with my friends – old and new — make my own mental construction zone a little less noisy and obtrusive and then it’s possible to hear the musical tones of a delightful fountain in my future.

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