No More Pie
Relationships are not easy. At some point in time, a person's individual spirit will rebel and there will be conflict. Conflict isn't always unhealthy. It can be a learner tool. You realize how much you are willing to give and take.
My relationship with Steve is pretty good. There are few people on the planet that could put up with me when I am writing or opening a new show, such as the new Straight & Nappy show, Love Indifferent (hey, if you don't like cheap plugs than you've come to the wrong blog). When I am creating a show, it is hard for me to imagine that anything else on the planet is as important as my world. And I get really uptight and stressed. I just recently quit smoking so that doesn't help either. Through all of that, Steve keeps coming back for more. We have our differences but it's all good. Now, just because you get along well with your mate does not guarantee that you will like their friends.
Steve has a friend, we'll call her Miss American Pie. Miss American Pie (MAP) is a single mother of a teen son and a college-aged daughter. She is a professional in the medical field and I have to say one terrific cook and baker. MAP and Steve have been friends since her children were in elementary school. Their friendship not only predates our courtship but it even predates my arrival to Chicago. They have been friends for a long time. (A beat) Which is why it is difficult for me to admit: I can't stand Miss American Pie.
It was spring the first time I met MAP. Steve had gone through his list of friends that I would meet at some point in time. MAP was on the list. At the time, I lived around the corner from Steve. That day in April, I was coming over for a visit and MAP was borrowing Steve's lawn mower. The meeting was fairly unspectacular. We exchanged niceties. And she checked me out. I could tell she was checking me out. She was his friend and friends do that.
A friend makes sure that other friends pick up quality goods. A friend knows that he/she is going to have to listen to all the bullshit problems of this relationship. You want to make sure they choose someone that you want to talk about when you would rather be watching America's Next Top Model. I can usually tell in the first 5 minutes how often I will have to listen to these problems. Fortunately for me, my friends are pretty good at picking quality goods so that spares me of the drama.
I didn't see MAP again until our garden walk party in July. It was an unbearably warm day that Sunday. I had to work on the StoryBus that morning. I worked up until the time that the party was supposed to begin. I rushed home and changed clothes before any guest could possibly have missed me (although most of them were being introduced to me for the first time). Well, MAP was already there and she had baked a beautiful cherry creation. I couldn't believe that someone had made this beautiful flaky pastry at home...From scratch. Something went down between she and Steve regarding the beautiful cherry pastry. I really don't remember what but MAP was a Grade-A bitch from that moment on. She was snippy and short with me every time I saw her. I don't know where it came from but it was unsettling.
MAP didn't visit for a while after that but she did invite us over for dinner a couple of months later. She made a great meal and was very cordial but we could never find a solid ground. She told a lot of stories of her and Steve's shared past or talked about some shit I just didn't interest me much. The things I talked about had the same effect on her.
There were other encounters with MAP, including a reciprocal dinner. The last encounter was on my birthday and that was the day that I knew MAP was not for me.
Steve was preparing a delicious birthday meal just for me. He originally said were going out. I didn't care that we stayed in. It was nice to be at home. I didn't have much to eat that day because I had such a tight schedule. And despite the many acts of kindness shown towards me that day, I was tired from doing the work that needed to be done, birthday or none.
I was finishing up some work on the computer while Steve was in the kitchen. I was probably 20-30 minutes away from being able to join in him in the kitchen when he told me that MAP was coming over because she was having a computer virus issue. She needed to use our computer to book some tickets. Steve put the dinner prep on hold until after she left. She arrived just as I was finishing up my work. I knew that she and Steve would take a minute to set everything up so she could make her on-line purchase so I surfed the web for a bit.
Miss American Pie got her tickets and I thought would be on her way but when I entered the kitchen, She and Steve were having beers. I was asked if I wanted one (how nice). I declined on grounds that I might make me too sleepy. MAP and Steve talked about her parents, her kids, her jobs, and a bunch of other things that had nothing to do with Steve, myself, or the birthday celebration which was now on hold. I put on some dance music. I figured that would be a nice hint that for my birthday, I would not like to sit around and talk about her world. I wanted to have some fun with my boyfriend. Alas, Madonna did not persuade her to go.
"I'm sorry," said MAP, " you were celebrating your birthday." Maybe my plan had worked and she got it. "Well," I say modestly, "this just happens to be the day it falls on." I don't know what that meant but my subtext was "it's okay that you came over but you need to leave now." She didn't leave. MAP chimed in again, "well, I did interrupt your dinner. You must be hungry?" I told that I actually was hungry. It had been a long day, etc. I told her how I was looking forward to my birthday meal.
Now, I am no etiquette expert but I think that her next step should have been to excuse herself and get the hell out. And don't return unless you are bearing gifts, food, or booze.
MAP's response to my hunger plea was, "oh." And then she stayed for another 40 minutes. She had a beer and regaled us with more stories about her life as a single mother. Don't get me wrong. My mother was single and I get the plight. My mother also knows how to take an effin clue.
When she finally left, I was not in a party mood at all. I felt disappointed and drained. I was fairly quiet for the rest of the evening. Steve did make a great dinner and presented me with a lovely dessert. We watched the final episode of Transgeneration. And then we went to bed.
I tossed and turned a lot that night. I had a few bad dreams too. I awoke with a start around 5 am. Steve woke up too. I turned to him and I said, "Just so you know, I hate Miss American Pie."