Happy Birthday, Amanda!! (2018)

So, yesterday was crazy. Not only was it my daughter’s tenth birthday – celebrated with a big family get together, including lots of cooking, cleaning and general merriment – but it was also Amanda’s birthday.

The day did not go by completely unnoticed. I certainly posted my good wishes on all sorts of social media, but it wasn’t quite the same. I didn’t have a chance to post a birthday blog for her, and goodness knows a birthday cannot go by without that happening. So, today is that day.

Happy Birthday Amanda!!

Friendships ebb and flow, particularly when they are conducted from a long distance, such as ours. There are some periods of time where we have spoken every single day, but admittedly for the past year or so, those conversations haven’t happened as regularly as I would have liked. Most of that is my fault, and I acknowledge that. It isn’t that I have forgotten about our friendship, found someone else, or have felt like our connection has faded – in this case, it is truly because life has gotten incredibly complicated and busy. Amanda knows that right now, I’m not quite sure if I’m coming or going.  Yet, her friendship remains steadfast, and it is one constant I can count on. So this post is for Amanda, and I’m writing to her.

Rather than rattle on about how tough things have been lately – I like thinking about the things we’ve done along the way. Weirdly enough, remembering all of those times we laughed ourselves silly has kind of helped me during these past few months when the darkness has gotten SO dark that I couldn’t even really see the light at the end of the tunnel, so to speak.

There are the times that come to memory first – like when we first met and somehow ended up on a small stage at Howl at the Moon singing Duran Duran songs. What about the day we were sitting at Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg and calculated that we’d gone 27 (pretty sure I’m exaggerating) hours without eating at one point that weekend? Or when we were at Voodoo Festival and you had to go on a search for sunscreen with Sara. Yeah, that was also the night when Simon just HAD to go and ask if we had time for one more.  I also chuckle when I think about Toronto. I have one word for you: “Really?”  “REALLY?”  That memory always makes me laugh.

What I really like thinking about most though are the moments we haven’t necessarily talked about a lot. Like when we drove to Milwaukee that very first time and I was making signs as quickly as we could think of things to say. I think about how you and I love going to the Art Institute in Chicago, and how oddly – we both love modern and contemporary art. The weirder, the better!  I remember how in England (I have so many great memories of England, many of which really don’t even include the band at all, which is probably a shock to some) we sat on that train listening to John Taylor, watching the English countryside go by. That’s one of my favorite memories from that trip…right along with the first night in Brighton when Duran Duran played Secret Oktober.

Remember when we saw the band in LA at that David Lynch thing and we got there a day or so early? We stayed at the Luxe, which has this fantastic patio bar area, so you and I decided to have a pitcher of sangrias in the sun? It was glorious sitting there, relaxing and talking away. That day didn’t have a lot to do with Duran Duran at all. It was a simple afternoon, and I wouldn’t trade it, even for “Late Bar” live in a set!

I remember driving during that Southeastern US road trip. We spent SO many hours in the car that time. It was a weird tour for us (they all are, though. I don’t think any of them ever go how we think they will, and at this point I don’t know why when drama happens while touring, we’re still surprised. I believe that someone might call all of that careful planning, “expectations”, which I have on good authority are just future resentments. <insert grin here>. But you know, I look back on that tour and think about how differently I saw things then. I remember the heat and humidity, and going for pancakes at IHOP that last night because we were so sick of drinking we didn’t even want to bother!

Remember when we went to lunch with Kitty in England?  It was after we saw the band going into their rehearsal studio on the “tour that wasn’t”, and I asked the waiter about how big their pizzas were, and he made some comment about how as an American, I’d probably think they were small. Funny that he assumed I wanted a big pizza when in fact I was worried it would be too much – then he brought it out and it was bigger than my head (AND the plate it was on!).  I still remember having to take the bus and learning how to use the tube (for those reading – we don’t have them where I live in Orange County!) I don’t know why that still makes me chuckle, but it’s those moments that I think about when I’m feeling myself get down.

We have made good friends along the way. Some have stayed, others have drifted away, and still others have been a gift of late. I treasure those people. I will never ever forget ordering that big fishbowl cocktail in San Francisco (never ever again. Stay away from the group cocktails in the future) and laughing about it the entire weekend, or the Cat Club – which was a blast. We did not really see or speak to a band member the entire weekend, but I think we had more fun than we’ve had in a long time, just dancing to Duran Duran songs and videos. I’d do it again in a hot minute. I remember laughing at you one of those nights at the Cat Club for reasons I don’t need to disclose here, but it was joyous all the same.  Our friends have stood by us, bought us tickets when the two of us couldn’t get the Ticketmaster gods to work in our favor, and listened to us go on and on about blogging and fandom and who knows what else. (well, I do know, but there’s only so much I’ll say here!)

I have tried to sum this up in a few different ways, but the fact is – I want to celebrate you and our friendship. I don’t want to think about the bad stuff because as soon as I’m done writing, it’ll still be there. In this moment, I want to focus on the joy. I am so glad you were born and that I can still count you as my best friend! Despite our differences, we are incredibly similar, and I love how we’re two sides of the same coin.  As I think back on all the things we’ve done, it is impossible not think about all that we have left to still do. I think there must be corners of the US we haven’t visited yet – so the band had better get on with it!  We still have things to do!!

A very happy birthday to you, my friend. I hope you had a wonderful day. I thought of you lots yesterday, believe it or not. The good news is that for all intents and purposes, Walt IS back to work – and that means I need to plan a trip to see you. Soon.  I picture a week during the summer where we do nothing but watch videos, hang out, have some vodka tonics, and maybe do some writing if we are so inclined.

I am so lucky (no really, right now I am definitely the luckiest) to call Amanda my best friend. I am well aware that we are not everyone’s cup of tea. That’s fine, because we’ve got each other.

-R

3 thoughts on “Happy Birthday, Amanda!! (2018)”

  1. I’m not sure exactly what to respond to first in terms of this post. First, I will thank you for the birthday wishes and all of the kind things you said here. (Did my mother pay you for that?!) Second, you picked up some amazingly fun memories along with just the simple moments we have shared while on tour. All of them are held close to my heart. Third, I would love to have you out at any time. I love the idea of video watching, vodka tonics and more. Much love! -A

  2. Happy belated birthday, Amanda and to Rhonda’s daughter. Rhonda, you really nailed how complex friendships can be, from sharing memories to helping each other through difficult times. Even though things come up that may not keep you in contact on a daily basis, you know they are there for you, and that is a comfort. One of my dearest friends is one that I became best friends with in the 7th grade, and while we are not in touch as much as we’d both like, you get us on the phone, or in person, and it’s as if no time has passed. We have a great mix of differences and similarities in our personalities, which always just made our friendship that much stronger.

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