It is a busy day!! Not only do I take great joy in celebrating the birthday of my partner-in-crime; but I also have the great pleasure of celebrating the birth of my youngest on this fine day!
I will never forget sitting down in the recliner for my non-stress test at my doctor’s office on Tuesday, April 29th, 2008, only to be told that I was going to be headed to the hospital to have the baby later that afternoon. So I did what any normal woman would do – I grabbed my phone and called my best friend first. No, not my husband. He was the second. You see, in my head I knew it was Amanda’s birthday and that if I didn’t call her right then, I’d miss the chance to send my good wishes – AND to tell her that my youngest was going to be born that very day. And now each year, I get to celebrate the birthdays of the two of them on the same day. I consider it a gift, and I’m lucky that my daughter was born on April 29th. STRONG women are born on that day, despite what my dear friend Amanda may think.
Amanda and I have been through a lot together in the ten years we’ve been friends. Sure, there have been a lot of shows. Plenty of plotting, cursing…maybe even some whining. Incredible amounts of laughing, even in the middle of shows during the most serious of songs. We’ve done things I never thought we’d EVER do. (See yesterdays’ blog, A Dream that Strings the Road, for a good example of that.) We’ve gotten brazen enough to give wristbands to band members, telling them we have a list of tasks for them…and have even insisted that they wear the wristband for photo ops. We even finished a massive manuscript, and someday we might even finish sending out proposals for literary agents for it! (it’s very difficult to do that in our “spare time”) We’ve planned a convention, meet-ups, and we’re still friends! I can’t even imagine how many minutes we’ve spent on the phone together in total. I don’t know why we didn’t think of Skype a lot sooner, actually! I’m sure there’s been thousands, if not tens of thousands of emails. There’s even been blood, and I honestly think we both have battle wound scars!! “Ho-Bag down, Ho-Bag down” (In New Orleans. Those damn curbs…) “Amanda, I think I split my head open…” (In Minneapolis. I was assaulted by a soap dish in the shower. Don’t ask…) We’ve sweat our way through gigs together, like the time we thought we were geniuses for only spending $25.00 on tickets to see this ridiculous band at the Voodoo Festival in New Orleans and stood in the hot sun for eleventh-million hours, braving crowd surfing, moshing, seeing someone get their teeth knocked out in front of us, and having the sweat of people we don’t even know smooshed onto our bodies. There have even been a few tears at times, mainly because this stupid band just does not get it. Or maybe they DO get it… I’m really not sure anymore….and life in general sometimes really sucks. We’ve made it through not just one but two trips to the UK, getting lost in strange cities, walking for miles… She was there for me when my dad passed away and for about nine months I didn’t even know whether I was coming or going. I was there for her when Scott Walker turned her entire professional life upside down and she needed to vent. We’ve been there for each other throughout the process of this blog. But we’ve been through it all together. There’s even been arguing between the two of us, but it is blessedly rare. (and really kind of remarkable given that although we may write halfway decently – the two of us are terrible at communicating with one another!) We have the sort of friendship that lasts through the good, bad and even the ugly.
The funniest thing about our friendship is that as much as I wanted to write this little note in tribute to Amanda and have it just be about HER and our friendship, I can’t unweave the band out of it. If you look at nearly everything I’ve written, the band is honestly part of the thread that is our friendship. They are the reason we met, they’re much of the reason we talk on a weekly basis and email nearly daily. Yet, if the band ceased to exist, I can honestly say that Amanda and I would: 1. Need MASSIVE amounts of therapy. 2. We’d still be friends. I don’t know what in the hell we’d talk about all the time, but we’d find something. 🙂 That said, the band does not have our permission to quit.
The truth is, Amanda has taught me a lot about friendship. I don’t know if she realizes that, but it’s true. There have been times when I just wanted to shut the world out, and she’s waited patiently. When I am quick to react with anger, she is much more likely to be level-headed. When I’m sitting at home thinking that maybe we just can’t find common ground, Amanda is the one calling me to try and work things out. Mostly she has taught me that good friends don’t give up. They don’t just worry about themselves, and they don’t expect the world to revolve solely around their own needs. Amanda is one of the least selfish people I know on this planet. She puts herself aside constantly so that she is better able to help others, and I really admire that about her.
Amanda knows things about me that no one else on this planet knows. She is my secret-keeper, my confidant, and in a lot of ways, even my protector. She tells me when I am completely out of my gourd, she calls me out when necessary, and she even encourages me in areas where I (still) have absolutely zero courage. I am blessed because if the world caved in around me, I know exactly whom I would call, and I have no doubt that she’d answer. Not many people can say that. There was once a time where I wouldn’t have dared traveled or bothered hanging out at strange sidewalk cafes (!!), or tried getting involved in a fan community – but I feel (mostly) completely comfortable (Ok, I’m totally lying – I’m still neurotic) because most of the time, Amanda is right with me. I won’t say I don’t need other friends, but I guess I would say that I’m lucky I already have one that I completely trust. Had we never met up with a single other Duranie (or Duran-member) in Los Angeles that night after the show at the Ace Theatre, I am 100% positive that we would have been fine. We’d have gone up to that rooftop bar, and laughed our way through the evening anyway. I never have to wonder what Amanda is saying about me behind my back or whether or not she’s going to ditch me so that she can find the band, or whether or not I’m going to be included when she plans events or wins tickets to things, or I-can’t-even-imagine-what-else. It’s gotten to the point where I don’t even want to bother going to shows without her, and aside from the time where she literally hung out at a bar sandwiched between Roger Taylor on one side of her and Dom Brown on the other….while I was at home with my family in California (seriously, what is the irony there and why do these things happen when I’m not there!?!)….I think she feels the same. The distance is always a problem. sigh
I’m very, very glad you were born, Amanda!! Hug your parents for me! I look forward to all the adventures that are yet to come, and I’m excited about coming to see you this summer, too. I can’t wait to cheat on Duran Duran with Brandon Flowers (that sounded so much better in my head…)…and maybe we can even squeeze in a trip to Chicago. Let’s try really hard to figure out a way to go to the UK or Europe….because life is WAY too short and we need to LIVE. I hope you have a fantastic birthday with many more ahead!