Monday, April 21, 2014

Amy the Pest

Just a side note: “He is risen!  He is risen indeed!”  Yesterday was Easter, a beautiful, sunny day to celebrate the hope we have in Jesus.  And what can be more powerful than the resurrection from the dead?  Perhaps the salvation of our sins?  Jesus Christ embodies both!  Now back to the blog:

Amy the Pest
I had a great idea.  I was a teenager and our orange, shag carpet in the living room was getting dingy.  Actually it was past dingy, and past the era when orange was cool.  It was embarrassing.  So I had a great idea.  I told my mother, “You buy a new carpet and I will install it.”  Great plan.  Mom was game.  When I look back now as an adult, I don’t know what she was thinking.  Must be the same mindset that allowed me to scrape and paint the second story of our house that summer while balancing on the top rungs of the extension ladder.  Or possibly her stint as a single parent, while working full time and going to school at night, slightly deranged her mind.  She probably thought, “What can I lose?”  It wasn’t as if the orange shag carpet could look any worse.  Anything would be an improvement.
So, we implemented phase one of our plan.  We went to the carpet store, picked out a rug we both liked and brought it home.  Mom left for her job, and I went to work on the carpet armed with an X-Acto knife and a measuring tape.  How bad could it be?  Non-rhetorical answer: bad.  The carpet was heavy.  Lugging it into place was a chore.  Then I had to measure where to make the cuts.  Our room was not perfectly square, not even close.  And there was a platform for the woodstove that I had to cut around.  It was summer.  I was sweating.  Each time I thought I had the carpet in place, measured and about to make the cut I seemed to lose my grip and had to start over.  It was frustrating.
In the middle of this mess, my friend Amy called.  “Hey Sara, do you want to do something today?”  Sure, I just have to finish the carpet first.  I didn’t think it would take that long; I was still optimistic.  “Ok” Amy said, “Call me when you are done.”  Good plan.  An hour later, Amy called again, “Are you done yet?”  No, I wasn’t done.  “Ok, call me when you are done.”  Fifteen minutes later, Amy called, “Are you done yet?”  No.  “Ok.”  After another fifteen minutes the phone rang again.  Phones had cords back then.  We had one phone in the house, located in the kitchen.  Each time it rang I had to get up, put my X-Acto knife down, lose my current carpet measurement, and go to the kitchen and answer the phone.  Also, caller ID did not exist, at least not in our house, or to anyone not employed by a secret government agency.  There was no call screening, and it was considered good manners to answer the phone when it rang. 
So I answered the phone.  It was Amy.  “Are you done yet?”  NO!  I was not done.  I told her I would call her when I was done.  Ten minutes later, the phone rang.  I put down my knife, the carpet and the measuring tape.  “Hello?” I asked.  “Are you done yet?” Amy answered.  “I told you I would call you when I am done!” I responded.  “What’s taking you so long?” Amy asked.  “It’s hard.  Have you ever installed a carpet?”  I asked.  Amy answered, “No.”  “Well it is hard” I huffed.  “I will call you when I am done.”  End of conversation.  Back to the carpet, I re-measured, picked up the knife, got ready to make the cut and the phone rang.  Amy.  I was certain it was her.  I became a Christian at a young age, but that did not prevent the stream of not so nice words from coursing through my head.  “What do you want?” I yelled as I picked up the phone.  Thankfully, it was Amy.  I could hear her laughing on the other end.  Amy the pest.
I think it is good to remember people as they really are, “warts and all.”  After a loved one passes, it is easy to focus on all the positives of their personality, which is fine, but it is also ok to remember the rest.  My friend Amy was a wonderful person, giving, compassionate, and a highly skilled RN respected and loved by her colleagues and patients.  But, Amy could be a pest.  In fact she enjoyed it, even after we were adults.  Whenever the phone rang after midnight my husband would hand it over without even looking at the caller ID.  He knew it was Amy.  She lived in CA, and I was still in NY.  Each time I answered she would say the same thing, “What are you doing?  Were you sleeping?”  I could feel her smiling through the phone.  Amy was a pest, and I loved her for it.

Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art... It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival.   C. S. Lewis.

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