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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

On Christmases Past

Rainy night
Photo by myself in Williamsburg.


It rained a bit tonight, and I was caught without an umbrella. I snapped this picture under an awning.

Only six days til Christmas, and in less than a couple weeks, it'll be 2008. Holy cow.

For a variety of reasons, I've been reflecting on the past. Several years ago, a good friend of mine inherited a huge amount of money. I mean, huge. Her father sold his widget-making factory and gave the proceeds to each of his four children and several grandchildren.

Every few months, I'd visit Karen [who does not know about my blog], in New Jersey. She's a stay-at-home mother who has a lot of hobbies, like painting and gardening. Occasionally, she teaches art to children and the elderly.

I'd known Karen more than ten years when she told me about the inheritance. We were sitting in her car at her son's private school. The engine was running and she'd just lit a cigarette. She seemed almost upset, saying what a life-changing thing it was. Karen was married at the time and her husband was successful. Money was never a concern. But this was a whole other league of wealth, and it was hers alone.

Karen asked me whether I'd consider leaving my job, to help her out with her son. She'd pay me the equivalent of my salary, and I'd hang out with her, helping her with groceries, driving, laundry, etc. Knowing Karen, I'd probably have a lot of freedom and very little pressure. We were good friends, after all.

Karen actually asked me a few times to leave my job, and each time, I said no. Recently I've been thinking about this - how I'd said no, how I was so certain that it'd be a bad decision. I was afraid that our friendship would change and become weird, and that I'd feel obligated or uncomfortable.

I keep thinking about what could have been - I could have kept my apartment in New York and commuted from New Jersey on the weekends. I could have been more creative. I could have looked into starting my own business. Who knows?

But then I probably wouldn't have met Mark or a lot of other people. I probably wouldn't have had as many experiences as I've had here. Who knows.

Funny how life turns out. I should give Karen a call and see how she is.


mama's got moxie said...

wow, what a proposition!! she must've really come into goo-gobs of cash! :) i think you made a good choice though. having a close friend pay your salary could possibly get sticky.

Nubia said...

I agree with mama. Money can create problems and the last thing you want is to feel indebted to someone because of it. Have a great holiday and new years!

Anonymous said...

Well yes, I'm sure it was the most sensible decision.

I think inheriting money is a mixed blessing (not one I will ever suffer!) and that it can often alienate you from all your old friends and from the world that is yours.

So yes, give her a ring. She will probably be delighted to hear from you.

Spandrel Studios said...

Sounds like you made a good decision; working for friends can add a potential layer of strain/weirdness to a friendship.

And I agree with Reluctant Blogger - call Karen! The holidays are the perfect time to connect with old friends.