The Low Road


‘Always take the high road, it’s less crowded.’

It seems that I am putting in overtime this week in the ‘talking the talk, walking the walk’ classroom of the Universe. (Remember my fist pumping neighbor- she was my early week lesson. Well, I got a late week lesson too, that actually began way back in December when our two kids were graduating from college.)

One of my dearest friends from childhood also had a daughter graduating. She and I grew up across the fence from one another, and our four children have shared everything from play dough to beers at this point in their lives. Her parents and mine are friends. Our grandparents were friends. Our 4-H lambs were friends…. You get the picture… there is some serious history between us.

It is important that I share with you a little bit about my friend. No fluff, no exaggeration, no kidding- she is the kindest, warmest, happiest, loveliest example of a human being you can imagine. I could write an entire series of blogs on who she is, where life has taken her, and how much I respect her.

So, given our long history together and our children’s mutual friendships and reciprocal college accomplishment, her and I both sent our children’s graduation announcements to one another.

So here is where my lesson began. I know full well what to do when I get a graduation announcement. I go out, buy a nice card, and then I write a check or buy a gift. My mother taught me to do this. Her mother taught her to do this, etc …. I know in my very genes, this is what I am to do….

Well, I bought the card- and then I got busy, and the card got pushed under a stack of papers that got pushed under another stack of papers, etc. – and my lazy, cheap lower self noticed that my pal, like me, had not sent a card or a check or a gift to the to the kids. Now let me be crystal clear here what my internal reaction to this was- pure gluttonous, lazy, cheap, unmotivated happiness.  If my angel of a pal- my friend who is a text book example of a good person was good with this arrangement, hot damn! I was too!!!!!!!!! As long as our mother’s never found out we would be totally in the clear together ( just like that time we skipped school sophomore year…)

So for nearly two months now, in my mind, my lower self and hers, traveled arm and arm together down the low road- an unspoken agreement nestled happily between us.  I enjoyed her company immensely on this ‘ do not acknowledge each other’s children on their gradation’ path. Yes we just strolled quietly along- no conversation necessary.

And then Saturday arrived and I picked up our mail. As I eyed the usual sea of white, I could see nestled within all of the bills and credit card offers, sat two brightly colored envelopes. It was Ajay’s birthday so I assumed this is what the cards were. As I plucked them out I immediately saw beautiful flowery handwriting and I knew before I even looked at the return address that I HAD BEEN BETRAYED.  I let out one of those long echo-ey, slow motion ‘NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO’s’, like you see in cartoons, and covered my face in mock disgust. Damn it. She jumped the track. We were doing just fine together on the low road… and my cheap lazy self had really settled in there. Now I was busted.

What to do, what to do. After scolding my lower self and calling her a few names, my higher self ( who is not one bit cheap or lazy) dug that two month old graduation card out from under that stack of papers, and today my ( slightly sheepish) higher self will drive to a boutique and buy a gift to acknowledge this beautiful young girl who accomplished a major life milestone (that I ignored.)

Once my hands had stopped shaking enough to be able to hold my phone ( kidding!) I texted my pal and basically said, “WTH???? I thought we had silently agreed to meet on the low road and mutually dis-acknowledge our children’s accomplishments????’  This led to a fun banter between us that only served to further cement my pure adoration of my pal.

This was a great lesson for me- a reminder to always do what is right, not just what is easy… and to do it sooner, rather than later.