Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Day 2: It's Complicated

Date: February 2, 2010
Friend: Anne Shaughnessy
Activity: Movie - It's Complicated
Location: Village Pointe
Total $ Spent: $1

After a restless, sleepless night, I worried that my anxiety wasn't as in control as I thought. Terrible dreams crept into my subconscience. I couldn't get comfortable. I was either too warm or too cold. I was thirsty but didn't want to get out of bed because then I'd be committing to not sleeping. Did this mean my newly discovered confidence and serenity had passed? Was this the "it" I'd been afraid of happening? Was I....starting....to pani.....No. Get up, Wendy. Get up and open the curtains. Drink some water. Feed your cats. Brush your teeth and make a bagel. Get up and the thoughts will shut up. And if they don't shut up, you have a wonderful distraction in your date number two: the inspirational Renaissance woman known as Anne Shaughnessy.

Anne is a retired elementary school teacher, whose fading Michigan accent instantly comforts me, and reminds me of the years I lived in Detroit (by the way, if you're not a Red Wings fan, I'm not sure we can still be friends). We officially met at Joslyn Art Museum, where she is a docent (that's "tour guide" to you non-museum types) and where I was employed. But actually, we were destined to meet. It turns out that Anne was my brother-in-law's kindergarten teacher and my sister's former colleague. It was inevitable that our paths would cross.

I once wrote of Anne that she is a student of life. Each time I'm with her, she reminds me how to actually live. Anne is no stranger to grief, disappointment, and despair. She has reinvented herself time and again, and not in the "omg, Madonna is such a genious because she keeps reinventing herself" kind of way. If there is something Anne wants to do - she does it. If there is somewhere she wants to go - she goes there. She lives in the present. Each day is the most important day to her, or at least that's the effect* she has on me.

*Writer's note: as long as I live, I will never know the appropriate usage of effect vs. affect. I realize this jeopardizes my career potential as a fancy pants author, but whatever. That's why God invented editors and spellcheck.*

Upon hearing that Anne was my 2nd $1 dollar date, my sister said "I didn't realize you guys were friends-friends. When did you become friends?" My reply: "since forever." Because that's how it feels! The first time Anne and I had a chance to have a substantial conversation, we talked for over two hours. I was interviewing her for the museum's magazine and was totally fascinated at how much we had in common. We couldn't stop chatting about Michigan, volunteering, the arts, weird medical mysteries, and disfunctional relationships. And you know what the best part was? I thought she was too cool for me. Way to experienced and worldly. Now here we are, almost 3 years later, and we are movie buddies who share popcorn and coupons.

On our $1 date, we went to see It's Complicated at the Village Pointe theatre. She had a gift card, so our tickets were free and being thrifty gal that she is, she knew that it was $2 Tuesdays. So we split popcorn, each paying only $1. She snuck in a soda and I asked for a cup for water (which seemed to confuse the poor schlep behind the concessions stand but he eventually gave me the cup without argument). During the previews, we talked about my job prospects and her upcoming trip to London. We cozied into our over-sized seats and unabashedly laughed out loud at inappropriate jokes.

Have you ever known someone who is so supportive that words haven't yet been invented to describe them? That's Anne. Maybe my anxiety is flirting with me to remind me to seek out my friends. When I think of Anne, I hear her laugh and I see her smile. I feel her strength. It's really not that complicated.

On deck for day three: Daddy. I'll be seeing you....


  1. does anyone know why I'm having so much trouble formatting??? the spaces are all wonky and I can't position the pictures where I want them. Is this a blog fail??

  2. Loving your blog, Wendy! :) You're a fantastic writer and each of your $1 dates will be lucky to get a 'write-up' from you!

  3. Yes, pictures don't go where you want them until you go to edit your HTML. Then you can highlight the code for the picture, copy, cut, paste in the correct place... I still have problems with it.

    P.S. do you still have an open date (possibly a weekend one( for your old roomie?

  4. Awesome!!! I have an "Anne" and her name is Karen, or affectionately 'Momma K.'

    BTW - how much did you love that movie?!?!

  5. What a perfect movie to see! A movie about a woman whose life takes an unexpected turn and finds a way to live more fully, more confidently, even more joyfully.

    Of course, I haven't seen it. Still, I think the juxtaposition between your night-time anxieties and your day time focus on gratitude illustrates that "Its Complicated". Love you Wen!