Friends and Family

Last week, I went to a picnic at the local home of a young woman artist with whom I worked very closely for several years in the field of interdisciplinary education. My friend is a funky visual artist with an incredible aptitude for technology, and so she took a job doing both at a small college in New Hampshire. Her real home with her really cool boyfriend is not too far from where I am, however, and she does go back and forth a lot. We never seem to find the time to hook up, so I was glad to have this chance over the holiday. While she focuses mostly on painting (now she’s experimenting with painting on digital images) the piece she did that I like best is a little white table on which she glued white plaster casts of her nipples. Heh.
Over the weekend I went to a family picnic at the lakeside home of one of my cousins — about a half-hour from where I am. He’s the only cousin of mine with whom I’ve ever felt enough in common to consider a friend. I don’t see too much of him and his live-in lady during the rest of the year, but I love going out there in the summer. He had also invited some other relatives — all Polish born and still bilingual. I grew up being able to speak Polish, and I get a kick out of realizing that I can still follow conversations in that language even though I can’t remember enough of the vocabulary to speak it. Except for my cousin and his girlfriend, I felt as unconnected to these relatives as if they were just passing acquaintances. And it has nothing to do with the language. It has more to do with the way we view the world and our places in it.
It must be awfully nice to have your family members also be your friends. It must be.

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