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Happy Hour
by 
Alexandra Yaremko

Last week I got a parking ticket and decided to break up with my best friend. I didnít decide to break up with my friend because of the parking ticket. Both of these events just happened to occur in the same week. This time next year, I wonít remember the parking ticket, unless Iím still paying for it.

I donít even know if Ďbreak upí is the correct term for not wanting to be someoneís best friend anymore. Men drift apart, they just donít say that. A male friend of mine told me that men sit in a bar and drink a beer so they donít have to talk (a side benefit being that their hands are occupied as well, I suppose). Probably. When a man is asked about a former best friend, he simply replies, ĎNope. Havenít seen him in awhile.í Insert requisite no-more-talk-letís-drink here.

Women love to go shopping and out to bars to talk. Now that I donít have a best friend anymore, I donít have anyone to tell. Who am I kidding? That is one reason (of many) that I donít want this friendship to continue. There was never a topic of more interest to my best friend than, my best friend. ĎSo, whatís been going on with you,í she would pause taking a breath. ĎAh, I got a parking ticket. I guess Iíll pay for it,í I respond. Insert requisite sip-of-Happy-Hour-Pina-Colada-topped-with-uncomfortable-silence here.

  When married couples divorce, as opposed to staying together for the kidís sake (or in my case, continuing a friendship that most likely would have ended a long time ago were it not for the prevalence of the outlet malls in our area) they sometimes ahÖwell, see each other for conjugal visits. Obviously, this is not a problem for me in this case. Here, the problem is lunch. Do I still periodically have lunch with a person I really didnít want to see anymore because I didnít have a good time having lunch with them in the first place (reason #23)?

  My real problem, then, is telling someone Iíve known for 17 years that I donít want to have uncomfortable lunches and shopping trips and, andÖthatís about it (reason #57) for another two decadesÖ

  If we still lived in the same town, I suppose I could just tell her by writing this. Coward. I could mail it to her anonymously. Double dog coward. As I said before, she lives in another town, and has seen all my stationary via the US Mail. As a matter of fact, we have done the stationary gift exchange circle before. I gave her a basket full that I collected from different shops last summer as a going away gift. For my birthday, she gave me (surprise) note cards with my name (spelled correctly, but she had 17 years) printed over two fat little Sistine Chapel cherubs.

  If your teeth hurt, itís because of the syrup dripping from my pen. The stationary she gave me was very nice, but in my current state of dismay, all I see on her part is another gift plagiarization; sweater for sweater, pair of earrings for pair of earrings, pack of stationary for pack of stationary.

Actually, I donít think sheíll be very upset about the end of our friendship (reason #103 or #104, Iíve lost count).

She would be more upset to find out that anyone, not just me, didnít want the honorary title (gold watch not included) of being her best friend. At this point in reading the column, she would not be upset that it was about her, but that I hadnít mentioned her by name. She shall remain nameless.

I donít want to end this friendship; I just want it to go away like little slips of yellow paper in the wind. ĎTicket? What ticket, officer?í

Here I am writing all this, and thinking it was about something that had been on my mind lately; my soon to be ex-best friend. Itís not. It all comes down to parking tickets, really. You park in the wrong spot for too long, and you have to pay.

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