Pick Me!

A weblog by Laura Moncur


My Friend I Can Call Up

Filed under: Philosophy — Laura Moncur @ 6:17 am

“My friend called me at 3:30 this morning because she couldn’t sleep. I met her at the gym.” When I heard her say that, my first instinct was, “That inconsiderate bitch.” I imagined receiving that call, groggy and panicked, to find out that my friend was just calling to tell me she was awake. That vision was immediately replaced with the more common experience of being awake in the middle of the night. If I wake up at 3:30 a.m., I’m up for the day. Nothing I can do will get me back to sleep. Many nights, I have lain in bed, with no one to talk to and no hope of sleep. I never even considered calling a friend. I don’t even have a friend I would feel comfortable calling at 3:30 a.m., not even my beloved sister. A wave of jealousy swept over me. I don’t have a friend I can call at 3:30 a.m. Then the quote came to me.

It’s the friends you can call up at four a.m. that matter. Marlene Dietrich (1901 – 1992)

I remembered typing it in. Even though it was a reliable source, I wondered if the quote was real. She was an old-time movie star. The studio could have released some cool quote for her to promote her popularity. They did it for Samuel Goldwyn. Half the things he said he didn’t say. Maybe the quote was from a movie and she was the character. That would be a misquote and it should go to the screenwriter. With all the worry about the attribute, I had forgotten about the quote.

I guess that’s a lie. I forgot about the quote until it sped at me like a bullet. She has a friend who she can call at four a.m. and I don’t. I felt the wound as vividly as if the quote had been a real bullet instead of a simile. I am still feeling the blood rushing from my head to the site of injury. I don’t have a friend I can call at four a.m.

It’s not something I want from everyone. If it’s reciprocal, my friend will sometimes call me at four a.m., which is damn hard to deal with. If someone wakes me up at that time of the night, there is no going back to sleep. There is no sleeping pill that will help me sleep and allow me to wake up perky and happy a mere two hours after taking it. It’s too early to feel rested and too late to go back to sleep.

No, I want only one or maybe two people who might wake me up in the middle of the night. This person must be chosen carefully. She is special. That’s why she’s the one that matters. Maybe I’ll call my sister today and see if she wants to be my friend I can call at four a.m.


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