Melissa's Story

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This entry was writen by Melissa, a long time supporter of my blog, the Eagles club and my other half-baked ideas...

Sometimes I feel so clueless, so left out of the loop. Whenever Sean tells me, “There was life in Hoboken before you arrived, Mel,” I feel like I’m 11 years old again and my Dad is chastising me for being incredulous about his once having had a full head of hair.

I guess it’s true, all life in Hoboken didn’t start back in August of 2003 when I arrived at 25 years old. But, it really was the beginning of MY life when I got here. Before moving up here, I was a student. As a student I was still a kid most of the time. Not being able to work a full-time job, my life consisted of drinking way too much, occasionally attending class and then, 4 or 5 days a week, working for 6-7 hours per day. Life was always interesting, had no set rules, and when it got too rough, I always had the safety net of my parents to bail me out (not that I ever needed it). But it was nice to know that it was there.

When I moved to Hoboken 3 and a half years ago, things changed. Mom and dad told me I was on my own the day of my graduation from law school. I had bills, rent, credit cards to pay. I joined the rat race. Every day I woke up at 8:00am and got on the 126 down to the Bus Terminal. Then I’d jump on the Ferry to Pier 11 (Wall Street) and rush into my office. Sometimes I’d be slow all day and not get any work until most people were ready to go home. So I’d stay and slave away until 11 or 12 at night, and then get a car home. It was during those slow days that I started reading a messageboard on Hobokeni.com, called “Hobokenchat”.

Hobokenchat in 2003 isn’t that much different from Hobokenchat today. It had a core group of posters, and a few occasional drop ins. But the group itself has changed. Back then, everyone would post online about meeting up every 3 or 4 weeks for a “chat night” at Farside or Morans or Dippers. I finally was brave enough to reveal myself to the others and went to my first chat night in April of 2004. I’d already met Sean out with a few friends in February, and I’d met another poster or two along the way, so it wasn’t nearly as intimidating as it could have been.

For a while there, we didn’t have to arrange specific chat nights anymore, because every Thursday we’d all be at Dippers. We would get there from 9pm and stay until the bartender Chris, kicked us out. Whenever I’d talk to Sean about this, he’d mention that he’d seen it all before, in years past with old chatboard members. He’d tell me this is the way life in Hoboken goes: And that the chatboard has had many iterations, and this one was not special or different. The faces were new, but he explained to me how friendships in Hoboken go: “You meet friends in Hoboken. You’re close to someone for a couple of months, years, maybe even a decade. You become friends. Good friends. Make friendships that feel real and tangible. Then one of you gets serious with someone and the friendship fades. By the time they’re married and ready to move to the suburbs, you’re hardly seeing them anymore anyway, and you know you won’t see them again.”

I used to laugh when Sean would tell me these stories. I scoffed at the very notion of ‘transient friends’. I’ve had friends since high school that I still keep up with, and my college ties are still strong. It seemed unbelievable to me that these people that I knew, talked to and hung out with daily were going to ever fade from my life. How I laughed at Sean and his ideas. Despite hearing about friends he’d known in Hoboken back while I was still in high school, and wild nights he’d had partying here while I was earning my college degree, I’d just never really pay him much mind. How much more could he know than me? How much more experience could he REALLY have in Hoboken?
But, the first indications that Sean was right came in not long after our first discussion about friendships in Hoboken. I made a friend while I was interviewing for a roommate share in Hoboken. Through her, I met a group of girls, and we spent a lot of time going out in Hoboken to the bars and restaurants. At one time, I could count on a call from “Dina” or “Rachel” everyday as they drove home from their respective school districts. In fact, I usually talked to both of them multiple times per day, and Dina and I even went in on a shore house share together. Then, they started to care more about meeting new men than just having fun together.

Rachel was always boy crazy, but she met someone special shortly before the shore house ended. Her afternoons were filled with calls to him and her evenings were always booked by dates and dinners with her new beau. It soon became apparent that the only time she’d call me was when he was out of town, because every second they spent in Hoboken, was spent with each other.

Dina, my other friend, met someone shortly after the shore house ended. His name was “Tony”, and he was such a womanizer. That same summer he previously dated a girl in our shore house named “Linda”. Dina always claimed to others in our group of friends that she had never met Tony down the shore, but I knew where she really met him. She also knew that I knew. After putting me in a bad position, being in the middle of her and Linda from our shore house, she slowly stopped calling. After I hadn’t heard from her in months, I received an irate phone call from her. Apparently Linda found out about Dina’s ‘secret relationship’ and Dina was appalled that I didn’t stand up for her. She wanted my loyalty when she’d not given me so much as the crumbs from her table of friendship for months. Because of that dramatic incident, she, too, fell by the wayside of friends I used to have.

It wasn’t long before the rest of that clique of girls paired up, one of them was actually set up by me with a college buddy of mine (they’re now engaged). But as soon as they were in a relationship for five minutes, the invites and calls to me dried up.

By the time my first anniversary in Hoboken arrived, I’d all but lost contact with them as they’d paired off with the opposite sex, one by one. Writing them off as an anomaly, I continued to laugh at Yoda’s (my nickname for Sean back then) predictions.

But, soon even I started to see he might have a point. After a few years of fun, Dippers closed and we switched the venue to Farside, but things were just never the same. The group of friends from the chat board slowly disintegrated. New people sometimes replaced the old, but things were different as people paired off, or found new interests, or left Hoboken for the ‘burbs. Again, I got the “I told you about this” speech from Sean, and he mentioned several posters of years past that had once been integral parts of the hobokenchat board, and now hardly, if ever, dropped by to say a line, let alone hung out in person.

Soon my group of intimates had changed quite a bit. In fact, I don’t think anyone that I speak to/email daily today was even on my radar back at Christmas of 2003. When I went to the Eagles/Giants playoff game last month with Sean and Chris, and I heard stories about stuff they’d done back when I was 18 or 19, I began to appreciate just how much I didn’t know about my friend Sean, his past life in Hoboken or his actual ability to bequeath sage-like advice from years of experience.

And that’s why sometimes I feel so out of the loop. I’ll hear stories from Sean and Chris and a few other friends about times past, and I’ll read Sean’s blog and realize I don’t know half of the people to whom he’s referring, because they all came and went before I got here. Yet here I am, talking to him, making new memories for one of us to impart on our new circle of friends once the other is gone.

4 Comments

Melissa...
You story sounds sad and it's a shame that you seem to have lost relationships with "friends" during your years in Hoboken. What surprises me is that it appears that your "friends" abandoned you because they "paired off." However, I believe the group of girls you referred to have continued to remain friends with each other, even though some of them have "paired off." A piece of the story appears to be missing. Perhaps YOUR actions impacted these so-called "friendships." People do not respond well to their friends when they bash them behind their back, expose their secrets, and are told that they are your "biggest competition" with the men. This doesn't allow trust to develop in the relationship. So, after all this has occurred and you realize that your friendships have dwindled, you find yourself blaming the “pairing off” concept for your lost friendships. However, this doesn’t seem to work because as your friends break up with their special someones, they still don’t call you. Hmmm…you may start to wonder if you were a little too harsh on your friends, or intentionally said things that you knew would hurt them. Then, when you start to feel lonely and ask for forgiveness, some people may forgive you, because life's too short to hold a grudge. However, you can't always expect those who have forgiven you to want to invest time in re-establishing a "friendship" with someone who has hurt them in the past. It sounds as if it's been hard for you to keep "friendships." Maybe you should work on your social skills. Rather than stating something negative about a person, or judging them, explore your underlying feelings, such as jealousy, to figure out why they bother you so much. Your story appears to place blame on everyone in your "radar" except for you. It is apparent that this experience still haunts you as you are writing about it over 2 years later. Sometimes we have to fix our past by admitting our mistakes before we can move forward. I wish you the best of luck in future "friend" endeavors.

Mel may have a strong personality, and some people can be threatened or taken aback by it. Friendships are two-way streets too. If someone feels that their "friend" was too harsh, competitive or hurtful, shouldn't that be a conversation as well? People grow over time, and I've personally had friendships that may have been rather tumultuous for the first few years, but prospered nicely later in life. Everyone has faults, and real friends don't necessarily go grudgingly running away the first time someone disappoints them. Yeah, working things out can often require a little effort. But I can understand why people don't put effort into much anymore, especially since everything can be delivered, ordered with a remote control or done by paying someone else to do it.

In other situations, it also may take longer for a level of respect to be gained between two people, including some rough-patches in the beginning. The problem with today's society is that people are too quick to judge. I understand "life is short", but you know what they say about a "fine wine" as well.

On my "Guide to a Happy Life" poster I have at my desk, it reads:

"Resolve to be tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving & tolerant of the weak and wrong. Sometime in life you will have been all of these."


Sounds like Rachel can't handle a little criticism. Boo-hoo... cat fight!

To me it sounds like Rachel either doesn't live in Hoboken OR is a newcomer to the city because what Melissa is talking about is completely true. I never would have believed it if I didn't live it. Hoboken is one of the most transient places I've lived... people who I considered real friends I now rarely speak to simply b/c I've moved away. It has nothing to do with lack of trying, it has nothing to do with me "settling" while in Hoboken, it has EVERYTHING to do with proximity. If I were to get a phone call/ email/ etc from any of my "bar friends" asking for help, I would do everything in my power to help them. I still consider them friends, but it's just not as easy to get together when you're out of walking distance.
And as for Melissa's girlfriends "dumping" her for men being her own fault- perhaps Rachel doesn't know the girls in Hoboken many of whom are only there to find a wall street husband.
Melissa is an awesome chick who doesn't put up with the BS surrounding most girls so props to her for picking up and moving on in a city overfilled with barbie wannabe's.

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This page contains a single entry by Furey published on February 9, 2007 12:39 AM.

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