I woke up to a pretty confusing text message the other day. It was from my good friend Tine who, along with her husband, have just adopted a beautiful baby boy and an equally beautiful bay girl and read simply: “Thank you so much for the presents, they were wonderful and just right! Hugs!”
For a few minutes, while I was still trying to wake up, I was thinking that she’d probably gotten hold of the wrong person by accident because I most certainly didn’t remember getting her anything.. I was actually just about to reply to her saying that she must’ve gotten the wrong Johan when it occurred to me that maybe my beautiful assistant, and apparent wife of 20-some years (if we’re to believe her father who seems to think we fight like an old married couple), might just have something to do with the whole thing.. After all it would be far from the first time she’d made arrangements, agreements, payments or decisions on my behalf. And I did remember us talking about chipping in to get a little something for the kids.
So rather than sending my prepared message of “what the hell are you on about, woman?” to Tine, i changed it to a message of the “Aww, you’re welcome, I’m glad you all liked the presents.” And instead decided to go question my lovely little friend about why I’m suddenly getting messages of this nature and what I’d done to deserve them.. And Tine, if you’re reading this, I’m sorry you have to find out the true nature of things in this way, but I’m reasonably sure you can appreciate the humor of the situation 😉
As luck would have it, I was to hang out with Tina later that day and as such, my first question as I entered her home (well, my third question, really, after “what’s in the pink squirt bottle?” and “what happens if I eat it?” but that’s another story) was “Did you by any chance buy a maternity present for Tine on our behalf?” Tina’s reply was about as adorably blonde as only she can manage: “Why yes, of course I did.. Oh, shit, I forgot to tell you, didn’t I?” and prompted a huge laugh from me. This is probably the place where I should stop to explain that mine and Tina’s relationship apparently distinguishes itself from many other in a number of ways. We’ve simply been through so much together – good and bad – that we’re more in tune with one another than most normal people would be. As such, it’s scarily common for us to make decisions, choices, appointments and agreements on each other’s behalf – which might sound a little weird (okay, very weird) to some, but that’s just how we roll and in many ways, it’s really comforting to have another human being know you so well.. And both of us really appreciate that aspect of our relationship mainly because we usually take the time to actually tell one another about the decisions or actions we perform on the other’s behalf.. Right Tina??
Bah, I’m just giving her a hard time of course, in many ways it’s just the perfect showcasing of our rather messed up but absolutely wonderful friendship. Tina asks if I’m up for buying a maternity present along with her and then, without really thinking more of it or involving me, she goes out and finds what we both thought would be the perfect present, buys in, wraps it up, does the card and delivers it in due time.. Only she completely forgets to inform me in the process, evidently because she knows I’d agree with her choices.. Well, that or she just wanted to save me the work and worries.. Or she really is getting blonder by the moment. Whatever the reason, I couldn’t help but smile and laugh.. And be a little impressed.. People have argued for years that we know each other too well, I guess by now I tend to agree.
Having thusly figured out the gist of what was going on, I set out to find what exactly I had bought for Tine, her husband Henrik and their little new ones.. Clothes and a digital photo frame, perfect choices it would seem. Well done, Tina!
I then set out to find out exactly how much I owed Tina for her trouble. Which, as with most monetary issues proved a struggle. Matters were complicated by the fact that Tina actually wasn’t sure how much money she’d bought and the special shared personal finances game Tina and I have going. See, that’s probably another slightly weird aspect of our relationship that may differ a little from most other normal friendships.. See, Tina and I aren’t really very good at owing each other money, partially because we tend to be forgetful and partially because we don’t care too much for the concept of debt amongst friends and arguing over who owes who how much..
Okay, that’s over-simplefying things a little.. Because I earn so much more money than Tina does and because my expenses are smaller, I’ve been able to help her out with certain things such as tickets and transportation for Rock Am Ring or various concerts. She of course owes me these expenses and will pay me back at her leisure. Other than that, it’s pretty much a huge mess: I’ll usually eat at her place once or twice a week, in return I’ll cook her nice dinners every now and then on weekends. When we go out, we’ll sorta be buying each other beers or shorts left and right, she’ll sometimes pay our shared monthly subscription to a History themed magazine while I may do weird shit like go out and buy a pink hoodie that she really wanted. She’ll provide beers on the lawn one afternoon while I – after much kicking, screaming, begging and crying – might buy her a strawberry milkshake the next afternoon.. I think she may have even paid my entrance fee to a tractor pulling event once.. It’s all a huge mess, really, and unlike many of our poor fellow students or graduates we’ve never been very good or very interested in that whole “Oh, you owe me DKK 84.37 from yesterday but paid DKK 27 for a sandwich for me today, so..” thing.
As a result, we’ve always subscribed to the idea that if one of us picks up the check for something one day, the other will do so for another thing on another day and eventually it all sorta adds up.. Probably not to the dime, or even close to.. But honestly. who gives a fuck? I know I personally couldn’t care less if I may have spent DKK 100 or so more on her one month than she did on me, the next month it may well be the other way around. Rather, I’m at a point where I’m extremely happy that we’re such great friends that we’re not gonna let something like money or who pays what for whom get between us.. Even if it makes for some pretty funny discussions and deductions like this time around when we were trying to figure out how much I owed Tina for Tine’s present and the resulting logic was something along the lines of: “Well, I think you owe me DKK XXX (no, I’m not gonna say how much Tine’s present was), on the other hand, you cooked a really nice, big dinner the other weekend, then you ate her on Tuesday and Thursday, but did pay for this and that, but owe me DKK 50 for some magazine and that’s not counting the money you lent me for.. Ah, fuck it.. Can’t you just cook me dinner on Saturday and we’ll call it quits?” See.. Much easier!
And quite possibly not a very normal way of doing things, but hey.. It works! And we’re happy! And while we may not have the most normal of friendships, and people might not always quite understand (hey, as if we always do) this is how we roll and we quite like it that way! So hah!