the airport test.

it’s been almost a month since i wrote. anywhere. in my journal. on this blog. the words have not been there. the ideas have, but the words seem to be enjoying a bit of a vacation as i frantically soak in my settled surrounding. i jot the ideas down on my ever-growing list of stories i want to tell. themes that seem like they need exploring within my head.

i’ve been back in portland for a month. stopping for a month to regroup before becoming unsettled once more. taking up occupancy in an old hippie woman’s hawthorne home while she travels throughout spain for a month. the space is special. lived in but open and inviting. complete with two chickens, an infinitely affectionate cat, endless shelves of cookbooks, and a robot vacuum that comes alive three times a week. it feels good.

it feels good to be back in a space where things are steady and familiar. to slip right back into routine. yoga. climbing. cross fit. office life. coffee shops. catching up with the community i spent the past two and a half years cultivating in this city.

during the stationary moments that speckle my transience, i always find myself immersed in the idea of community. surrounded by the relationships that have imprinted my twenty-seven years.

it’s interesting to watch the evolution of your friendships. see which ones stay with you. which ones drift apart. which ones flow in and out of closeness.

every time i return from an adventure, i am immediately faced with an evaluation of my relationships. the thought spiral starts with one simple question:

who do i call to come pick me up from the airport?

for most people, you only have to ask yourself this question every few months or years even. but currently, i am faced with this question at least once a month. i scroll through my phone and think about who i know that i want to inconvenience.

i have deemed this process “the airport test.”

we have all kinds of relationships and friendships, but we don’t have too many people that pass the airport test. or at least i don’t.

the simple task transcends into an overflow of questions and judgments and a pretty complicated view of your investment in those surrounding you.

it’s a weird thing how we invent the responses of others. i would pick up almost anyone from the airport. someone i met last week or someone i have known for years. case in point: i offered to drive the lady whose house i am staying in to the airport if she didn’t have a ride. yet, when i landed in portland last month, i took a cab to my car because the three people i normally rely on were working.

now i know several people in portland. many of them would have picked me up from the airport i’m sure, but from my side of things, the comfort level was not there. so instead, i paid $40. i paid $40 to a stranger because i was too uncomfortable to possibly inconvenience someone i called a friend.

this simple friendship test presents itself in several other situations. who would you call to drive you to and from chemo? who would you ask if you needed to borrow money? who would you not have to bribe to help you move? who do you not care about inconveniencing? not because you don’t care, but because you know they care. you don’t assume, you fully know.

and those are the only people i call to pick me up from the airport.

they are the same people that i cannot wait to pick up from the airport. the ones that i want to park and go all the way inside for. stand at the exit point with a big hug and smile waiting for theirs in return.

i have been accused of throwing around the terms “friend” and “best friend” and “favorite” too frequently. everyone is your “best friend” sara.

i get it.

and all it takes is one scroll through my contacts in a moment of need to remind me how grateful i am for the people in my life who pass the airport test.

3 thoughts on “the airport test.

  1. aaaahhhh, the airport test, the standard… ho ho. i don’t have that option in paris: the train takes me from the airport almost to my front door… but i guess the real manifestation of the test are the friends who are picking me up in boise, idaho, on the way to crater lake…. all the way from chicago! how is that for b.f.f?…..

  2. $40….. I am so distraught. Spending that kind of money on a cab, and not even being in Hawaii….. what have I raised here. Possibly you should give some of these “friends who may be on the fence a little chance at redemption….. try this, hey Julie, I am at the airport, I would have to give this #&*% cab driver $40, I will split it with you if you can run over and snatch me real quick from the airport. {oh PS can you bring the SUV as I have 2 large bags and my mobile office. Also can you drop me at the Cavi which may need a jump}. This person would jump at the chance to get at least a 55% on the airport test. Imagine the change in this persons life. At parties the person would be bragging… I am at least on the “half full” list to being a quantified bff, {at this point still only lower case letters}, on Sara’s BFF list, soooooo close to passing the airport test. Everybody wins.
    There is of course another wrinkle / flaw in your system…… What if this friend or relative, who has passed “the test”, on numerous occasions and is way at the top of the BFF food chain……. Just hypothetically, what if this person actually “enjoys” going to the airport, maybe to see changes, watch people, out smart the no parking police while waiting for you, etc etc. Are they then an actual BFF, or are you just fueling someones addiction to go to the airport, you may be an enabler, so to speak. In a real crisis, like needing a room for the night, or parking the Cavi for 3 months, or a ride from Portland to Chicago, or the ultimate, needing cash for an undisclosed amount of time, is this person going to come thru?? It is an age old question….
    I was a little hurt, you didn’t call me for the ride… I could have flown in, rented a car and picked you up. A TRUE BFF, thank God I am on the list and have passed all tests.

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