Bad Influence: A Feel Good Moment


friends (Photo credit: ROSS HONG KONG)

You may be surprised to learn this, but I don’t have a lot of friends.  I know, I know, it’s shocking.  But the friends that I have, I’ve had for a long time.

Two of my oldest friends are a married couple I’ll call Mr and Mrs Smitholini.  We met in Brooklyn, long before they were godparents to my children, before I was godmother to theirs, before they were Mr and Mrs.  Mrs Smitholini and I hit it off as soon as we met.  Me and Mr Smitholini?  Not quite as instant a friendship.

Mr Smitholini is old school.  One of those guys who was born old school–before it was skool.   He thought I was a bad influence on the future Mrs Smitholini, with my peasant skirts, tie-die jeans, and loose, wanton ways.  “Whaddya mean ya write poetry?  I’ll give ya a poem.”  We had fun, though–when we weren’t each trying to convince the other (s)he was being a bad influence on (the future) Mrs Smitholini.  A lot of fun.  I have two other friends I’ve known longer than Mr and Mrs S.  We’ve all spent a lot of time together over the years.  I was maid of honor at two of their weddings, they were bridesmaids at each other’s.  I, of course, was the hussy who got married in Vegas–no bridesmaids.  A lot of laughter over the years–most of it completely sober, too!  And yes, tears.  Weddings, funerals, christenings, baby showers, wedding showers, Sunday dinners, painting each other’s homes, changing diapers on each other’s children and general tomfoolery.

Admit it, ladies.  There’s nothing like the relationships you have with your long term girlfriends.  Gab, gossip, and gorilla warfare over a pot of tea.  Or perhaps in the very, very distant past, banana daqueris.  But we won’t talk about that night.

There’s this amazing, mushy joy in seeing our children play, hang out together, and enjoy each other, as well as their “aunts and uncles.”

The four of us (Mr and Mrs S, Husband and I) are friends.  Not just got used to each other’s Mr/Mrs, but friends.  Mr Smitholini and I each saw what Mrs Smitholini saw in the other one.  So I’ve counted him as one of my friends for many years already.  And the Mrs?  I can’t imagine life without her.  We’ve lived close, we’ve lived far, our lives have changed.  Day to day for each of us is busier, we no longer spend hours on the phone every single day, but she’s still the first one I call.  We don’t get to see each other in person on a regular basis anymore, but when we do, it’s like we were together the day before.

Some of our running jokes have changed over the years.  At this point, Mr S busts my balls asking when I’m going to dye my hair (if I look old, well, that makes him…not as young–Mrs S has excellent, youthful genes that have produced remarkably few gray hairs), and I tell him I’ll go platinum blonde as soon as he gets plugs.

Husband and Flower Child and I went away this weekend.  We went North again, our timing as impeccable as ever, we missed the fall foliage, but what the hell, right?  Mr and Mrs Smitholini said they would join us.  We planned to meet at the motel, no plan to arrive at the same time.  Halfway up, we were caught in a major traffic jam.  Mr S called.  They were also stuck in a major traffic jam.  What road are you on?  Same road.  Where are you?  Turns out we were 2/10s of a mile behind them, same lane.  We had stopped for dinner, they had stopped for coffee and donuts.  We were wishing we had coffee and donuts.  They moved into the  lane next to us.  And shared.

Want one?

Want one?

Yup, Mrs Smitholini  passed the box out her passenger side window into Husband’s driver side window.  Turns out Mr Smitholini was right all those years ago.  I have been a bad influence on her.  She would never have done such a thing when we met, way back when.

What could have been a miserable trip filled with why-did-we-do-this, and we-should-have-left-earlier/later/yesterday never was instead a road trip of laughter, courtesy of our cell phones and mutual bad timing.

When we got to the motel, Mr and Mrs S went upstairs before us.  We got to our room, they were standing in the doorway.  The desk clerk had mixed up our room keys.  So while they waited for us to get upstairs, Mr S closed the window in the room so Flower Child wouldn’t be cold.  We swapped keys, and then had a midnight snack together, courtesy of Mr S.  Sparkling wine, red wine, cheese, crackers, other assorted goodies.  And then we laughed until 2AM.  The only time I’m awake for anything other than insomnia at 2am (in the past 15 years) is when I’m with Mrs Smitholini.  Maybe we’ve had it wrong all these years, and she’s a bad influence on me.



  1. I love this post. It started me thinking of all my girlfriends, many 12,000 miles away from me. And new (old) reconnections because of Facebook.
    I love the idea of doughnuts being passed in a traffic jam.

    Simon and G – only reminds me of being thrown out of a music lesson is secondary school and yes I deserved it.


    1. 😀
      It’s *possible* Mrs S and I might have been thrown out of a class once. Or maybe that was a bar… 😉

      The connection of long term girlfriends can’t be underrated, or underestimated.


  2. I love this post. Old friendships have such a richness and depth to them. When Jose and I married, I actually went back to Toronto to do it — even though I left there for good in 1986. (with many visits back since then.) The depth of those early friendships mattered much more to me than filling a church in NY with glam acquaintances.


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