Tree For Lunch

After dropping off Rockstar, I’m waiting for C and her cherubic 5 month old to arrive for a sandwich lunch at Tree. On the top floor of a furniture and branded goods warehouse with a baby-friendly café tucked away amidst a sprawling (for Hong Kong) furniture showroom that specializes in pieces made from recycled old railways and driftwood and things, Tree attracts lots of errand-running, pre-schooler-picking, warehouse shopping mums.

You can even see them making the stuff thru a large picture window in the café...

And that bench next to the knife/ fork/spoon used to be part of an old bridge...

Walking our dogs with Rockstar having his dinner and tv fix <mild guilt> at home and Cherub occasionally chewing on her baby harness, I haven’t enjoyed or been able to share so much with someone since G and I first discovered how much we had in common over umpteen transcripted Bloomberg conversations.

(See how my life has changed? Instead of long soul-baring conversations over the dealing systems surrounded by the noise and action of the markets, I’m making friends during a dog walk amid the gabble of our young children. We pause not for “mom please, hitting the market.” We get momentarily distracted retrieving a wayward dog or two, or Rockstar on the rare occasion he’s along, as we communicate in mono-syllabic sentences to any of the aforementioned.)

Rockstar would trill at me, “I’m making friends. I’m making FRIENDS, mum!” I know just how he feels. Like Wendy and Michael flitting about the room after Peter shakes the fairy dust on them, “We can fly, we can fly, WE CAN FLYYYYYY!”

I liked C from the outset but with G moving to Singapore I was even more scared my new friend might also be heading back to the States soon. Good friendships are so hard to come by, especially from just bumping into someone with their dog, amid the natural cynicism that is Hong Kong. Even the people who aren’t naturally weird soak it up when so many other people around them get weird. Sure, you can move the ole’ face muscles in a socially accepted manner and open-can-apply-more-or-less-scripted-polite responses, but –

A….Friend. The Real Deal. The kind with whom you can confide what a terrible person you really are. Someone to whom you can admit you have occasional guilt-ridden attacks of Schadenfreude. Not an easy find, this. When most of the time you’re stuck with just pretending – a little or a lot - because your son is going to go to school with the other mum’s child 5 days a week or well, just to be polite. But after umpteen “just to be polite”s I’m aching for a walk with C, Cherub and the dogs.

(At which point I feel the need to justify the angst-y-ness that has got me making up words has to do with me speaking Busy Working Mum. Dealer. I’m still learning Mummyspeak which I worry is not fluent or natural enough, I worry I speak with the tell-tale accent of someone who once found gratification and (misplaced) self-worth in breaking up the hedge on a USD 10mil illiquid stock option so as not to move the market unfavorably for the client almost as much as in her toddler finishing everything on his plate. I still – wait for it – order mini cupcakes at the Tree café for Rockstar’s school events, rather than make my own. <mild put-up guilt>

There, I confessed. My comfort zone had always been horrendously busy working mums/ women because that was a language I could understand – except I’m n-ot exactly there myself right now. No one has time for me.

Then I learn C’s refused a live-in helper and far from home and family is single-handedly raising a young baby she breastfeeds in the night while caring for a tick-fever-stricken dog (tick fever being rampant here, and potentially fatal) often without her husband who travels a lot. Which is when I think - I could do the USD 10mil trade, no problem – but could I do that? How come it never occurred to this working woman staying at home to care for a young child or three is helluva work? Oh, and did I mention C studied literature at Yale?)

This is our first “date” and I bump Kings’ last minute summons to lunch with “some people (he) would like (me) to meet” without a second thought. When I mention lunch with C, I imagine a raised eyebrow punctuating the frantic Blackberry scrolling. Ah. Maybe I Won’t Have To Drag The Occasionally Angst-y Wife to Singapore With Me To Catch Up With Her Old Friends After All.

So here I go making a new friend.

And if C then gets to go home to the States with Cherub in the near future, The Real Deal would be happy for her.

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About Aileen

I blog about living and raising my son in Hong Kong - where toddlers have entrance interviews, parents keep test score spreadsheets, private school debentures can trade for more than half a million USD. Raising Rockstar's the most important thing I'll ever do. We show our true colors by the choices we make in bringing up our children. My blog is a message to my toddler son, about what the world and his parents are like today - for when he becomes a teenager and knows everything.
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