Monday, January 12, 2009

His Stupid Mouth

On Friday night I went to a concert to support an old friend of mine. He and I have known each other for almost eight years now, which, at my age, translates into almost the entirety of my adult life. As I have watched his music career slowly progress over the years, I’ve learned that the most effective way of demonstrating friendship to him is to attend his shows.

“I’d better go,” I told him afterwards, excusing myself before the next band began.

“You don’t want to listen to these guys?” he asked. “They’re pretty good.”

“I’d better get some sleep,” I explained. “I have to get up early tomorrow for driving school.”

“Driving school?” his eyes twinkled teasingly. “Did you get a ticket?”

I nodded. “They say women are supposed to be able to get out of tickets,” I complained. “I never have. Maybe it’s because I’m not blonde.”

“Diet,” he casually suggested. “Your sister did.”

Initially, I was taken aback. But in our eight years of friendship, he has made many such carelessly hurtful comments. At some point I accepted that he doesn’t think about what he says, and normally feels bad about it later. He often suggests in his concerts that John Mayer wrote “My Stupid Mouth” with him in mind.

Thus instead of reacting to the insensitive (and somewhat odd) comment about dieting, I simply swiped his Grace credit-card. I ignored the insult and instead questioned his data.

“My sister did? I didn’t know that.”

He looked curiously at me. “Well, I don’t know how long she kept it up, but she did for a while at least. Wasn’t she blonde this summer?”

I blinked a few times as the pieces fell together. “Dye it!” I exclaimed. “My hair! You told me to dye my hair!”

My vindicated friend looked bewilderedly at me, unaware of his narrow escape from jerk-infamy. “Yeah... what did you think I said?”

And once again I find myself reminded of the need to extend Grace to those around us, as I’ve written about a couple times before. We are a race of fumbling creatures, bumping awkwardly about into one another’s pain and annoyances, and any kind of relationship is bound to frustrate. But we are also some pretty stunningly beautiful creatures, and without the Grace to put up with the awkwardness we would miss some of the richest gifts life has to offer. I for one am not willing to pay that price.