Heather G made reser­va­tions for us (and Sergey) at the Back Lane Café last week. We hadn’t seen each other since the sum­mer, before they were home­less 1 and I started recov­er­ing. Last time I saw her, she left me with a take­out Hintonburger and a med­i­ta­tion audio­book that she hoped would help me feel bet­ter. It was so sweet that she didn’t under­stand at all what I was going through, but tried so hard to help with very thought­ful gifts anyway.

This time, she wouldn’t let me pay, even though she treated me last time as well, and she said please with such heart­felt intent that I knew she’d be hurt if I didn’t give her the hon­our. We’d been play­ing phone tag for weeks up to that point, and between their careers and camp­ing, they could only spare them­selves for a meal sans tea or dessert. It made me real­ize how pre­cious their time is nowa­days, and the fact that they made the time to see me meant so much more than the two hours we spent catch­ing up over a great food and conversation.

poached shrimp salad

Poached shrimp salad, with Niagara nec­tarines, bibb let­tuce (for it’s ten­der tex­ture), endive, lime, and hazel­nut dress­ing. An appe­tizer good enough for a main.

Earlier this week, I had Chris over for a short visit. He flew out east for a wed­ding, and took two days out of his week-long trip in Toronto to come to Ottawa. Much to my delight, I dis­cov­ered he was an old Magic player, so we spent the night fac­ing off with my decks and doing shots of Jäger2.

We hadn’t seen each other since last win­ter, and it felt strange to fill him in on the time in between. To be so far removed from every­thing that’s hap­pened, and sum it all up so matter-of-factly, when it was such pro­found mis­ery while I was liv­ing it. We barely had time to catch up before he was on the Greyhound back to Toronto, but he still took the time to visit. That’s how I know I’m impor­tant to him. Even though we haven’t had much oppor­tu­nity to know each other in our lives, we still share the bond that makes us the lost chil­dren of the Chinese culture.

loot bags

At Tiana’s house­warm­ing, we were given loot­bags filled with assorted items, and tasked with steal­ing other people’s loot while main­tain­ing a sense of dig­nity. This is much harder than it seems when you’re eye­ing some­one else’s bling.

Nowadays, I hang out with Tiana as much as pos­si­ble, cause she’s been the one to fix me when I’ve needed it most. Lisa and I are try­ing to be pro­duc­tive together when we can’t seem to be pro­duc­tive by our­selves. I still do my weekly din­ners with Aaron, although we’ve started alter­nat­ing between his place and mine, so we get both our own time and time with his kids. And with the nights I have left out of these reg­u­lar plans, I’ve been try­ing to main­tain rela­tion­ships with the peo­ple I rarely get a chance to see, but who are impor­tant nonetheless.

I’ve had to sac­ri­fice parts of my life (not least of which is time to myself), and it’s helped me real­ize how valu­able my time is too. That’s why I’m in the process of sim­pli­fy­ing. Avoiding the peo­ple who cause more drama than the rela­tion­ship is worth. Investing in the peo­ple who keep me as a pri­or­ity, instead of the dead-end rela­tion­ships that never go any­where, so I can build on the rela­tion­ships that matter.

  1. They got evicted due to an unsym­pa­thetic land­lord, couldn’t find a suit­able place to stay, and ended up putting as many of their pos­ses­sions as pos­si­ble in stor­age and sell­ing the rest. Luckily, one of their friends needed a house-sitter, and it gave them enough time to find a place. []
  2. My first taste of alco­hol in about 10 months, cause I was given very stern warn­ings about mix­ing booze and anti-depressants. It only made me feel nau­seous and sleepy. []