Tonight Summer and I watched Snow Flower and the Secret Fan. You may remember I read that book when I was traveling.
It's about the relationships between female best friends. While we were watching it, I asked Summer if she was my laotong? And she said, "I don't think so. I don't think we're the laotong type."
According to Wikipedia, laotong "is a type of relationship within Chinese culture, which was practised in Hunan, that bonded two girls together for eternity as kindred sisters...the Laotong or "Old-Sames" relationship was the most precious friendship bond...the bond was for life...Laotong would frequently develop a language to use to communicate between them that only they could understand (a type of Nu shu), allowing them to send messages back and forth to one another."
Summer and I have been friends for a really long time. Seven years probably. Acquaintances for much longer. But the truth is, we have only maybe hugged four times. (And one of those was because a co-worker brought donuts to work last week.)
Good friends. Best friends. But not always in the purest sense of the word.
The spring that I was training for a triathlon, I decided to do my swim in Lake Nokomis, and then bike over to Summer's place in St. Paul because she had recently sprained her ankle. It was bad. Real bad:
|Actual photo of Summer's ankle.|
She was pretty happy to see me, being a complete shut-in. We talked and visited for a while and she asked if I would take her to the library so she could get a bunch of movies to watch. "Sure," I said, "but I ain't going in. Not dressed like this."
And so, dear readers, I made my laotong go into the library by herself and rent a bunch of movies. It was only when she came hobbling out, crutches and all, struggling not to drop all five movies and her purse and the crutches that I very reluctantly got out of the car and helped her. But -- come on. I was dressed like this:
|I'm sure you can imagine the maxi pad butt.|
The other day I jumped out of the car to grab something from the back. Since it was cold and raining, I was trying to hurry. But the back was locked. I did the usual *knock* on the back hatch, to signal that it was locked and needed unlocking. This is a common occurrence, and usually the driver would then just unlock the door, but on this day, I was the driver and Summer was in the passenger seat, unaware that she could unlock right from her seat. She thought the only unlock button was in the driver's seat. I squinted, peering through the freezing rain at her, where she sat, shrugging her shoulders. Unwilling to reach the 18 inches across to the drivers' side to hit the button.
Maybe we're not laotongs. But we're definitely 'old-sames'.