It seems lately, that having friends all comes down to economics. It is bumming me out big time. This is just a smidge of how my so-called friends are: I am in the NICU (aka: “The Factory”) after my surgery, I don’t look very good. A friend comes into see me and says “You look like shit.” Can you lend me $100? I am in a private room at the hospital. I am majorly messed up from those nice needles in my rear fender, attached to all kinds of monitors, I can only see out of one eye, and I am profoundly depressed. Aha! Some friends come to visit. They bring me flowers, balloons and my favorite, chocolate covered cherries. 4 out of 5 go out for a smoke. #5 stays with me, bends over the bed, and asks “Hey, I know this isn’t a good time, but I am short on my rent, could you lend me some money?” I says “I don’t have any money with me.” He says “Well, do you have your back card or a credit card with you?” I says “no” and he leaves and my friends do not come back from having their cigarette. I am at home, in bed, with Connie the Nurse from Hades looking after me. (Actually, she’s okies and a nice woman). A friend comes by. He sits on the bed with me, we banter. He then asks “Can you call such and such a person and ask them if they will hire me on Project X?” Now making a phone call is no big deal, I realize that. The fact that I have just gotten out of the hospital, am a loony tune from meds, cannot open my mouth wide (my mandible seized or something) and at best, I am not making any sense, forced me to say “No, sorry.” I am not going to call Mr. X for you, you call him instead and state your case.” My friend, turned all huffy and left. Next day, another friend shows up. She asks to borrow a) some clothes (she has a hot date); a pair of shoes; my pearls (gift from my Grandparents 20 years ago); and my car. I asks : “My car?” She says “Well, it’s obvious you aren’t going to use it for awhile.” I say “NO” to all things. My friend then begs. Sure I have loaned her things in the past, never my car, I know she drinks a lot. My pearls are one of my most cherished possessions. The shoes are new I even have not worn them. She pleads. I say “No, sorry.” She looks at me and says the operation has made me mean, starts crying and making a fuss, Nurse Connie sees I am upset and asks her to leave—that I require my rest. I have had a lot of time to think about all of this. Scads of time. I have discussed it with someone I trust while sitting on the red bench. I don’t think real friends would ask so much of me all of the time, especially considering my present condition. I feel like “The Bank of PuppyCat”. This has all made me very sad. Do other people have friends like this? Are they friends? Or are they friends as long as I can subsidize them in some manner, be it with money, possessions or influence? Case in point, I have not heard from any of the above people I have said “No” to. I am very sad (and perhaps a bit hurt and angry) by this.