Another interesting litmus test is what I call the “mood determiner test.” This comes into play when two friends get together but they’re in very different moods—the idea is, whose mood “wins” and determines the mood of the hangout. If Person A is in a bad mood, Person B is in a good mood, and Person B reacts by being timid and respectful of Person A’s mood, leaving the vibe down there until Person A snaps out of it on her own—but when the moods are reversed, Person B quickly disregards her own bad mood and acts more cheerful to match Person A’s happy mood—and this is how it always goes—then Person A is in a serious power position.
Once their flutter of anxiety and fear had subsided, the hens sat quietly in the car, occasionally standing up to stretch a leg or a wing, all the while peering out from under their pale and pendulous combs (the bright red crest on top of chickens’ heads grows abnormally long, flaccid and yellowish-white in the cage environment) as I drove and spoke to them of the life awaiting. Then an astonishing thing happened. The most naked and pitiful looking hen began making her way slowly from the back seat, across the passenger seat separator, toward me. She crawled onto my knee and settled herself in my lap for the remainder of the trip.
So we get together when we can, which, of course, is never often enough. When we do, we catch up on families and jobs and the daily goings-on in our lives. We talk about the ways that our lives are oh-so-different from back in the day and the ways we have changed. We spend hours reminiscing, saying “Remember when…” and laughing until tears roll down our cheeks and we come dangerously close to peeing our pants. We talk about hard things that seemed impossible back then—things like cancer and marriage struggles and aging parents—conversations made easier by the welcome eyes and open heart of a true friend.