Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Friend Shapes and Training Wheels

I've never felt the satisfaction of having a circle of friends. I am always envious of a group of women appearing to enjoy each other's company. But, truthfully, I am most comfortable one on one in a friendship. Introduce a third friend and it gets tricky. It then becomes a triangle of friends, an uncomfortable shape compared to a circle. One point is further from the two and usually that point is me.
I know it's childish for a middle-aged woman to find herself feeling this way, but I am thinking that feeling like the "third wheel" may not be such a bad thing, after all.
The idiom, "feeling like a third wheel" refers to one that feels left out or useless. Since wheels work in pairs, a third wheel is not needed.
Or is it?
I got to thinking about this and remembered my training wheels on my first bike. That white metal apparatus with a little black wheel on each side. The whole thing just seemed so flimsy.
As I remembered, only one wheel actually touched the ground.
I'd like to think of this as the "third wheel", quite useful when it came to assuring me that I wasn't going to crash.
So the idiom isn't exactly true.
I have no idea what that fourth wheel was for. I bet if you really felt left out or useless, you could call yourself a "fourth wheel", hopelessly spinning, never touching the ground, and only there for appearance.
Fortunately, training wheels are only temporary. Unfortunate for my "third wheel" analogy, though. Gradual adjustments are made as the rider becomes more stable.
A day will come when the training wheels are no longer needed and can be removed.
One of the many rights to passage of childhood memories.
So at the moment feeling like a "third wheel" is quite enjoyable.
I know it's not forever and I can be supportive.
But really,
I am just along for the ride.....


Anonymous said...

I just hope I don't become the fourth wheel.

holly h said...

This true for me too. Nicely said, Mary Beth.