Friday Five

Perhaps I will stop coughing up hairballs long enough to answer these questions.

Actually, this turned out much more emotionally than I would have wanted it to. Either get the bottle of Jose Cuervo handy, or just skip it altogether. I’ll be back to dicks and sluts and cunnilingus in a *coming* (heh) entry to offset this ode, I promise! 🙂

1. Do you remember your first best friend? Who was it?

Sure do. His name was (is) Judd, and we met in the fifth grade. We were next to each other in alphabetical order (as you know how important it is to line kids up by name during those formative years), so we always sat together, had lockers next to each other, etc. And then we just became fast friends — I never did get along with the girls, only the boys. We stayed friends on into college, but with some rough spots in between that drove permanent wedges between us. He will always hold significant real estate in my heart, though — a lot of years, laughs, jokes and tears happened between us.

2. Are you still in touch with this person?

Nope. I wished him a happy birthday this past Dec. 10, when he turned 29. I’d had a dream about him the night before the birthday, and when I woke up, I realized that it was that day, and I dropped him an e-mail. I never expected an answer back, and I didn’t get one. There’s too much water under that bridge to ever cross it back to each other, but if he ever needed me, I’d be there in a heartbeat. And I should hope that it wouldn’t kill him to be here if ever I needed him. But we may never know.

This may sound way too morbid, but I was thinking about willing him my earthly possessions when I die. It’s mostly my writings that I’d want him to have. No matter what amount of contempt and/or apathy he feels toward me, he was the first person who loved my writings and encouraged me to take my fictional works to the moon. I would imagine that he, in his ass-kicking mode, would get my stuff published, even if just to spite me. 🙂

3. Do you have a current close friend?

I have too many to name, stretching the four corners of the planet and back again. If we’re talking geographically close, we’ve got Shan and Shawn, who are like my siblings. And Dave. And Tiff, of course. And in Pittsburgh, there’s Susan. And in Minnesota, there’s Chris. And in Ireland, there’s Leslie. And on … and on. .. 😉

How funny about this question — I was looking at my list of numbers in my cell phone, and I realized that there are more than 50 names, and I haven’t talked with 80 percent of those people in more than a year. Those were people I’d never dreamed I could live without.

4. How did you become friends with these people?

Shan and I started at the Veggie Patch together last July. I dropped by her desk to say hello to her (as I had started only days before her, and I wanted to extend a warm welcome to the other “new girl”), and we chatted for a half hour straight, about business and life and friends and love and public relations and god only knows what. I don’t know — something felt right when we connected — like we were long-lost sisters. We had a million things in common, and we thought very similarly. Both of us knew, from that first conversation, that we’d met a kindred. We firmly believe that we were meant to collide in this world, and frankly, we truly feed off of each other and keep each other sane and strong.

Shawn, as he lovingly tells on his blog, approached me on “The Bridge” that connected two of our college buildings together. The Bridge was home to many memories for us in college, but definitely the day he came up to me to talk to me about writing for the collegiate newspaper was quite a memorable one. My friends — all sophomores like me — thought he had been stalking me and that he was a cute little freshman with a crush (little did we know that we both loved cock equally. …). Anyway, I was an editor, and he wanted to write for me, and he ended up writing a terrific story. When I called to thank him, he answered his phone, “Shawn’s House of Tacos.” And after that, we were inseparable. We’ve had ups and downs, but when things are great, they’re really great, and I wouldn’t trade them for the world (Jon Bon Jovi in a thong, maybe, but that’s it).

Dave, I met on Valentine’s Day of this year. We were reading each other’s websites, and he suggested we hang out and keep each other company on this most wretched of holidays. He made a really sweet post on his website about me right before we met, and I was charmed. We ended up taking a dance class together and worked beyond the usual surface-level conversation during weekly donut runs. He’s another one of those people that I knew I had to meet and to have in my life, in some way.

Tiff came to work at Two Strikes, and she impressed me with her work ethic and her ever-expanding skill set. I was supervising a merry band of incompetents, and I take some credit for approaching Her Royal Pretentiousness and suggesting that if we could bring Tiff on staff full-time, I could really use her in the development department. And then, six months later, we ran screaming out of that place together, and we landed here in Alexandria as our refuge. 🙂 Although we’re not going to be roommates after this month, I hope the fabulous friendship we’ve cultivated remains intact, 250 miles from where it all began. Oh, and she set up this blog, so blame her for it all!!! 😉

Susan and I passed each other at Two Strikes a lot, but as I was damn near forbidden to socialize with anyone, I didn’t say much to her at first. Her supervisor Danika sat next to me, so she was always in my area. But then when Brat left the job and Susan was being promoted up to my floor, I think it was that I joined her and Tiff for lunch one day at Chez Capri, and we’ve been talking ever since. That’s the thing about Two Strikes — the white people (all seven of us) really banded together, after having HRP continually excoriating us because we weren’t her relatives. 🙂 We bonded over work issues and realized that there was a special spark of friendship that had been there all along, and although I am terrible about keeping in touch, Susan never lets me go too long without reminding me how much she cares about me.

Chris and I met at Easter Seals. In her job there, she replaced a male Chris, who was one of the great loves of my life, so it was weird for me to warm up to her at first. But who could help it? She has beauty, brains, charm and a WICKED sense of humor. One night, out of the blue, we went to dinner together at a special place called Kaya, in the Strip District, and had a very memorable conversation, over fabulous Jamaican jerk wings, that neither one of us was expecting to have. And though the physical distance now keeps us apart more than we’d like, she’s another person I know I was meant to bump into in this universe, and we’ll always be in touch in some form or another.

Leslie came to me through Chris, when they volunteered to work at a gala event that I was running. Leslie is one of those people who will care about you long after you’ve given up on yourself — she will be your No. 1 cheerleader and believe in you and tell you how much she believes in you until you start to see her point of view (and no, she won’t lose that argument). She got me through a veeerrrryyy hard time in my life, when everything literally went upside-down. And the thing is, both of our lives were in a state of chaos, but she really put me first and, ever since then, is the first person to come to the rescue when I need anything. Not to mention that she’s on the complete opposite side of the world!

5. Is there a friend from your past that you wish you were still in contact with? Why?

Funny, but I was talking with Shawn about this on the Fourth of July, when we were waiting for fireworks to begin over the Washington Monument. I was missing my old roommate Janna, whom I met in August 1992. We were placed into the smallest room in our entire dormitory, room 1808. It was our first time living with a roommate, and in cramped quarters, to boot! Through the years, we lived together off and on for about four or five full years (I lived with Shawn during some of the other years, and with some other truly fucked-up roommates as well). God, we were close. She really was like a sister to me, and her quirky sense of humor made for lots and lots of good times for us. I just remember us laughing all the time. We cried together a lot, too (damn synchronized mentrual cycles!).

We really started growing apart during the last year that we lived together. My suspicion was that she somehow got her hands on my journals and realized that I’d slept with her ex a few times (after they’d broken up! What kind of girl do you think I am?!?!). By then, I was starting to get irritated with her in general (roommate issues), and when we moved out, it was truly like a divorce. I always hoped we would become close again, but it never really happened. But we will always remember how good it was when it was good.

The last time I saw her was on St. Patty’s Day 2002. We’d maintaned a friendly e-mail banter, and I was shocked and happy when she invited me to attend the big parade and festival in Pittsburgh’s Market Square. Our mutual friend Becky was there, being herself. I had lost touch with Becky (purposely) in June/July 2001, so it was weird to see her. We were cool, distant and polite toward each other. Maybe Janna told her why I stopped talking to her. But then again, Janna could keep a confidence like none other. So we’ll never know. But while Becky was constantly dumping her problems on me and calling attention to herself, she never knew that I was going through the hardest time of my life. She never asked. And I never reached out to her, because I really felt like she couldn’t handle a real problem if she fell over it.

After the parade/fiesta, we all went out to lunch (after getting sloshed all morning in the streets), and I had to leave to meet Tiff and Tom at Chuck E. Cheese (their first date. awww! hee hee). I said goodbye to Becky, and I hugged Janna. Tears came coursing out of both of our eyes, and we locked our gazes as I walked out.

She sent me a birthday gift in the mail last year, and we’ve traded maybe five e-mails since then. I’ve had a stack of birthday gifts sitting here, waiting for me to see her or to just fucking mail them already. She crosses my mind often, and I hope she is enjoying her life and that she’s found what she’s been looking for, whatever that is. I miss you, old girl. I couldn’t have gotten through those formative years without you.

I have dreams about her. I feel like she might be engaged to her fabulous boyfriend Matt. I adored him, because he was so clearly in love with her, not to mention that he’s adorable and just plain chivalrous. 🙂 But I don’t know if she ever felt the same way toward him. I kind of admire her, really, for being able to control her emotions so well, but I suppose one could say that I learned a lot from her, in that respect. Maybe that’s why our own friendship was so special — when we finally broke down and showed some weakness, we could safely do it around each other. She was hard for a lot of people to get close to, but I seemed to have no problem. I just hope that, throughout this life, she doesn’t run too far away from me, because I’m tired of losing these once-in-a-lifetime friendships. 😉

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