My friend Lori is AMAZING. EXAMPLE: Lori & I met for dinner a few nights ago, & we talked about a lot of different things, including the blog & how I wasn’t getting as many views that week as I’d hoped. Being the AMAZING friend that she is, within twenty-four hours, I had 14 views more than usual, and all of them were Lori. She posted 5 different comments, making me feel super loved and special, because that’s just how she rolls.
Lori was the first person to subscribe to my blog, the first person to comment on it, and the one who remembers the things I’ve written but still lets me tell them to her in real life.
The night before I was going to take the AEPA (teacher test), Lori was the one who encouraged me in ways that only she can pull off.
“I didn’t really study, so I’m a little nervous,” I said.
“You’re going to be fine, Katie,” Lori replied confidently. “Just think of all the morons you’ve had teach you before. If they passed the test, you totally will.”
Similarly, when I was trying to talk myself into trying to publish my book, Lori was right there offering up the perfect words of encouragement.
“I don’t know, I don’t wanna think that I’m really going to become a writer and have it turn out that I suck at this,” I said.
“You can totally do it,” Lori said, not missing a beat. “I just think about all those times Stephanie Meyer uses the word ‘intense’ to describe Edward, and I know that you should go for it. You think there’s a way we can get a count of all the times she describes his eyes as intense?”
Now, believe it or not, that was the most encouraging thing anyone said to me. It’s the thought I take myself back to every time I am afraid of toiling away at a manuscript that will never take off. It is real & kind & hilarious, & I’m so lucky to have a friend who so regularly & effortlessly speaks my language.
So, I offer up a nonfiction narrative about friend Lori. Unfortunately, I couldn’t come up with anything that really displays the nature of our friendship, but I think that’s a good thing. I think it means that our friendship wasn’t defined at one particular moment. It has its foundation in years of consistency & devotion rather than flashy entertainment or convenience. This story is a bit entertaining & exciting, though completely opposed to everything Lori has been to me in the past, because she never leaves me behind… well, almost never.
Lori, her husband Steve, & I did a lot of volunteering for The Cool Church a few years back. Steve & I organized & led stuff for the teenagers to do, & Lori did just about everything else the church required. So it wasn’t at all uncommon for the three of us to be sitting together & talking while our group of miscreants roamed about causing minor mischief & chaos.
This particular day (I think it was a Saturday), we all found ourselves at Skate Country. We were probably there for a birthday party for one of the teens, but regardless, we were out there in our roller skates (my preferred foot gear was roller blades, but I thought I’d try something new… plus, I’m pretty sure it costs more to rent roller blades than roller skates) racing around in circles, feeling semi-young & carefree. Although – it is difficult to feel young & carefree when chaperoning 15 teenagers who frequently do stupid things. It’s not their fault, I know. It’s a side-effect of youth.
At some point in the evening, the DJ got on his mic & asked everyone but kids of a certain age to clear the floor. We all skated off to the side to watch youngsters totter around in a short race. Then, they invited kids who were a little older, then the teenagers, then they asked for adults to come & race.
Evidently, other adults already knew something I should have but didn’t, because no one was volunteering.
“Hey, Katie,” Lori said. “Let’s race. No one’s out there so one of us will get the prize.”
The adventurous part of me got excited. “Okay!”
So we skated out to the starting line & got ready.
“Alright,” the DJ said. “On your mark. Get set. Go!”
He put on some terrible music that made me feel embarrassed to know that anyone was looking at me, and Lori & I took off.
PAUSE: Did I mention that roller skates were new to me & that I would have been much more smooth wearing roller blades? Because if I haven’t mentioned that, I should. Roller blades were all the rage when I was young & I was pretty decent in them. You should keep that in mind when you are reading the rest of the story.
RESUME: So we rounded the first turn going pretty fast (Lori is a really good skater), & I wiped out.
Falling down at Skate Country has a very distinct feel to it, by the way. It’s sort of a SPLAT! Sometimes you get the wind knocked out of you, but mostly your skin just slaps against the cold, hard floor really loudly, making you think it hurts way more than it actually does. Once you’re down on the floor, you can feel dirt & germ particles touching any skin you’ve left exposed, & you can hear all of the people watching the race cracking up inside. They mostly don’t LOL because they don’t want to hurt your feelings, but telepathically, you know that your fall has brightened their day just a little bit. Also, you’ve reinforced their dedication to avoiding Skate Country races for the rest of their lives. For a moment, just before you started the race, they wished that they’d been brave enough to join in. But now that you are sprawled on the floor in front of everyone, they know that they made the correct choice.
Of course, this would be a really touching friendship story if Lori had stopped, pulled me to my feet, & we finished the race together. It would be touching except that Lori didn’t even realize I had fallen. She finished her lap in a matter of seconds, & one of the guys who worked there helped me up. Lori, Steve & I (and about 2/3 of the teenagers who were supposed to perceive me as a grown-up, but probably struggled to FOREVER because of this moment) met up on the carpet outside of the humiliation rink, & exchanged awkward glances. Were they allowed to laugh at me? Would it hurt my feelings? I made fun of myself a little so that everyone would know that I was allowing their enjoyment of this moment & any future teasing they were planning, and the night ended in fun & merriment for all.
Sometimes, Lori & I reminisce about the good ol’ days when she left me behind at Skate Country. But the thing we remember most about that afternoon: THEY DIDN’T EVEN GIVE HER A PRIZE! BOLLOCKS!