I’m certain I’ve told you this before, but I am talking to tens of you and I don’t know who’s heard what. So I’ll tell it again and if you’ve heard it before, you can grin pain-edly till I get to a part you haven’t heard. You can do the move-it-along gesture in your mind.
When I moved to Seattle in 1992, I knew one person: faithful reader Enormous Member Steve. Who, if I’m not mistaken, now just goes by Seattle Steve when he comments, which really isn’t fair because I have an old boyfriend in Seattle similarly named Steve and I don’t know if that Steve reads but what if he does? Do you think it’s possible he’s crying into his giant pillow that he doesn’t get to be Seattle Steve?
This is irrelevant to the story.
When I moved to Seattle, I knew one person. I got a job forthwith and did my best to make friends at work. One woman, L, asked me if I wanted to go to a rugby game the upcoming weekend. Now, any of you who’ve read me even once are shaking your head. No. No, June does not want to go to any rugby game, as June hates the sports.
I said yes. I had no friends.
So on a rainy Saturday in January, L picked me up for our big game, which I cared deeply about. “We have to get another friend of mine on the way,” she said, and that always annoys me. If I have plans with you, don’t drag another person into the deal. I’m psychologically prepared to just see you.
We go to this big old house that’s being rented out by the room, and we got Marianne. She was from the South. “Hi! I’m Marianne! I’m from the South!” This is how I picture her greeting people, and by the way, Marianne is forever greeting people.
We went to the rugby game, where Marianne greeted all the rugby players, who by the way are mostly from other places such as New Zealand. If athletic foreign men were my jam, I’d have been in heaven, but as it is I like regular brooding American men who write poems and look gloomy.
Our mutual friend L was 100% into rugby players, and they were…into her, it turned out. She collected rugby players and also possibly STDs.
It turns out, sports are boring, and Marianne and I stood on the rugby field, watching technically cute but not my type men kick each other in the head. Our friend L was standing seductively a few yards away, hoping a rugby player would land on top of her.
It was cold. It was raining. It was muddy.
“Do you want to go to the car and drink all the beer?” asked Marianne, and more beautiful words were never spoken.
And that is how Marianne and I became friends, in early 1993, and we have been friends ever since. We got together for “breakfast” every Saturday “morning,” and spent many Friday and Saturday and let’s face it, Thursday and Tuesday nights drunkenly together as well. There were men, there were periods of singlehood, there were ma-tais and hangovers.
And everywhere we went, “Hi! I’m Marianne! I’m from the South!” Waitpeople would SIT with us sometimes, she was so goddamn friendly. Once we were headed to the parking lot and we heard, “Marianne! Wait!”
The goddamn waiter wanted to give her a goddamn hug.
Waitpeople were her jam. She would’ve hugged Tom Waits, as well.
Eventually, Marianne moved back to “the South,” which turned out to be North Carolina. I saw her again in the late ’90s when she came to my wedding, and the table she sat at during the rehearsal dinner? Was clearly the most fun table. She was over there with my Aunt Mary and Uncle Stuart and Marvin’s best man with whom I once slept, and I could hear them having all the fun.
I didn’t see her again until about 10 minutes after I moved here in 2007. She lives about an hour and a half away. And? I saw her this Saturday.
You have now spent an inordinate amount of time with that pained expression.
Back in Seattle, when we’d go to “breakfast” on Saturday “morning” at the restaurant behind my apartment (I use all the air quotes because by the time we got our drunk asses out of bed it was past noon), she’d buzz me from the front door of my place and always have some “hilarious” line like, “Land shark.”
“Don’t say Land Shark,” I’d answer, and buzz her in. And always–ALWAYS!!–I still had on the pink robe, and I’d be telling her I was totally ready, just give me one second.
This weekend, I really was totally ready, but I kept my pink robe on when she arrived, just to irk her. She doesn’t GET irked, because she’s from the South.
Here’s how the day went, as we now both have ADD, or maybe we always did and all our conversations have been like this for 26 years. There’s no way of knowing because I–oooo, that’s shiny.
Anyway, here’s how every conversation went:
“Oh, that reminds me, I–“
“Look at this! I love these! …Sorry. What were you about to say?”
“I have no idea.”
THE WHOLE DAY. The whole day we’d start a thought and never finish it because we were at antique stores and shopping downtown and there was too much to distract us.
I took her to the lunch counter in my neighborhood, the pharmacy that time forgot that sells, like, one bottle of Old Spice and so on. I got a grilled ham and swiss. She got a chicken breast. Then we admired the centuries-old lip gloss. I love that place.
From there, we headed to the antique store where I found a coat I feel I must have.
I want that rattan chair, too, with all the room in my giant house.
I took her to the hippie crystal store, where she made friends with people BEFORE WE EVEN WALKED IN, and those people continued to follow her throughout the store and tell her their life story, which is what always happens, and she always genuinely cares, and I’m always genuinely annoyed.
She actually bought crystals, or maybe they’re just stones. Is there a difference? She proceeded to try to read me the little insert that came with the crystals to tell me what their magic powers were, but we kept getting distracted.
Then we headed downtown, driving all the old men crazy with our ADD. “Hi! I’m from the South!” Marianne said to each person passing by. Every person stopped and told Marianne his or her life story and then everyone hugged and I beheaded all with my no-intimacy machete.
Eventually, Marianne had to go, probably needed to give herself time to hear truck drivers emote at all the rest stops, so we went back to my house so she could give Edsel the treats she’d bought for him.
And that was my day with Marianne.