March is Women’s History Month
I’m making a series of posts about women who’ve made a difference in my life.
I remember going to a friend’s stagette party (it was the first stagette to which I had been invited, other than my aunt’s bridal shower at which my mother, much to her own mortification, discovered I was *really good* at the orange-in-the-stocking game), which for some cruel reason was being held at the local cougar bar. You must know that at the time, I had a shaved head, 22 piercings, wore steel-toed combat boots as a fashion statement, and, apparently, frightened people. Outside the bar, I stopped and took off my glasses.
“Why are you taking off your glasses?” Amy asked.
“Because if I can’t see the douchebags in there staring and pointing and calling me a dyke, I won’t get angry.”
I did up the zip on my leather jacket.
“Why are you zipping up your jacket?” She asked, sounding a little nervous.
“Because I’ve got my glasses in my inside pocket, and if an emergency mosh pit breaks out, I don’t want them flying out of there.”
I bent down to tighten my boots and tie them up (I usually just stuffed the laces down inside them).
“WHY ARE YOU DOING UP YOUR BOOTS?” She nearly shrieked. Her eyes were huge.
“Uh. Because it’s easier to dance when your laces are tied…” I replied slowly, nearly saying it in the form of a question.
“I am going to walk behind you,” she said, glancing around a little skittishly. “I have a feeling that’s the safest place to be.”
Then I realized why she’d been asking all those weird questions. She thought I was bracing for a full-out bottle-smashed-on-the-bar fight. I was not. I was bracing for a night of dancing and celebrating our friend’s marriage…a night of celebrating at a bar I detested, and from which I had been banned several times because of the state of my attire and my chosen hairstyle (I’d “cleaned up” for my friend’s stagette. I was wearing no chains). Then I had to have a little sit-down because I was laughing so hard.
The minute we got inside, I heard Amy’s voice behind me. “Christ. I feel like a drop of ink in a glass of milk.”
I met Amy when I was in my first year of University. She was amazing. (She still is.) She was the head of the Engineering Students’ Union (or something like that), and she had this awesome Engineering jacket with patches covering the sleeves (one earned patches for various adventures and accomplishments, you see). I met her through the folks at what we called the “Cosy Corner”, which was a dank and smoky corner of comfy seats in the student centre. She knew them through gaming.
Because our circles of friends kept intersecting, and because I finally got invited to RPGs, and then to the city’s first Vampire LARP, I got to know her pretty well. We became the sort of friends that people can’t tell apart, even though we don’t look anything alike. We both just learned to answer to each other’s name, and to accept that sometimes, when people told stories about one of us, they were *actually* talking about the other. I, for one, was MORE THAN PLEASED to take credit for the awesome things Amy did.
We eventually ended up spending nearly all of our free time together, and even to this day, I would choose to hang out with Amy over pretty much anyone else (including my own kids on occasion). I told her once that I considered her family, and she snorted and said, “you’re better than family because I CHOSE you”. She’s right. Of course. As usual.
Amy is probably the smartest person I know. She has a keen analytical mind, and a sharp wit. She has the unique ability to cut right through bullshit before you know there’s bullshit around. And because we’ve shared so many things, there are times when both of us will just burst out laughing because we both know what the other is thinking, and then we’ll only be able to communicate with finger gestures and one-word references to things that happened 20 years ago.
Amy lives pretty far away now, and I don’t talk to her as much as I should. As is the way with best friends, when we *do* speak, there is no catching up. There’s just a comfortable togetherness that just …feels right.
She pulled, pushed, and kicked me through some of the most difficult times of my adult life (most of which weren’t very adulty), and she has always – ALWAYS given me the right, the perfect, advice. She has taught me the complexity of common sense, and the value of planning things out – or, at least, of having *a* plan. Or, you know, of thinking about things before you do them. Amy has this astounding ability to just…see the way things fit together, whether it’s a box with hidden slidey-outey-bits or a pattern for a sweater (her thalidomide joke STILL makes me laugh…because it’s true), or people’s reactions to things.
She was the very first person to see The Captain, although that in and of itself was an extremely traumatic fourteen seconds for her. I love her dearly and wish we were much, much closer. The only time I have seriously considered picking up stakes and moving my job, my family, and my life here in the place I love is when I think about how awesome it would be to be closer to her. (Now I’m thinking in terms of retirement, which is both terrifying and oddly satisfying.) Amy is the one person I *know* will always have my back, even if that means I’m running for my life from a bunch of mormons with stun guns.
…ESPECIALLY if I’m running for my life from a bunch of mormons with stun guns.