Monday, April 30, 2012

Pretty Simple Stuff

Today is Janey’s—one of my bestests friends—birthday!
Happy Birthday Janey!

Janey and I were born exactly one year and one month apart; she on the plus side (as I like to remind her), so she’s a lot wiser and sager than I am, in most things, because of the age difference. 
A lot went on in those 13 months that I missed out on.

I won’t tell you just how old she is—she wouldn’t want that—but like a lot of us, it’s much more than what she would like, right now, but much less than what she would hope, in the future.
So it’s a mixed blessing, these birthdays, not to mention message, I suppose.
I have a lot of women friends. In fact most of my bestest friends over the years have been women. Mostly because they smell better than men, always insist on picking up half the check…and let me win at leg wrestling…most of the time.
It’s been my experience that women aren’t as naturally competitive as men, at least in the sense that their win means your loss. They’re just as happy when you win too…in fact I think they might prefer it.
Not so much, the men.
Plus, women like to talk, which I do too…and about things that don’t always require a ball.
I’ve known Janey for just a week over 24 years now, and she hasn’t changed a bit…except for her hair color...which has changed several times.
We met at a little hole in the wall, corporate production company that was literally located in a hole in the wall. Well, more like an old converted warehouse, actually, on this nasty little industrial side street in this ritzy little town on Long Island.
It was run by some nice, well-meaning people, literally a mom and pop shop, but like a lot of small corporate communications places at the time, they were making it up as they went along.
There were a lot of young, talented, professionals on staff, and we did a lot of good work there, when we weren’t running into each other and the walls, which we weren’t used to, you know...because they were new.
Anyway, Janey was the receptionist/ switchboard/ typist/ secretary/ mailroom/ kitchen attendant and so on, person.
Basically, any tedious little job that no one else wanted to do was hers. And she did them all without complaint…sort of.
See, that’s where I came in.
My office, before the warehouse had a lot of new walls, was situated right behind where Janey sat; up front, protecting us all from unwanted intruders, who may or may not have meant us harm…or just wanted to deliver the mail.
So whenever Janey had a bone to pick—or more likely, an entire skeleton—about some assignment that she found particularly tedious, she would stomp in, plop herself down on the classy canvas director’s chair across from my desk and proceed to let out this noise that resembled the sound of a locomotive releasing steam.
That gosh darn–which sounded like something very different when Janey said it—(fill in the name of any offending employee at any given time) is a pain in my gosh darn butt!”–which sounded like something very different when Janey said it.
It didn’t matter if I was on the phone or figuring out a way to get a camera crew to 4 office buildings to interview 6 executives in 3 hours…the next day.
I would usually respond, usually without lifting my head up from what I was doing….
“(Fill in the name of any offending employee at any given time) sucks!”
Which would make her laugh and seemed to be all that she required before she picked herself up, walked out the door and  plopped herself back in her own chair, with a thud.
From there, now unseen behind the wall, she’d continue,…
“This is wrong I tell you…wrong, wrong, wrong….”
Which is when I would usually get up and shut my door.
Which is when she would usually get up and push it back open…but always with a big bright smile.
And on and on it went, every day, in some form, for about 2 years.

After I began freelancing and Janey moved on to full time housewifing duties, we continued to keep in touch and got together every now and again.  More so in the beginning than now, but we still talk on the phone and manage a lunch a few times a year. Occasionally, even a trip to the beach, which is an experience with Janey because she says any exposure to the sun will make her skin slough off; so extreme precautions must be taken, because, as she says... nobody wants to see that.
We’re actually getting together this afternoon for our annual joint Birthday gathering—if two people sharing lunch qualifies as a gathering—and I expect the conversation to go something like this.   
“My gosh darn–which will sound like something very different when Janey says it—neighbor is a pain in my gosh darn butt!"–which will sound like something very different when Janey says it.
I’ll respond….
“Your neighbor sucks!”
To which she’ll reply….
And that gosh darn–which will sound like something very different when Janey says it—contractor that’s redoing my kitchen is a pain in my gosh darn butt!”–which will sound like something very different when Janey says it. 
And I’ll respond….
“Your contractor sucks!”
Which will make her laugh and seem to be all that she requires.
That’s how it is with bestest friends for 24 years. 
Pretty simple stuff….

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