So when I went to St. Mary's College and met people who liked what I liked, did what I did, I was nothing short of euphoric.
And on the very first night of college, sitting outside a dorm room party, I met my best friend and it was sort of like falling in love. We sat on those steps and talked about the music our parents had helped us fall in love with (Joan Baez, Jim Croce), the jam bands we had seen and wanted to see (String Cheese Incident and Widespread Panic), and I knew right away, as maybe only a teenager can, that I had found my friend.
Maybe it wouldn't have felt so profound if the years leading up to it hadn't been exactly as they were. Who knows. All I know, is that I was and am so grateful for my best friend. I'm grateful for the trips we've taken and the secrets we've shared, for the times we've cracked ourselves up and the times we were distraught.
Because I found a friend who takes the state personality quiz, and just like me, gets Georgia, and just like me, retakes it hoping for a different state, one that isn't labeled as "conventional."
And mostly, I wish she lived closer, but there are three reasons I'm happy Joanna moved to New York:
- I get to visit New York and I have the best tour guide, the one who knows exactly where I would want to go, knows exactly what I would want to do, knows exactly what I would want to order. And after four trips this past year and a half, I get to feel like a little bit of an insider. I know which neighborhoods are cool, which neighborhoods are too cool. I know how to use the subway and how to hail a cab. I get to be a little less of a small town bumpkin a few times a year.
- We spend concentrated time together now. When Joanna was a bartender just forty-five minutes away, we had to squeeze in time between two very different schedules. Sometimes in the dark morning as I was drinking coffee, I would find Facebook messages from minutes before, written just as she was going to bed. School teachers and bartenders socialize at very different hours, and sometimes weeks would pass without seeing each other and when we did, the hangouts were short. I would be fearing my early morning wake up, while she was just gearing up. But now when I get to see her, it's for a few days, for a whole weekend. We get to fall asleep recounting the days adventures and wake up planning for the next round. I bet on average, when spend more hours together per month since she's moved.
- She's happy in New York. The truth is, Joanna is almost always happy. She is really good at life, and really good at making the best of it. But New York makes her even more happy, so I guess it's okay that she lived up there, even if I still hope one day she'll be my neighbor.
And Joanna, when you and Geoff come visit in a few weeks, please make sure he is prepared for lots of time spent pouring over old photos. It is completely and totally necessary.