My sister's friend and college roommate, who is known to the blogosphere as Southern Fried Momma, may be in a position to take the credit and/or blame for my emergence into the Wild World o' Bloggin'. I've put up a series of notes on my Facebook profile recently of a bloglike nature and Dejoni, along with some of my other childhood friends, have encouraged me to expand my horizons. Well, for good or ill, here we go. I'll kick off with a serious one, and I promise levity at some point in the near future.
If I had to lay this at anyone's feet, per inspiration, he's the unlikeliest muse in the world...a cherished friend who walked out of my life some twenty years ago. Back in high school, where one went, the other followed on his or her heels- to locate one outside our classes meant the other was never far behind. I reflect on it now and realize how desperately we clung to each other for support, often by proximity as much as any other means.
Today, I'm thinking about the crossword puzzles...Mrs. Tucker, the school librarian, gave us special permission to do the crosswords in the daily paper after the teachers were finished reading it for the day. We'd sit there, quietly murmuring the answers and passing the pencil back and forth until it was complete; it was comfortable, on the order of an old blanket in which you curl up when you don't feel well. It was always obvious to the faculty when we'd argued, since I would go to the library to begin the crossword puzzle without him; normally, unless it was an especially sticky fight, or he was being particularly obstinate, he'd show up and sit down next to me. I made a good show of ignoring him until we fell, out of habit more than anything, into the normal rhythm of things, arguments forgotten as we teased out the more elusive clues. After he graduated, I gave up on crosswords. It just wasn't the same.
The quietude never bothered him, although our personal problems manifested in polar opposite ways: he was quiet and shy to a fault, and I was the brash, loud diva. Frequently, I did over-the-top things for simple shock value. I always knew when I'd gone too far, because he'd regard me with a slightly irritated expression and then attempt to ignore me for several hours. Sometimes it was impossible, which I knew perfectly well- on quiz team outings, as our captain with me as strong second chair, he could not avoid talking to me. If I was in an especially feisty mood, I'd tweak him just to see how far I could get before he lost it, sputtering angrily at me for several minutes while I gazed at him, arms folded, with my right eyebrow arched in amused derision. It would eventually elicit the response, "STOP IT, SPOCK!" (Ergo, if I make reference to everyone's favorite Vulcan, it's usually right at triple entendre: it's me, it's Nimoy's character, and it was his favorite Star Trek character.)
I've devoted a great deal of my career to sheltering, figuratively, the kids like us in the folds of my skirts. I sponsor the college quiz team, when I can put together four decent, reliable players. I sponsor the Gay-Straight Alliance, since in the absence of strongarming him into attending dances, I went with a gay friend who is now deceased. I sponsor the Roleplaying Game Club. I try to recapture the precious little things that I held so dear about him by helping the NextGen of geeklets. Over time, I have discovered that many of them carry similar scars to ours, and it drives me forward whenever I falter.