Saturday, December 23, 2006

My Friend Jen

This week my friend Jenny is entering what we like to call the Drrty Thirties. Happy Birfday to my dear Jenny!

Some years ago, I took a job at a place called the W.A.K. It doesn't matter what those letters stand for. The word "Wack" is descriptive enough. Because it was. Wack, that is. We rented canoes, schlepped them, and, if anyone was unlucky enough to tip themselves over into the water, we rode out in a little speedboat to save their sorry asses. This is the point in the story where people often say to me: "wait, rode around on a boat and saved people in trouble? LIKE BAYWATCH?" And no, dear Hoff lovers, not at all like Baywatch. In fact, this was probably the farthest away from Baywatch that you could ever picture in your life. Instead of sand and surf, we had murky water and goose poop. Instead of red bathing suits, we wore old t-shirts and shorts that could take a beating each day. And instead of running in slow motion, we ran our patooties off, all so we could half-heartedly rescue some drunken frat boy who had tipped his canoe over on purpose.

Aside from the canoes, the building also held a banquet room that looked out over the water that people rented out for parties. If these parties were held after hours, two employees would have to be stay in the building while the party was going on just in case something went wrong and then to lock up after they were done. The first party shift I worked was with Jen.

You know how, with most of your friends, you meet them, then hang out for a bit, and the love that you feel for them grows over time until you can't imagine life without them? Then there are the rare few who you meet, and you just adore them from the minute you set eyes on them? Jenny was most definitely in the latter group. The night she and I worked together, it was INSTA-BOND. She won me over completely and I was IN LOVE. I remember we sat there and did M.A.S.H. fortunes for each other and told each other our life stories. There she was at the beginning of the night, a stranger, and by the end of that shift, she was one of my closest friends. Just like that. This is the type of thing that Jenny does to people.

Even Wolfgang. Wolfgang was a dude who frequented our work place often, as there was also a sailing and yacht club associated with the WACK. Wolfgang looked like a J. Crew ad. He had sun-kissed blond hair and classical features. He even wore those Tommy Hilfiger type clothes. He also was a first class dickweed of the highest order. And he had an accent that made him sound like Colonel Klink. He yelled at us often, for things that really didn't merit all the yelling. I remember him foaming at the mouth at me one time. "Dee vending machine ees broken!" Spit even flew out of his mouth. To which I smiled and thought to myself: Aww, Wolfy can't get his Twinkie? Poor Wolfy, his life is so hard. This is the way communcation with him went. He would yell or be derisive, and we would sigh and think silent curses. Then, one day, as Jenny was standing there minding her own business, Wolfgang came over and said "Hey. Do you vant a piece of candy?" A piece of candy! For one of us? It was a god damn miracle. This is also what Jenny does to people.

After a couple of years, Jenny decided to move to Oaxaca for a year. Her plans after that year were uncertain. She could have stayed there, she could have returned to Seattle, or she could have moved back to Illinois, where her family lived. None of us knew what was going to happen. The morning she left town, Neighbor J and B, Biology Girl, Nordic Boy and I got up at the crack of ass to see her off. She loaded all her stuff up in a van and we stood on the sidewalk in our pajamas and cried our eyes out and hugged her and loved her. After waving to her tearfully as she drove away, Nordic Boy and I got in our car and started to drive home. Somehow, within a minute or two, we had caught up to her van. We drove alongside her, waving and making faces and cracking each other up. So when we finally turned off and drove in another direction, all three of us were laughing again. Our big good-bye that we had dreaded for so long was turned into this funny, silly, absurdly joyful moment instead. And once again, I have to say, this is what Jenny does to people.

Happy birthday, Jenny! Love, love, love!

Kiss the rings, I'm out.
Librarian Girl


Darlene said...

What a great story! Happy Birthday, Jenny!

p.s. I wonder whatever happened to Wolfgang....

Desperate Housewife said...

The thirties are SO much better than the twenties! Happy Birthday Jenny!
And Merry Christmas, Librarian Girl!

Anonymous said...

What are M.A.S.H. fortunes? "You will marry Radar O'Reilly?"
Thanks for you great blog this year! All the best for the holidays!
P.S.Maybe you could post your Nutcracker video on YouTube...

Josh said...

I have a Jenny-esque friend that I fell instantly in love with. It's alcohol. But we're good friends so it lets me call it The Sauce.

Also, should clear up any question you non-MASH people should have. Just imagine it written in a notebook rather than typed on a webpage. And non-stop giggling helps too.

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday Jenny! Would my life be the same without you? DOUBT IT!

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Librarian Girl, for ushering me into the DIRTY THIRTIES! Love right back to you! I've decided this decade shall be better than my twenties, by golly! My dream for this birthday is for Wolfgang to ask me, "Do you vant a peeece ov cake?" Well, not really, but it vood be funny, no?