In some of my friendships I can pinpoint the exact moment I knew we'd be more than acquaintances. For my college roommate Jenny, it was the moment she suggested leaving our voicemail message in Russian accents.
For my college teammate Katie, it happened on the first day of our "Intro to Leadership" class. I was enjoying a carmel apple sucker. But I was enjoying it a little too much because unbeknownst to me, I had a GIANT string of drool dangling from my lip and nearly hitting the desk. When I finally noticed, I quickly slurped it up and glanced around to see if anyone had noticed. One girl had. She sat on the other side of the room with her shoulders shaking as she silently laughed at me for the rest of class.
Katie is one of those friends who is unique in all the right ways. She is quirky and selfless, full of adventure and movie trivia and funny stories; she is witty and sarcastic, observant and humble and gifted in so many different ways that I truly do feel blessed to be her friend. She and I share a love for awkwardness and a hatred for the telephone which makes staying in touch difficult but she writes the funniest e-mails I've ever received. She currently works as a finished carpenter and lives with her husband, Cameron, on a remote mountain in Colorado. Yes, I said carpenter. Some may say she's taking the "WWJD" thing a bit to the extreme but I think it is just plain awesome.
It is always a treat to spend time with Katie. Two years ago I spent my Spring Break on their mountain and had a quite the adventure. You need to see pictures to fully appreciate what I mean by "adventure." We went on a hike in her "backyard" during which we chased wild turkeys and Katie brought a gun "in case of bears"
and we dressed in cameo gear to search for deer.
Then it started to snow
so we went sledding for hours while the neighbor's giant dog chased us.
and we had to shovel for hours so I wouldn't miss my flight home.
It was one of those trips that will always make me smile; an adventure that left me feeling full- full of life, of laughter, of wonder. It was truly fantastic. But what I loved most, despite the unforgettable bizarre adventures, was the conversations with this dear friend and her hilarious husband. Whether we were roasting peeps in her fireplace or lounging in her picturesque "breakfast nook," our conversations were what made this trip so fulfilling. I love that I have friendships like this- friends that I can merely sit with and talk about life and laugh and laugh and laugh. Katie and I have some pretty bizarre conversations. I don't remember them from 2 years ago but I do remember them from this past weekend when I got to see her again. We had an hour or so at Starbucks and though there was no crazy adventure, it is conversations like these that serve as the perfect seasoning when life gets a tad bland. We walked my parents' dog, Nike, up to the local Starbucks and laughed ourselves silly.
We laughed so much because that's what Katie and I do. We probably find ourselves much more humorous than others do, but on this particular day we discovered that our antics were not entertaining to us alone. We sipped our hot chocolates and nibbled on pastries for a good while as we sat outside and the entire time a man sitting across the way was openly eavesdropping. I'm all for eavesdropping but there is certain protocol that one must follow: there must be no eye contact and absolutely no laughing or adding two cents. One must never let the conversers know about the eavesdropping. However, our beanie-clad buddy did not follow protocol.
I don't remember exactly at what point he started chiming in but I do remember realizing he was listening as we discussed the intellectual issue of dog discipline. I said something about how my dad used to roll up a newspaper but didn't clarify that it was when he was disciplining the dog so Katie replied incredulously, "Your dad hit you guys with newspaper?" I erupted in laughter right as our new friend across the way did as well.
Katie went on to tell a hilarious tale of her Christmas Eve church experience. In this small service a girl in the front threw up all over the place and her mother picked her up, held her away from herself and ran her out of the church, child puking all the way and people literally diving to dodge the projectile vomit. I'm dying laughing at this point and Eddy Eavesdropper chimes in asking for clarification. Katie went on to boast of how she guessed exactly what was in the puke by the mere smell. Pb and J with rice chex if you're curious.
"How did you verify that you were right?" I inquired.
"We talked to the mom afterwards. I lied and told her she handled the situation well and then my sister asked her what the girl had eaten."
For sure my favorite Christmas Eve church story. Eddy certainly enjoyed it as well. He later even started offering advice. It got awkward. As I was telling Katie a story, I felt almost rude that I only looked at her and didn't turn to make eye contact with him as well since he was openly staring and listening as well.
While we sat outside Starbucks with Nike, Katie had a little too much fun tormenting strangers. We were blocking the entrance. To get coffee, one had to pass by the giant brown dog and two squirly Katies. Katie would loosen the give on Nike's leash when certain people tried to pass to allow him to get in a proper sniff. (mainly guys wearing skinny jeans) Of course this led to the life-altering debate about whether to turn to allow a dog to sniff your front or behind. Eddy loved that debate.
Then we discussed the awkward moments people create by saying comments which there is really no response to. Case in point: several people kept telling Katie, "your dog is beautiful." She felt silly responding not only because it wasn't her dog but because there really is no proper response. Thank you? I made him myself? As we pondered this, Katie made me promise that I would respond to the next person who said, "your dog is beautiful" with a "you can say that again." I did but Katie insists I did not use the proper, smug tone and sounded too apologetic.
I then informed Katie of how the previous Sunday my roommate and I discussed potential awkward phrases we could say during the meet n greet at church. This led to me saying, "sup?" to the a woman I later learned was the wife of the one of the pastors.
I also told her how a different pastor at the church always says, "God bless you" to me when he sees me and I never know how to respond.
"You can say that again"???
Katie later told the story of a Christmas meal that involved another comment that is difficult to respond to. She returned to the table and her uncle announced, "Wow. That's your 8th meatball."
"Geez thanks for calling me a fatty in front of the whole fam. And who started the meatball count?"
This reminded me of one of my greatest pet peeves when someone says, "You look so tired." Really they are just saying, "You look AWFUL." You can't just say that to people. I usually have a sassy remark for such people and keep them on my "I'm pissed at you" list for at least 2 months. However, I got a taste of my own medicine when I saw my brother Trent and said, "oh wow- did you work the night shift last night?" I truthfully thought he had. His eyes were bloodshot and he looked terrible. He laughed and said, "Nope. Actually had a good 10 hours last night. Thanks a lot." But we're family and can tell each other when we look awful. In fact, I wore the same outfit in the above picture all break and Trent said, "are you trying to be look like one of those cool, college kids by wearing your beaning loose like that? Why don't you go study and have some DTR's?" This is the family I live in. We live by brutal honesty.
Katie and I went on to discuss the delicate subject of the dangers of movie recommendations. I made the mistake of recommending a movie to my pastor which I loved. I thought he would enjoy True Grit as well but I didn't mean for him to take his whole family to the movie. His daughter later shot me daggers and said, "worst movie I've ever seen in the theaters. Thanks for wasting 2 hours of my life and traumatizing me with all the violence."
Oops. I had forgotten about the violence. Katie appreciated my story because in college she made the same mistake of recommending a movie before thinking it through. I will never forget renting "I Spy" with her and our friend Megan and laughing till my sides hurt- at Katie, not the movie. It was terrible. Poor Katie had to sit through two hours of me and Megan mocking her movie taste and now years of ridicule. Moral of the story: be very careful when recommending a movie.
Though I only see Katie once or twice a year, she will be one of those friends I imagine I'll be laughing with when we're 73. I'll still be teasing her about "I Spy" and that time in college when she carried my cup of pee to the Health Center and the lid broke. By then our e-mails could be a whole series of books. I imagine we'll still be having conversations that "season" our lives and that people will eavesdrop in on and raise their eyebrows. And I imagine we'll still be having adventures and finding each other way more amusing than anyone else ever will.