reverb10-16: She freaks me out, but sometimes that’s a good thing

Umm. Susan that dude's made of stone, so he won't talk to you. Stop saying "hi".

Susan collects friends the way some people collect cats or pig figurines or spores.

If Susan doesn’t make friends with someone that would be weird.

Sometimes when we’re out shopping and we’re slowed down by the 20th person she wants to stop and talk to, I say, “Will you stop saying hi to everyone?”

But she wouldn’t be Susan if she didn’t.

Almost all the friends I currently have in Ottawa came my way because of Susan (except my high school friend Allison who saved me from jail time after Colicky Baby #1). In Malcolm Gladwell terms, she’s a connector. I’m a quasi-hermit.

Susan is charming and relentless (at times to the point of annoyance). The fact that she dropped my baby when I first met her and I still became friends with her is a testament to her incredible charm–or mind control.

We’re very different. She’s an art geek and I’m a jock; she likes to attend parties where she hardly knows anyone; I do not. She loves yoga dance and I will not.

She’s fearless in ways I’m not. When we had bed bugs, Susan came over and helped me steam furniture. When another friend was faced with the same scourge (not from my house, thankfully), I couldn’t bring myself to help with the work involved, except to leave booze on her porch.

She says stuff out loud like “post-coital drip” and talks about menstrual cups just to gross me out. I get grossed out.

But we’re similar in ways that matter, such as our love for our families and our endless appreciation for fart jokes.

How did she change my perspective on the world this year? I learned to not take her for granted.

She went away. She and her family moved to Brussels last year because of her husband’s work. I felt adrift. I managed. The network that she set up floated along, but her absence was keenly felt.

I was supposed to visit her in Brussels, but I planned a bike trip to Mallorca instead. She forgave me and then hopped aboard the trip, despite the fact that she doesn’t bike. She became the team mascot. We laughed and laughed on that trip.

When I cycled myself into oblivion during a mountain ride, she took care of me. She covered me in blankets and brought me tea and stomach-friendly foods.

Susan and her family have returned, and there was much rejoicing in this house and in many houses across Ottawa.

Susan is a great friend, who has taught me a lot about being there for others.

***

I’m participating in a 31-day blogging challenge called #reverb10. Each post is a response to a writing prompt from a different author. The goal of the exercise is to reflect on 2010 and set goals for 2011. My personal challenge is to respond to each prompt in an hour or less. So far, I’ve blown my deadline each time. But tomorrow is another day.

Today’s prompt was from Martha Mihalick:

Friendship. How has a friend changed you or your perspective on the world this year? Was this change gradual, or a sudden burst?

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