Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Friendly Visit

I smiled and kicked my legs with delight, eliciting a widening of Friend's eyes as she stood above and behind the couch on which I reclined.

"I saved all the bears from the honey!" I declared victoriously, causing said eyes to roll.  "Now what were you telling me?"

Friend is - as she ever was - intensely intelligent, thoughtful, sharp and more wonderful adjectives.  I've learned about cells and students, rocks and NIH, theoretical scientist tracks and sexism.  She educates, Friend does, and it delights me to watch, even when directed at yours truly.

"It's silly," she said, driving me from the airport which delivered me to the land of drawling accents, sweet tea and cars abandoned on the sides of highways.  "But I feel like I'd either veer too far into talking about students or that I should join the conversation for reals."

I opened my mouth to respond to her thoughts on blogging - for mine independently are more shallow (I use an iPad to play games rather than a laptop to generate content for fun - when I have my laptop, I'm working - defining strategy, convincing people to agree with me, sending email, progressing projects) but paused.

"For realz?"  I repeated?  "Like with a z?"

"I work," she responded haughtily, "with 20 year olds.  And it's with an s."

So I giggled at us - for as rarely as we talk (I'm terrible at maintaining long-distance relationships - it's a serious character flaw) - it's as easy as ever to slip back into familiar patterns even in circumstances that are dramatically different (as they remain refreshingly and eerily similar).  The more things change, the more they stay the same and all that.

"I read a book on the plane," I told her, "that talked about online presence as people look for jobs or establish the groundwork for promotion."

"I should update my LinkedIn profile," she mused.

"Yes!" I confirmed, remembering my highlighted sections on the iPad.  "Add a photo, update at least monthly, fill in all the sections with stories that differentiate you, but not too much.  But it also talked about having a YouTube channel (I watch PewDiePie, BTW.), having a professional blog..."  I trailed off, unable to remember the other items without checking and I was still too hot to put my bag (clearance!  I love that bag even though I keep losing stuff in its many pockets) on my lap to retrieve my device.

But I read career paths (in order to gain more power and money as well as fulfilling my mission in life, as fuzzy as that may seem sometimes) while she reads pedagogy (determining how to best shape young(er) minds).  And I ponder that while I am a good person - I love God, I try to do good and be kind - Friend is ever-so-much better.

"You are," I told her over cheese biscuits and honey butter (God bless the South), "inherently kind.  Non-judgmental.  Not to everyone - not to stupid people - but to those who approach with real pain and problems.  You are good."

Then I blinked back a tear or two because she is and I love her and that's profound.

"She saved you," Mom reminded me when I sighed over having to get on a plane (which I hate less than before but still don't enjoy - the "look at me going places!" excitement is eclipsed by the "don't like prolonged contact with strangers stealing my half of the armrest" and "I have landed - don't leave me on the tarmac while I want off this plane.")

"I know.  I remember," I said, giving kisses and "love yous" before departing.  Brother has been struggling with his mental health of late and I adopt the gentle tone Friend used with me when speaking to him at his most fragile.  "It's fine to just sleep.  This will get better.  Don't be afraid of the medicine.  Let's say the Lord's prayer.  If you can get outside and take a walk, that may help.  Just breathe.  Try to eat something.  Be patient and kind with yourself.  We love you."

And now I miss you, my bloggy friends who may still keep me in in reader lists.  So Rudoguil may have to wait for my help with finding the spectral blade for the new king frozen in rock while I try to write a bit again.  We shall see.

But - for now - Friend and I are well, trying to make our small corners of the world better.  I very much hope you're the same.


JaneB said...

Oh, it's so good to hear you are both doing well! I miss you...

TitleTroubles said...

Ah, man...you mean I have to make you talk to me to get you to write more? I don't think I love your audience enough to make that large a sacrifice. I'm old and get tired, you know.

And I didn't save you. I was just there to point out that you have everything necessary and sufficient to save yourself. Never forget that.

(So you can laugh at me--it's been so long since I logged in to blogger I not only had to reset my password, I couldn't even remember my user name. I'll be getting panicked emails from Google about anomalous activity for freaking days, just to post this lame ass comment.)

Leslie M-B said...

It was nice to see this post pop up in my feed reader. I'm glad you're doing well!

Amanda@Lady Scientist said...

Yay! You're back!

Jenn, PhD said...

You're back, yeah!

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