Thursday, March 11, 2010

Summer 10


I think we'll be checking this out this summer. About this time, I'll be begging for any excuse to leave the Arizona lowlands. I'd like to visit a very good friend in Orange while I'm out, but it may have to wait for another time if I can only make a weekend of it. Since middle school I have referred to her as my favorite person in the world. One of my dad's many exes from the 90s, she made a lasting impression on me that almost no one else has other than my grandmother. How much of a drive is it from Long Beach to Santa Ana anyway? Looks close.

I met Pam when I was just starting the 7th grade. I was so shy and unsocialized. Over the next few years, I began fighting constantly with my mother about how unhappy she was with my "new persona" which essentially meant I started listening to punk and goth and dressing as you do when you're in that position. While my mother was trying tactics like chipping away at my confidence with insults or threatening to send me away to a school for bad girls (although I didn't drink, smoke or date, do they admit kids just for wearing black?), Pam and I would sit up at night when I was at my dad's on the weekend and talk about everything, from her own hard times in school and life, to the many things we had in common, a love for certain music, classic movies, creaking old houses, ghost stories, tales of the unusual, general hijinks. She blew my mind because she was a functioning adult, a responsible mother of two boys much more well adjusted than I, yet she was completely cool and fun and happy to come right down to my level as an equal, never acting like her wisdom was greater than my common sense even though it obviously was. She let you find a point by yourself but she shared her experiences first.

Anyway I didn't immediately realize it but knowing her and how difficult her life was, yet observing her constantly wizened yet fun-loving nature steeled me against my own problems. I realized that it was right that I could be whomever the hell I wanted and that the observations of the morons at my school and in my family meant nothing because I was the one who had to live my life and face all of my own consequences. I can't even pinpoint exactly how much she helped me at this time, but I hope I've made a dent in it since we started emailing again last year. We fell out of touch after she and my dad broke up.

Some people just have something about them that everyone wants. Pam is a concentrated example of this. Everyone who meets her seems magnetized by her depth & hilarious personality. I wouldn't be surprised if she secretly found her many friends and admirers to be somewhat draining, always wanting her and to be around her, sucking up her charm and vitality, and still more since she's found herself beset with illness in the last year. That's why I want to give her as much of what I have to give, some small token of exchange for everything she did to improve my life when I most needed it. There's no measure or repayment for that.

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