Tuesday, January 08, 2008

32 Things I Love About Lisa

One of my oldest (as in, I've known her for a very long time - she's not even touching the hem of Old's garment as far as her age is concerned) friends is soon to have a birthday. She's had a rotten few days, and a rotten few months before that due to a Very Bad Person giving her the worst kind of hell. She's far away and I can't go to her, give her a hug (and then find the VBP and tear their throat out with my teeth) and say Happy Birthday with cake, so here's the only offering I can give her. There are more than 32 things going right about her, but I'm limiting myself to this particular number, for no particular reason:

1. She and I weren't friends to begin with. We didn't like each other much at all.

2. She has lovely pale eyes.

3. Lisa is a philanthropist. A real one.

4. She has lived in countries I can barely spell.

5. She taught me not to call Sudan 'THE Sudan'.

6. She is open minded to a particular cherished vice of mine.

7. She's my highest-educated close friend. She almost has an eff-dah.

8. We clearly have many inside jokes.

9. She has a beautiful lilting, throaty singing voice and uses it without fear.

10. She and I can actually ask each other for things. This sort of friend is so very rare.

11. She and I accept things from each other without too much fussing and 'I don't know'-ing. This is even more rare. Are you listening, Lis?

12. She has caused me to break my self-imposed blog blackout. For that I thank you, my dear.

13. She knows the proper Latin names of plants and birds (especially birds) from many and varied regions of the world.

14. She has a special smile for me when I'm being an ass.

15. She is a brilliant, emotionally piercing writer. Someday she'll be spoken of by kings and society ladies. I've kept every scrap - soft AND hard copies - of writing she's ever vouchsafed to me.

16. She'd be able to tell me without pausing if I just used the word 'vouchsafed' correctly.

17. She runs. She's a runner.

18. She's not afraid to go play indoor soccer with a bunch of men.

19. She's not afraid to gloat when she runs said men into the ground due to her superior fitness.

20. Lisa has extraordinarily graceful hands.

21. She's quirky. I like quirky even better than I like nice. She's really nice, too, though.

22. She loves traveling on motorcycles. She buys them sometimes and names them things like "Markham".

23. She's a cat person.

24. She's more compassionate than almost anyone I know. Her brand of compassion means action - going somewhere and actually doing something, sometimes unspeakably hard somethings, to help those she loves best.

25. She's not afraid to laugh at me when I'm being an idiot. And manages to avoid making me feel like shit in so doing. I treasure this in a friend (no, really). So rare, so rare.

26. She is going to be a professor soon.

27. She speaks Khmer.

28. She taught me that it's pronounced "Khmaye", not "Khmairrr". You should see the faces of people when I'm talking about Pol Pot and the "Khmaye" Rouge. [snicker]

29. She thinks I'm smart. I think. Reasonably intelligent. Since she's brainy enough to write up dialogues between disparate tribes of people whose village names I can't even, as I said before, pronounce, I feel honored. OK, well, I don't know if she thinks I'm smart, but she gets in a temper when I call myself stupid, so...

30. When certain shitbags are behaving really, really badly and trying to blame Lisa for their pain, she (instead of, say, tearing them to bits with her mighty brain and quick mouth) joins in and asks me what she should do to make things better. For them. It's infuriating, as her friend, but endearing as well. As long as she STOPS IT RIGHT NOW.

31. Her idea of fun is trotting around in the wilderness looking for birdies.

32. She loves incredibly generously. She conducts herself with honor. She leaves people better than they were.

33. (one more!) We were completely different people when we went to school together so long ago. So different that we kind of couldn't stand each other for a good while. We've been in and out of contact since then and changed - both on our own and in how we relate to each other. We are very different. But she still calls me 'friend' and writes me long, luscious emails (even when she's angry, broke, avoiding everyone and at the end of her rope) to tide me over until we see each other again.

34. BONUS! I nearly killed both of us driving in snow once. We survived, but her opportunity to stop and take breathtaking pictures of Snoqualmie Pass snowed under didn't thanks to my negligence. She forgave me.

[raises pint] Here's to you, good friend. May your loving friends circle around you this week and may everyone else be tipped into the rubbish bin by a grouchy maid.