So Friday I was testing something and while waiting for the test to finish, I checked Facebook. There was a message from one of my friends that started, "I regret to inform you that JL has passed away." I was all alone in the lab. My face contorted as I tried not to cry. That worked for all of 30 seconds and then the tears flowed. I let some of my friends know our friend had passed of a sudden brain aneurism. Then sat in shock. Another engineer came into the lab, and got me some Kleenex and was really happy that I was not crying over a failed test (the test did fail). He was really uncomfortable and I thanked him for the Kleenex and packed up my stuff and we walked back to our desks. I told him to have a good weekend and left.
D was out of town, my friends M and B were out of town and I really was at a loss. I ran over to the bar because I won a T-shirt that I had to pick up. Of course I had a beer. I sat in the corner and cried and email-chatted with my friends about our dear friend. We have all been friends for 8 years. Yet, invisi-friends. We have never met. But we have chatted late at night about hopes, dreams, fears, divorces, new loves, family, deaths. We have debated about politics, books, music, jobs, men, etc. All the while, we may have disagreed about everything, but we knew we were good friends. Although like most friends, we forgot to let each other know. After I got my T-shirt (a small that won't even fit McMenamin or Scuttlebutt), I started home. I passed the Ice Cream Store. I told D 2 years ago that I would go when I lost a certain amount of weight. We haven't been since. I still haven't met that weight goal. I stopped and had some ice cream. I tried the Rosemary Olive Oil ice cream. It is as awful as it sounds. I ended up with Salted Caramel. Then I went and got a Sonic Blast. Yes, ice cream was dinner.
I talked to my friends and D some more and then went to bed. Saturday morning started off shaky thanks to McMenamin being up at 2AM. I got out of bed at 6 and we walked. At 7 I got dressed for a run. I couldn't find my iPod so I went without it. It turns out I didn't really need it. I sang some songs to myself. Since my friend was an English Professor, I thought about my college English Class and I sang a lot of Tori Amos to myself (my first English Class was all about analyzing music). My running was slow but well paced. I went past the prison and up to the gas station where the boxer had been shot. Someone yelled, "Your ass is too big for those pants." I waved. As I ran past the gas station, someone else yelled, "You have a nice butt." I again waved.
I went down a new road. It was flat. It was wide, because it had lanes to park your car in. The only problem was there is an assisted living place there and 2 ambulances passed me. With no headphones they are loud!!! I got to one of the zillion churches. A man was waiting for MARTA. He yelled, "You go, baby!" I waved again. I finished that road and turned back onto the one I usually run. There was no way I was ready to go in. I still hadn't decided how far I was running. I got to Hill St, and ran down. I wondered how I was going to go home. Would I turn? Would I go out and back? I ran down the street and Tori Amos played in my head again. I thought about my friend. JL reminded me of the Little Earthquakes Album. I thought about our last "disagreement" which was not the last time we spoke, luckily. We fought over the book Twilight. She was a feminist and thought it was a poor book as a role model for young girls. I thought it was a trashy beach novel and no one in their right mind would think someone who was trying to choose a vampire over a werewolf would be a good role model. Obviously we had a different take on the book. I remember laughing at how we were disagreeing over it, and I could "hear" her exasperation at my taking the book at face value and applying no deep meaning to it. I could just hear her going, "Typical Engineer." She laughed when I read the same books that she did and she would think they were deep and I would ask why they couldn't have just told you what they meant, why did I have to search for the meaning. In my English Classes that would have gotten me a "F." Of course I took Technical Writing, so you never wanted to imply anything.
I hadn't even realized I turned back around and had been going back up Hill Street. Did you know Hill Street has hills on it? It is actually a harder road to run than it looks. I got back to the main street. The Lady with No Pants who now wears pants saw me. She asked if I lost weight. I waved. I finished up my 6 mile run and came home.
I did some errands around the house and went up to see my brother and my dad. I was really happy to see them. I had been putting it off, because there is always something in life that comes up. I had a very good time hanging with my brother. We cooked potato salad with bacon, chicken with bacon, and chocolate bars with bacon. On Sunday, we had pizza. I could have eaten to the point of getting sick, but I thought about my friend, and the ice cream and the whole "Enjoy life while you can, because you won't always be around." It is an alright saying, but you have to do it with moderation. Should I wait 2 years to get ice cream from the ice cream shop? No. Should I go every day? No. Everything within moderation. I have to learn that.
I think JL would have been happy that I went all deep and grasped that all by myself...being the "Typcial Engineer" and all. She was a good role model to have.