One of the very happy results of getting back in touch with my college friend Amy (see "My Dinner with Amy") is that I've also been back in touch with another member of our happy little band, who blogs under the alias of "Birdfarm."
She's already blogged about me twice and I'm returning the compliment in this tardy fashion because she needs and deserves an entry, but I wanted to do it right.
How to describe Birdfarm?
We had an odd, delectable sort of friendship, which began by accident in our sophomore year when I left a comment on the white board on her door in answer to a query about why cucumbers might be better than men. Considering the way the two of us turned out, the question was almost prophetic.
(N.B. For you young kids, a "white board" was sort of like Yahoo IM, and sort of like text messaging, except not.)
I recall a great deal of affection, mixed with rather a large number of arguments. Not mean, nasty arguments - if she has a nasty bone in her body, I don't know of it. I mean the sort of disagreements that will arise between two people whose high regard for each other often leads them to wish passionately that the other person would change his or her mind about something immediately and completely, for his or her own good.
In fact, if she reads this Birdfarm may well disagree with the above assessment, but this is my blog. So, as Shakespeare wrote in The Merchant of Venice, "Nyah."
I've often thought, since leaving college, about what on earth was happening to me in those four years. I was a mess. Took me ages to figure it out. I touched on it when writing about how I started knitting. Learning to knit was a symptom of my overwhelming desire to cut my ties to a past I hated and become a member of a world I'd spent my life watching through windows from the outside.
And - she may disagree with this again - Birdfarm was to some extent like the other Alice on the other side of the lookingglass, wanting to leave her side and come over to mine.*
Heading in opposed directions like that, we were bound to collide once in a while.
But during the Dark Ages when Mr. Ex was neatly and efficiently cutting off all my friendships at the roots, I didn't think about that much. I just thought about this generous, screamingly witty, dazzlingly intellectual, delightfully unpredictible person who had been part of my life, and then was not. For somebody who spent so much time shaking her head over me, and who so often puzzled me with points of view I couldn't fathom, she nonetheless thoroughly carved out and occupied a place in my affections.
When people ask me if I'm glad I went to Harvard, I say yes. Not so much for the education, which was fine but which I might well have acquired at some other school. More for the chance to meet people like Birdfarm, who frankly are not to be met on every street corner. Not in this neighborhood, certainly.
She blogs, and she blogs very well (even when she's not writing about me), so go read her.
*Although we did have one thing in common - early childhoods spent in Tucson, Arizona. As I recall we were fairly certain our mothers pushed us past each other while shopping at Park Mall, and that we threw cookies at each other.
And another thing we had in common - coming out to our parents at about the same time, and sharing that lovely period of angst about when and how to do it. One day, Birdfarm said she was going to tell her father the news while driving in a speeding car. That way, if he reacted badly, she could immediately steer them off a cliff or into a wall and end it all.
I thought she meant she was going to shout it out as she drove by him.
Which led her to draw a fetching cartoon (a classic in our circle) of our four parents sitting at a table as she and I whizzed past in an open-top roadster screaming "WE'RE GAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYY!"