So today is two important things. The first is Mother’s Day. I’m a bit ambivalent about the Mother’s Day thing. In general, I loathe holidays that are the product of American commercialism and it seems to me that marketers have been especially insidious about making this particular day a guilt-ridden festival of six dollar greeting cards and shitty supermarket bouquets. They don’t do “Mother’s Day” in France, and none of the mothers I’ve met here seem particularly bothered by it.
That said, I have a pretty terrific mother. The best mother, you might say (others have, besides me, that is). I have a mother that other people envy. She’s smart and witty and some of the best company that you’ll ever keep. She gives excellent, seasoned advice without being invasive or judgmental. She’s an incredibly savvy businesswoman who somehow build a successful accounting firm from the ground up while always managing be there when her kid got home from school. She bought me big stacks of books for every holiday and is the reason that I do what I do for a living. She’s a great cook, a better hostess, and always cheats at board games. She’s quick to kick her shoes off if there is sand to be walked in or water to be waded in. She’s the best, really, and I’d be a shuddering pile of mud if it wasn’t for her. So happy mother’s day, Mom. If anybody deserves their own Hallmark holiday, it’s you.
Secondly, it’s my best friend MT’s birthday today. I met her my sophomore year of college when we were randomly assigned to live together after we had both ditched our disastrous freshman year roommates. I didn’t know if we would get along at first – MT is almost inhumanly beautiful and pulled together and I was terribly intimidated by her when I met her. But she proved herself immediately to be as equally smart and funny and silly as she is gorgeous and we’ve been friends ever since.
What kind of friend is she? Well, she’s the first person I want to talk to when something goes wrong or right in my life and I never feel bad about calling her when I’m crying hysterically with snot running down my face. She’s a great listener and while she is able to give well-tempered, level-headed advice, she also knows exactly when I just want somebody to be on my side, no matter how ridiculous my side might be at that particular moment. Last year, I had bizarre experience that consolidated all my love for MT. A woman I barely knew threatened to beat me up out of the blue (there was a guy involved, and a lot of alcohol, surprise, surprise). Chicken-shit dork that I am, I didn’t even know how to handle the situation, except to sputter something like “We’re in a PhD program! I didn’t even think physical fighting was on the table!” as I scampered away in fear. About a week later I was at a party with MT. Another friend came over to talk with us and to let me know that it was possible that the threatening woman might show up later that evening. My other friend asked if it would be a problem if the threatening woman showed up. I started to hem and haw, but MT immediately snapped to attention. “Uh, yes, there’s going to be a BIG fucking problem if she shows up!” MT announced as she put her arm around me protectively. I suddenly realized that MT wouldn’t even hesitate to get in a fight for me, or at least make a lot of noise in that general direction. I tell this story not because I want you thinking that my best friend is anything short of a class act (she isn’t, and she’ll probably hate me for recounting this). I tell you this because I realized that night that she’s got my back in a way that I didn’t even know that my back could be gotten, and every time I think about how protective she was of me I get kind of teary and emotional. It’s nice to have a friend that makes you feel like you always have somebody on your team. It makes you feel like you can take on anything. I’d tell you to go get one of those friends for yourself, but I know firsthand how hard they are to find.
So happy birthday, chickadee. You’re my ever after favorite. While I’m a total wimp when it comes to my own confrontations, I’d totally take out anybody who ever messed with you.
Final news! It appears that despite the suspicions I’ve aired here that I’m a pretty lousy English teacher, the university where I teach in Paris has nevertheless renewed my contract for another year. This means I will be in France through the summer of 2011, and I couldn’t be happier. I can’t believe I have another year to keep badgering you with an inappropriate level of information about my diet! Just think how many anachronistic idioms I’ll be able to teach the youth of France in another two semesters!
Now all you punks that promised that you were coming to visit might actually have time to do so. Just saying.