Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea. —Henry Fielding

25 August 2011

Thanksgiving in August: Julie

I met Julie in 2006 over the phone. We contacted one another because she needed a place to live and I was looking for a roommate. I'm not sure who put us in touch with one another, but it was a fated meeting. I had a vibe about Julie instantly. At the time, I was getting information from someone else in Tallahassee about the school, as well, and I recognized that other person's energy as negative, immediately knowing that it was something from which I needed to steer clear. But with Julie it was different. We immediately started talking about movies (M. Night Shyamalan, of all people) and how much we disliked Jane Austen, and even more importantly, we started pouring tea about who else was going to be at school with us.

We spoke on the phone so much back then, that by the time we actually met, we were already on hugging basis. Julie was the best grad-school sidekick. We proofed all of each others' writing – she was always better at this than I – we goaded each other into going out to parties even though we needed to work; we complained about some of our teachers; we gossiped about our cohort; we decompressed the days together. It was great. Julie also used to trick me into seeing scary movies: for a while there we were both a little obsessed with Snakes on a Plane – Julie probably still is.

I want to say that I think the best part of all of this was the socialization. I consider myself somewhat of a loner, but Julie is not about that, and she was always interested in us spending time with other people out together. When Julie and I got there the other grad students in the School couldn't believe that people in our Theatre Studies area were out drinking with them. Julie and I attended almost everything. Grad students were throwing parties: we were there. Theatre Studies people are back to hanging out by themselves now – much less socialization goes on within the department. And if Julie were still here, I know that wouldn't be happening.

Julie moved off to New York in the summer between our first and second years and then moved back when we finished. I always get a chance to see her when I am in the City, and we always have the most hilarious times. There is a sense, of course, of being left behind that I always feel as people leave Tallahassee and move up to the City without me. It's difficult having to stay here and let everyone go on ahead, knowing I'll get there eventually but needing to spend the time to get the work done. Still, it is great to have her up in New York, and I love hearing her stories and reading all of her reviews.

Julie and I are also crazy Oscar buddies. This is probably our favorite thing right now. The last two years together we have watched the Oscar nominees (Julie watches more than me) and blogged about it and chatted about it over the phone and shared ways of watching online for free. It is always a delightful time and we love teasing each other about what movies are good (our tastes have always differed) and what movies are terrible. This is honestly one of the great highlights of my year.

My favorite thing about Julie has always been the gossip, though. And I don't mean this in an evil or snarky way – I don't think of gossip like that, really. Gossip isn't about speaking of others negatively, for me (not sure if Julie will agree with me on this theory) gossip is about making one's own life a little more dramatic in the retelling of the story. As we gossip the stakes get higher, the betrayals get deeper, the wit gets snappier, the drama goes up. Julie and I have always done this. It's a practice of  making the world more theatrical, and I think, in a way, it's probably about coping with some of life's banality. In any case, Julie and I have had more fun trading stories and reading other people than I can begin to recount. She is a dear, dear friend, and I am so grateful that I have her in my life.