Here’s me and my friend Bot. She is currently my next door neighbor.
She’s not trying to poke my eye out, she’s throwing a GANG SIGN.
This is the first thing I ever noticed about Bot (long ago when we lived in the same complex but NOT next door to each other)…
…which scared the crap out of me.
She has several other tattoos, on her chest, which were also at least partially visible at the time. Her hair was up in some bouffant fabulousness. I’m pretty sure she had a belt studded with the letters “OG.” In other words: she looked too hardcore for me to even risk nodding hello, never mind talking to her.
Unfortunately, this chola would not leave me alone. We were at the laundromat, and I was minding my own business, trying not to make eye contact. But she was all aggressive. After waiting ZERO seconds, she walked over to me and introduced herself and shook my hand and started asking me all kinds of questions and trying to conversate.
Here are the thoughts that ran through my head, in chronological order:
- SHE’S COMING OVER HERE! STRANGER DANGER!
- She speaks English! Sweet!
- Please do not shank me.
- Her name does not sound very Latina, either. It sounds like one of my aunt’s names.
- OMG she’s still talking to me. I better nod or something. I don’t want to get cut.
- I wish I had earrings like that.
- She’s leaving! Retain some information!
- Oh, she actually does live here… note to self: go home the back way
I distinctly remember her saying, “we should hang out sometime.” I never actually told her my name, and we never exchanged phone numbers. (Because of number 4, I thought her name was some variation of Janet or Jennifer for months.) And neither of us divulged where we lived. So we parted ways with her insisting that we hang out but with no actual information changing hands.
Yes, I know. We are amazing.
Months later, we find out our significant others are acquaintances, without our knowledge or approval. Further, the boys decide to force me and Janet/Jenny/Julia into friendship so we can all go on a double date.
And GUESS WHAT?!
Bot (I know. Not even remotely close to those “J” names. I was scared at the time so I forgave myself the terrible lapse in attention/memory.) is awesome. She’s not insanely frightening at all. She’s actually really creative and sews and does crafts and likes babies and feeding stray baby bunnies and baking delicious made-from-scratch meals and frilly aprons and Coldplay and things.
What’s more? She’s hilarious. When we traveled to Sha’s wedding together (from Tejas to Minnesota) I literally laughed non-stop for eight hours.
That was on the way there. On the way back we were very tired and perhaps slightly hungover from partyin’ like it was 1999…
…but we didn’t have to talk because by then we were able to just communicate with grunts or head movements.
Bot came to my race and took pictures (because my father forgot the camera, much to my mother’s dismay). She loaned me her copy of Twilight even though she knew I was just going to make fun of it via RiffTrax. She even led me through the embarrassing task of buying a complete makeup kit for the first time in my life, just a few months ago. She did not laugh or tease or throw her hands up in the air at my complete ignorance of what concealer even does (that’s not a lie… I really asked that question). Just walked me through the cosmetics section, quietly explaining the basics of self-beautification.
I can spend hours trying to list and link all of the events Bot has been involved in. But that would take HOURS. Instead, I will tell you this about her:
My friend Bot is the one who gets in touch every day when she knows I’m going through a rough patch. She’s the one who brings me pieces of the homemade cake she made for her man’s birthday dinner if I am all alone on a Friday night (or immediately drops what she’s doing to go help Sha finish a Wonder Woman logo). She’s the one who will change her work schedule around to meet me for lunch (even if it’s just for regular, non-emergency lunch). She’s got about seven of my plates in her cabinet and I have a whole shelf full of glasses that all belong to her.
Bot’s basic friend-philosophy is “what’s mine is yours.” If I need a cup of sugar, she will have it ready and waiting for me when I walk over, along with two eggs because she already tried that recipe and it always needs a few extra eggs. And then she’ll show me her new craft book. And then she’ll ask me to stay and have a sip, and try the new dancing video game she just bought…
So, thankfully for me, my friend Bot is the opposite of a gang member’s girlfriend. She’s my homeslice, or, “friend who is also like a slice of home.”
Perhaps I will get a huge arm tattoo as well, for the sake of solidarity.