When I Need A Pick Me Up, by my friend Ryan King

Thursday, February 12, 2009

"I Love A Nerd!"

(This post was started on Thursday the 12th but completed this Monday morning.)

So when the passengers of the ditched plane in the Hudson woke up that morning, I bet very few of them had an idea that they'd wind up landing on the surface of a river (and our hearts) instead of the airport of their destination.

Everyone who wakes up never knows what the day is going to be like in front of them. Usually we just think that it's going to be another day. Just nothing special. An "everyday."

And then at some point, somewhere in that day, BLAMMO! And minutes later you're just blinking in the aftermath and thinking "What. The hell just happened?"

So that's what my Thursday was. Going about my business, doing what is necessary in my day job. Paperwork and travel and more paperwork. And more travel. So I wind up at a very infrequently visited site because my boss and other specialists in our department are handling it (thank God), but I was on a committee that asked for some specific data from that site, and my boss put me in charge of getting it. Lucky me.

At that site is a co-worker who I've mentioned before. In that mention, I mis-posted. I said she was 6 months hired in November, but she was actually 11 months in at that time. This I learned and a lot more as I visited her site (she had been moved to this one since November).

I discovered that the boyfriend she lived with when she first got hired had died last year in the summer. I had NO idea. So I'm just realizing in that post I left in November, she had already lost her man. But there was nothing about her that portrayed that loss.

Also in re-reading that post, I discover that I called her The Past Girl, and that I declared my un-need for her in my life.

But on Thursday, I learned that her positive personality (recall, she defended me against the Homegirls) was a very real optimism, and something that looks a hell of a lot like strength. She said the boyfriend and she had been best friends for 20 years before they made it a romance and they were due to marry in August. Her defense of me and all the other cheerful, nurturing things she's done and said since then has been a character trait she's managed to hold onto in the wake of a devastating tragedy.

All this I learned on Thursday. She was able to speak about her partner (she called him that) with admiration and respect. With fondness. With strength. She said he was intelligent. She said "I love a nerd."

And then I remembered the experience in November when she defended me. And the 30 years ago when she used to defend me.

And I thought "Oh my God. I could be safe with this woman. I could be myself with this woman."

And just like that, my life changed.

More to come ...

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