Lately I've spent some time thinking about my best friend. This isn't all that unusual since we speak several times a week, but it's been a long time since I've thought about why we are friends. I live in Idaho. I was born in Idaho. I attended Idaho schools. I like Idaho. Unlike a lot of Idahoans I did live in New Mexico and Washington for years at a time. I liked the other states too.
Amy lives in Nevada. She was born in Minnesota. She spent years living in Virginia and Idaho. She liked Virginia. I'm not sure she liked Idaho, but she did attend high school and college in Idaho schools.
We met in 9th grade reading (actually we met briefly in 8th grade when I hit her in the head with my locker door). It turns out we both like to read trashy romance novels (I mean we read nothing of value most of the time). Neither of us had spent our entire lives in the town of Nampa... so we weren't welcomed with open arms by the community of Nampa. We also were not Mormon or Nazarene. For a long time the interests we shared were more about the things that made us different from our classmates than the similarities we shared in other areas.
I have to laugh when I think back to what we were like when we first met. Amy never wore jeans. I think she owned one pair, but I never did see her wear them. She was always dressed in skirts or slacks and a few people thought maybe she went to private school because she was always so well dressed. She is also what you could call diminutive in stature (a few of us would say short). The other day she reminded me that she still doesn't reach the 5' mark. Quiet, Amy is quiet. She is so quiet and well behaved that many people think she may be kind of dull, passive, or slow... she is none of those things. It's easy to underestimate her because she looks so innocent; those of us who know her realize she is a person to beware of if you are on opposite sides of the fence.
While I tend to be outspoken and have a lamentable lack of tact, Amy is reserved and always seems to consider what she's saying before voicing an opinion. When she does voice her opinion it's always well considered and she can annhialate an opponent in just a few sentences. In college she got her ethics professor fired. They didn't see quite eye to eye when it came to interpreting philosophy. Well... he wasn't very bright, she got tired of being marked down on tests when her answers were just as correct as his answers. Here's a hint for any professors who may read this: When a student protests a test score and brings assigned literature for the course to prove her answers- you should double check your scoring and answer key.
Amy is a liberal (yes, probably even a bleeding heart liberal). I like her anyway. We probably wouldn't enjoy each other as much if we saw eye to eye on everything. It's no fun debating with someone who shares your viewpoint. The thrill is in debating with someone who makes you stretch and learn. It's also no fun debating with someone who takes it personally if you have a different viewpoint. I'm sure we both laugh about the other person's politics but we do it to each other's faces. Once in a while the opposing side does say something that's worth thinking over. If you only ever debate politics with like minded people you won't learn nearly as much.
When we were in high school I used to drive Amy home after school. A little more than 15 years later it still makes me smile to remember making her ride in my old blue 3/4 ton Ford pickup. It was always full of bits of hay and smelled faintly of sheep and horses. There frequently were remnants of manure on the floor. That old truck had an 8-track tape player. I had a whole box of old Chris LeDoux 8-tracks. I'd play them loud just for Amy to enjoy (of course she was more into George Winston's piano solos, or Barbara Striesand, or Manheim Steamroller). It was so much fun teasing her.
I never did reach one of my goals. Amy was so prim and proper, I always wanted to get a picture of her wearing irrigation boots. She was good though and always managed to kick them off before I could get the camera ready. There is no evidence to show our children that she ever did wear those boots. But I know she did. We definately were very different from each other 15 years ago.
Now we are 33 years old (Amy's almost 34!!!). Our interests are much more similiar now than they were back when we first became friends. Today we both cook and craft. We have children around the same age. Amy sometimes wears jeans, I sometimes wear skirts, and both of us shop at Land's End.
Some things are still the same. She's still a liberal. I am perhaps even more conservative now than I was then. Our families still make us laugh (or cry). And we still read nothing with intellectual merit.