Lauri is simply one of the most wonderful and funny women on this planet. Simply put, I adore her. And her husband, Benji, is pretty great too. I keep mentioning her because I really want to spread the Lauri around (as long as I reserve large portions for myself). And I really want her to get a blog so I can link to her and you can go there and see for yourself that I am not crazy. As a secondary measure I am thinking about making a blog for her and posting her emails to me as her entries. That way you would all get to read such gems as this:
"The google word of the day is gastronome, defined as 'a lover of good food and drink.'
"Don't you think that the word is taking something nice and turning it ugly? As in, "Oh look, I love this delicious food and drink!" followed by someone pointing and yelling, 'Gastronome!'"
"This is my 3rd e-mail to you today, but I swear I am not obsessed with you. I only have one shirt with your likeness silk-screened on it. Just ONE. When I wear it, I gently pet your hair."
And my personal favorite:
"Have I told you lately that your daughter is the most beautiful creature alive?"
I first met Lauri when we both started the MFA program at the University of Utah. She was in fiction so I really didn’t have the time of day for her. But I noticed her because she had dry erase markers in her pink purse AND was willing to admit such and lend them to the professor to use on one of the first days of class. I thought that this was a bold move as it could have pigeon-holed her into being “the dry erase marker chick with the pink purse”. But it didn’t. At least every time I referred to her as that people looked at me blankly and then I felt stupid because I didn’t know her name and obviously this program was a “know the right name” kind of place instead of a “make up a cute and obviously appropriate nickname instead of getting to know a person’s real name” kind of place. Anyway, the next time I met her she was sitting behind? next to? in front of? diagonal to? me at the Working Dog (graduate students reading their work in a funky art gallery) reading. All I knew about her (besides the fact that she wrote fiction [said with a curl to the lip] and that she carried dry erase markers in her pink purse) was that she was from out of state. Being the concerned, caring person that I am, I asked her if she missed her family. She replied that she did, and she was sad because she and her husband had just adopted a very large dog and they had no idea what to do with the dog if they tried to fly home for the Christmas holiday. I, being the kind, sympathetic person that I am, offered to dog sit for her (without checking with Kristin first, because, really, who takes a practical stranger up on such an offer? I mean I could have been trolling for dogs to sell to a science lab for all she knew.) That was in, say, October.
The next thing I remember is that she coming up to me in the hall or something (or maybe it was at the next reading, I don't know) and asking me if I had been serious about my offer, and when I was startled into saying yes (because really, I didn’t want to undermine all my work and look like an asshole or something) she looked so happy, I think little tears of joy glimmered in the corners of her eyes. And so we had Annie, the gigantic self-mutilating blond German Shepard, over for Christmas. And thus a life-long friendship was born. One that has been regularly nurtured by her everlasting gratitude for the crumbs of affection and attention I throw her, and her willingness to let me use her employee discount at a Store I Shall Not Name but which has the initials B&N.
Plus, she makes great crocheted blankets. And she’s good to bitch at. And she likes my poetry. And when we get together we talk about important things and nothings often in the same sentence and only the two of us can figure out what we’re saying and we laugh at the clueless observers in our secret secret way and eat frosted circus animals and then laugh until the crumbs spew out of our mouth and then sympathize with each other over the lost trans-fatty goodness of those spewed-out crumbs. And this one time she brought us over Molasses cookies (for no reason) and then admitted that she had made us some cupcakes with strawberry frosting a day earlier and then she and her husband ate them all so that's why we got the cookies instead. I mean really, don't you just immediately love someone who can admit that? We didn't even know she had made strawberry cupcakes, so we never would have missed them. And there she was telling us about them and how oh so very good they WERE and too bad we didn't get any, but here are some crappy cookies instead (just kidding, the cookies were delish!).
Really, this picture she drew from Gruyere Way just sums her up so spectacularly (and it really is an excellent likeness -- she's the one with the ponytail):
But I won't let him step on YOUR house -- digital image by Lauri 12/05
And, as a bonus to this faq post, here is Lauri’s FAQ and my answer.
"How did you hide from your stalker? They can be crafty, and dogged, especially when trying to catch your lovely self." [italics hers, I should point out!]
Well, since most of the time he came for me at my work (a day care center) I had placed an alarm system of other teachers who would screech at me when they saw him approach and I would have enough time to crawl under the large reception desk until he was convinced that I was not there and went away. Sometimes I would duck into the toy room and crawl into a large toy chest. Sometimes I would go into the staff bathroom and lock the door and not come out until someone gave me the all-clear knock. It all depended on where in the center I was when the alarm sounded. But this one time the staff bathroom was occupied and I didn’t have enough time to make it downstairs to the reception desk or the toy room, and he was insistent that they let him talk to me and so I went out the back door into the fenced yard (where there was no place to hide) and climbed on top of the storage shed roof, but felt too exposed there, and so climbed from there onto the roof of the center and peeked over the edge until I saw his car drive away.
He tried to follow me home once, but he was no match for my excellent driving skills and so I managed to ditch him. And he was too stupid to do a public records search for my address. That being said, I probably should have gotten a restraining order, but he was a father of two of the kids at the center (not full custody or anything and most of the time he showed up he wasn’t picking up kids but the staff didn’t want to tell him to leave when he first arrived because he MIGHT have been there to pick up his sons and really they were so bad we just wanted them gone as soon as possible every day) and I didn’t want my boss to know about what had happened, and I didn’t think he’d take my concerns seriously (or at least not seriously enough to help enforce a restraining order), and I was young and stupid and feeling responsible for the whole damn thing anyway. And besides, I didn’t think he’d hurt anyone besides me. (VERY stupid assumption, I know, glad I wasn’t proven wrong).