Saturday, January 07, 2006

She'd Say I'm Still Outstanding

In college, my roommate and I would sit by candlelight at night and come up with analogies for life or metaphors to describe ourselves or each other. Throughout the day we left each other notes from and about famous people. Messages that would say the pope had called were popular.

“I hope you said I'm not talking to him until he changes his stance on birth control.”

So were calls from Robert Redford.

“He said to wear the black tonight.”

Leaving notes for the gremlins to clean the apartment while we were gone was another thing that we did.

“Dear Gremlins, We've gone to college. Please straighten up for our return.” The gremlins never cooperated with us. We decided that they couldn't read our writing.

During class we would write letters to each other as if it were 20 years in the future. Some people talked about movies. We would do stuff like that instead. It was all entertainment.

I guess in five years of living together, some of our traits had crossed, possibly a couple of times. Our handwriting was so similar, we actually had to read what was written to know to whom a piece of paper belonged.

Since we were in the same education program, we took classes together. Handwriting and class schedules, however, were where the similarities stopped.

We were nothing like twins. She was normal. She even had a normal name. Susie Brown. You can't get much more normal than that, unless it’s something like Ann Smith, and in degrees of normalcy that would be just a rounding error.

Susie could fit in just everywhere. She knew just what to say and what to wear. People understood her when she talked. Regular people loved her. Smart people wanted to be like her. Even sorority girls thought that she was something special. How she could be so special and so normal was a neat trick in itself. I think it was her natural sense of humor and how beautiful she was from the inside out. When I met her, I thought she was a model. I really did.

I liked her more than anyone did. Maybe because she liked me, but I think it was because she liked to play as much as I do.

Some days we would decide to hold class in our apartment, and then act surprised when no one else showed up. We would mark everyone absent. We’d literally write down all of their names in a list, including the name of the professor. We'd actually talk about the class content in our pajamas. Later that day we would walk over to the professor's office to deliver the list, shaking our heads with disapproval. God forbid, if the professor happened to be out when we stopped by. Then we would leave a note saying that the professor should start showing up for work, or we would have to quit signing his or her paychecks. We’d autograph the note and leave a big smiley face next to our names.

It became a sort of legend that you hadn’t really made it as a professor if you hadn’t had the two of us in a class together yet.

I guess the new professor would find out at the first of class when the syllabus went round and one of us would say, “Oh wow, look a Syllabus! How beautiful. I just love a new Syllabus! Don't you? And the other would answer. “You too? I keep it close me to always. Sometimes I ask the professor to autograph it at the end of the semester.”

Once when we were asked to present lessons for kindergarten, the student teaching a lesson stopped and looked at us glaring. She said firmly, "Five-year olds would never act like that!" The professor intervened shaking her head, and quietly corrected the misconception, "Actually, five-year-olds would act exactly in that manner. Do go on."

Looking back, I don't know why, beyond our playfulness, professors put up with us. Maybe they thought first grade teachers should remember what it's like to be six-years-old. Or maybe they just found the other education students so stiff and boring. I know that we sure did.

Ah, Susie Brown, if I saw you now.

I would say, “I've got 12 messages for you--one from the pope, two from the UN, nine from movie stars who need your advice about their turbulent love lives. Then I'd light a candle and say " Life is a flower, an ocean, an onion, a sunrise, a pomegranate, an airplane ride, a trip to the moon and back, a circle, a song, a manuscript, everything and nothing that you expect it to be. a hot air balloon, a rollercoaster, a video game, CandyLand acrossed with Chutes and Ladders.”

She'd say I'm still outstanding—out standing in the rain, that is. Then she'd look up in the air and point to the floor and say to me "C'mon down my friend. C'mon down and join the rest of us."

—me strauss Letting me be


Orikinla Osinachi. said...

I wanted you to go on reminiscing about your old girl.

You were both classic.

Please, can you write a script on all the details of your humorous idiosyncrasies and the occasions?
This could be a short comedy.

mergrl said...

What a wonderful post, I just love when you take us with you on your memories :0)

just wonderful my friend (hugs)

Diana Crabtree said...

Great Post :) I especially love the "5 year old" exchange

Reminds me of my freshman year :)

Cheryl said...

Love the last line - she looked up to you as much as you marvelled at her.

Jealous of the fun you had!

Wonderful post.

P.S. Nominated you in the writing category for the bloggies.

Lisa said...

I enjoyed that. It made me think of all the good times that I had with my best friend.

Rain said...

oh what fun! I had a friend like that too. Not exactly but your story helps me to remember my memories. Thanks for that. I wrote a little post about your site and that I need get a cup of tea to read here, because it is so enjoyable to visit.

ME Strauss said...

Thank orikinia,
I'm not sure why these comments didn't get to me today. I'll write more about her for sure.

ME Strauss said...

Hi mergyl.
I'm delighted you enjoyed hearing about it.

ME Strauss said...

Hi Diana,
I just wasn't getting my comments today I guess. That was a most fun day in class you're right.

ME Strauss said...

Thank you,
She used to tell me I was Outstanding . . . in a field on a regular basis.

Thank you for the nomination. I don't think I've ever been nominated for anything. Gosh.
Thank you.

ME Strauss said...

Hi Lisa,
I'm sorry I didn't respond sooner.
Friends are really the best part of life aren't they. Hang around here and you'll find quite a few of them. :)

ME Strauss said...

Oh Rain,
What a lovely compliment that you bring your tea to come to visit here. You've made my day and my night. My heart is smiling.