I am a Badger. In 1990, I moved into Sellery Hall at UW Madison armed with hairspray, XXL sweatshirts and lots of leggings. One day, I was giving my tops the “Gap – fold” in the hallway when my neighbor Caroline walks out of her room.
“It’s my birthday.”
“Cool! Happy Birthday. What are you going to do?”
“I have to go to work.”
“That's crap. Where do you work? I’ll get you out of it.”
I ran down to Pop’s Club (aka the Freshman Cafeteria) to find the shift supervisor. I let her know that I had planned a massive surprise party for Caroline tonight and that I really needed her help getting her shift covered. I promised her a bottle of Jägermeister and it worked!
That’s the night Caroline and I became friends. We celebrated her big “1-8” with shots of vodka and chasers of sugar-free Kool Aid. We became housemates for the next 4 years and have been in and out of each others lives ever since.
In the last 25 years we’ve made it through my parents’ deaths, her mother’s cancer. Her wedding, my break-ups. Her daughter’s birth, my career explosion. The Beastie Boys and Depeche Mode.
When I got laid off in 2012, I spent 10-days on her couch in Flagstaff. The week I found out that I was pregnant (and she went on her first post-divorce date), I booked a flight to Wisconsin.
Madison is not an easy place to get to from San Diego. I end up using miles and fly to Milwaukee, the hour drive will remind me what Autumn really looks like.
I land and head east scanning the radio for a good hip-hop station. I pause for a smooth voice with a friendly political reminder from Donald Trump. Here’s the logic:
Damn. I immediately miss Cali and decide to give S a quick call. I haven’t heard from him all week and it rings straight to VM. I let him know that I am in Wisconsin and would love to hear from him.
The weekend is great. It’s 70 and sunny. On Saturday, we go to yoga, the Farmer’s Market, tool around State Street and meet up with an old friend for lunch. We have deep talks about divorce, unplanned pregnancy and kids. We have shallow talks about everything else. We go make-up shopping, watch Napoleon Dynamite and avoid whiskey. I feel safe and relieved to be around close friends.
On Sunday, Caroline is busy so I head downtown for an outdoor yoga class. I am huffing my way up the hill to meet a friend for lunch (NOTE: the whole “shortness of breath” thing is real) and I get a call from S. We have a good chat and decide to meet up next week.
I head back to San Diego early Monday morning feeling refreshed and supported.