I was going to post on another topic, but it just didn't feel right to start a blog with what I was going to write about, so I'll save that story for another day. As I was hanging at the pharmacy late at night (I was actually picking something up...I don't just "hang out" at Walgreen's), I realized what the only topic I could write about is: The person that pestered me to start this whole blog thing to begin with. The incomparable Julia.
Ok...there's no getting around this one: Julia is internet famous. Like seriously internet famous. Award-winning, publication-worthy, click-refresh-hoping-for-a-new-post-like-it-will-win-you-a-million-dollars famous. And she's told so many stories about herself, in a way that I can't even begin to compete with. She gets a mass of hits on a daily basis and, folks, they aren't all from me (although I add my fair share). But I didn't meet Julia through her blog, and I couldn't be happier I didn't.
One day Julia was visiting the city I live in, spending time with a number of people I know (yeah, I know, it's vague...sorry folks, it's the best you're going to get for now). I walked by and someone introduced us. The first thing you notice about Julia is that she's totally adorable. Seriously, you just want to pick her up and take her with you wherever you go. She's also a fabulous dresser. Don't believe that "I'm the witty friend" crap. She's the girl that you see walking in D.C. and say to yourself, "Now that chick's got her shit together." But most importantly, when you talk to her for even five minutes, you discover that Julia is also overpoweringly brilliant. And let me tell you, this girl will call you out, so you better be on your toes.
Well, to make a long story short, Julia wasn't doing anything the evening she was in town, so I asked her if she wanted to hit the city with some company. As a testament to her character (or possibly poor vision), she indicated that she would be up for it.
While we were at dinner, we touched on our romantic lives (or lack thereof). As best I can recall (it was a while ago), Julia says:
"I haven't really dated in a while."
"I find that extremely difficult to believe." [As you can see, my vision is just fine]
"No, really, it's been a while."
"What's a while?"
"OK, now you're just a fucking liar."
"No, no...really. I don't know what it is, I just don't meet people."
Then there was this moment of hesitation on Julia's part. I say:
"You were going to say something."
"Well, I was going to tell you a story."
"Yeah, go ahead."
"In order to tell you this story, there's a little preface I have to tell you."
"Here's the thing. I write online. It's this little website I have. I write literary non-fiction. Just, you know, stories about my life."
Anyone who's read Julia's site (and if you're reading this shlop, you probably are a regular there and are just burning time until her next post) knows that this is the world's greatest understatement. But I'll get back to that later.
"Oh, how cool! What's the page?"
*Deep breath* "I'll give it to you later. But let me know what you think. Honestly."
Now, since you don't really know me yet, there's one thing I should let you know I have no problem with: Providing an honest opinion when asked. Usually I try to stay tactful, but sometimes I just can't help myself.
"Um...do you get the sense that I have a problem with that?"
"The exact opposite actually."
"Yeah, that's usually the impression I give. Okay, so cool, you write..."
"There was this one guy who wrote me based on what I wrote and I've been corresponding with him..."
In respect of Jules (and in respect of the guy who screwed up the best thing he'd ever get), I'm going to end this part of the story right there. But you get the gist. Well, after Jules leaves town, I hit the website. Oh, cute graphic. Then I start reading and I'm hooked. I'm reading, and reading, and reading. Here I am, literally spending the entire weekend in front of my computer reading years of this girl's life and feeling like I'm living it with her for the first time. I read about a guy at the office that she just wants to tell so many things from her heart. I read about her mother, about her sister's cancer, about how she was raped. I curse Brian Lamb for being a complete asshole and cheer when she wins best new blog and cry and laugh out loud. But above those things, I catch myself smiling in a way that I would never expect from just reading words on a computer screen. Simply, I'm touched.
But I don't just feel this way because I stumbled on to these words. Nope. I'm constantly thinking, here's this incredible person who has so much to say, but who (at that time) says it without really publicizing her identity and she chose to share it with me. To trust me. To let me know her innermost (yet, strangely, outermost) thoughts and to know that I would never use them in a way she wouldn't want. That was the most touching part of it all.
Well, on Monday I was raving to her. "Julia, it's incredible! I mean, you're incredible! I mean, and I don't say that about everything, you know I don't say that about everything! It's amazing!!!" And then I realized something. It was unfair. Here I was privy to so much about my friend, but she didn't know this kind of stuff about me. She didn't know about my first love or my hardships or my family issues or really anything near what I knew about her. That just wasn't fair. So I told her that. In true Julia fashion she said:
"Don't worry. I told you because I wanted you to know, not because I wanted you to feel obligated to do something similar for me."
"I know, but I want to do something anyway. So, here's what I'm going to do. I'm going to do a 100-thing list, but it's a list just for you. Sorry, I'm not exactly comfortable going public just yet. [Oh, the irony...] And I'm not exactly as 'literary' as you, so don't expect wonders."
"You don't have to be. Just be honest."
Seriously, how do you not love this girl? I made her a list (that will remain just hers) and I think she was really touched. Ever since, our friendship has blossomed. Not only do I check her site daily, but I love to hear Julia's self-censored stories that don't make the page.
But what her site doesn't tell you is that this girl is an incredible giver. Despite the fact that she publishes stories about her life for the world to see, she is more interested in hearing about me than telling me about herself. She is my confidant, my voice of reason, and my reason to plan visits to D.C. The fact is that as amazing as she may appear on her site, it's only the tip of the iceberg. Get as much of a glimpse as you can folks, because there's just not a lot of people like her.
I guess you could say that we started our friendship with a head start. Julia took a small leap of trust in someone that she didn't really know and it led me to let down the walls that I put up for the rest of the world. Usually, it takes years to learn so much about someone, but we did it a week. And since then, I've never looked back.
For that and so many other things, I love you Jules.