Day 09 - A picture of the person who has gotten you through the most.
I suppose the intent of this day's entry to is to write some sappy crap about your BFF and how much she helped you get over Tommy, who decided that a cheerleader had a better chance of putting out than the weird theater/goth/vampire you've decided to become. And while we'd all love to take a few minutes out of our day and read THAT, you'll forgive me if I choose to be a bit more…irreverent for this post.
Yes, I could write about the travails of my single mother working two jobs to make sure I was fed, clothed and not tempted by the stripper pole--but I already posted about her. Or I could write about my own BFF who I've known since 9th grade--bad glasses and all--but that post is coming later. Same for the post about my old man. I have yet to find a possible post about the dog, but I'm not sure he's in the top list here. So instead of some sort of Walton sentimentality about how wonderful these people are in my life and how I'd be lost without their love and support, I thought I'd honor the one man who has really supported me all these years, without question or fail, through all of the changes I've demanded in our relationship, including the times I've turned away from him. He's there every day, quiet and strong--like a sentinel for my own sanity.
I am speaking of course about Juan Valdez.
I was introduced to Juan and his delicious elixir in high school--as many of us are. But frankly I was unimpressed with his boldness, and the fact that EVERYONE was into him at the time. Ever the one to buck current fads, I ignored him through high school. But he knew I was there. He was watching.
Then, in my jr. college, heavy binge drinking, christ I have to get up and go to work at 7-11 days, he and I became very good friends. It was lucky for me that I was working in a place where I not only had to bring Juan to the masses, but I was allowed to drink his magical elixir FOR FREE. With all the frou-frou creamers one might imagine. (although even then, I must say it wasn't my bag--then and now I drink it straight with a little cream, no sugar, no crap. And forget that flavored stuff--UGH) Indeed, this relationship was promoted most vehemently by my employers--that I might maintain my own sparkling 7-11 cashier personality--but also the ensure that the coffee was fresh (if we were drinkin' it, we would know, eh?) I was Juan's embassador to cops, contractors, hungover folk and people just lookin' for a moment to catch their breath and enjoy the neon splendor that is 7-11.
Then it was off to real college in Humboldt county. You might read that and think--ah hah! you turned from him then, to make friends with Mary Jane. But you would be wrong. Oh, I knew her, and partied with her from time to time, but she was not the constant companion that Juan turned out to be. Not only drinking his concoction before, during and after class, but I was again blessed with a job that served and promoted this magical brew. Not a barista (THANK GOD)--no, I worked in a local art-house theater where I was responsible for the movie-time weekly recordings, the sweeping of dropped popcorn and the enchanting shelf display of Jujubes. Working late into the evening, only to get up again for The Religions of China (a fave) or Forestry 101--(thank GOD for the splendor of general ed requirements) Juan was a solid friend to helped me to achieve my dream of having not one, but two bachelor degrees and a teaching credential that I am obviously using to my full advantage as a SAHM during what is now 12.4% unemployment in CA. Seriously, is ANYONE hiring?
The next stage of my life: Teaching. South Los Angeles. Long Commute. Stress. Continued Barfly activities. Enough said.
And now, teaching career aside, child born and growing, Autism dx established and accepted, Juan still sits at my right hand, ready to steady me as I read through miles of paperwork, fold gallons of laundry, blow countless bubbles and greet this early bird child each morning @6am. Oh, my doctor warned me--I need to send Juan packing if I would like to feel less anxious and more "normal", and lord knows I have weakened him considerably. I even gave him up for a time, until I decided my doctor was a quack, and that I needed some form of stimulant in the morning, or someone was going to get shot--and my doctor was first on my list. Ok, second, but still.
So, thank you Juan. Not only did you almost single handedly get me through college, but you've assisted in enlivening mind-numbing IEPs, early morning (and I mean EARLY) episodes of Barney and that paste-eater Caillou, and you've allowed me to at least stay up late enough to have an adult conversation with my husband that did not involve the words "potty" or "snacky-snack." You've been the backbone to my snarkiness all these years, and I am grateful to your calm voice when it comes to the thoughts of homicide I have for others. Thank you, my friend. Without you, I might be doing 20 to life. Or at least still working at that damned 7-11.