I just roll through town and my window’s got a view


Driving home, originally uploaded by yaznotjaz.

Generally, I will be the first to admit I’m a horrible friend. I rarely manage to pick up my phone when it’s ringing, and then it takes me a week (or two?) to return calls. I don’t respond to emails in a timely manner. I’m always right, and you’re always wrong. Those are just a few examples.

I think I have a few redeeming qualities, though. First and foremost, I can be counted on to do or say stupid things, so that you remember it – and remind me as well as the rest of the world of it – for years. Like the time I retorted, “I wake up looking cute!” Or the time, during freshman year of college, I loudly (and quite justifiably, I believe) cussed Somayya out in the middle of general chemistry, in a lecture hall filled with hundreds of students. Or the time that – check this, this is a crazy story – driving to school one morning, I stopped for gas halfway, only to realize I had literally no money on me. And neither enough gas to get to school (thirty miles to the east) nor enough to get back home (thirty miles to the west). So, basically, I was stranded. After a few minutes of “Oh, shit!”, I frantically called Somayya to brainstorm what I should so. Thankfully, brainstorming was not required; she drove thirty miles to come rescue my sorry ass, and enough gas was pumped into my car to not only get me to school, but also back home that evening.

Basically, if nothing else, you should keep me around for amusement purposes. I’ll have lots of stupid stories to tell my grandchildren someday.

I got so sidetracked on my stupidity, I almost forgot to mention that my second redeeming quality in terms of friendship is that I will drive to the end of the earth, to have lunch with you. As long as I have gas money, of course. Lunch money, I’m not so concerned about; that part always has a way of working out.

Last Wednesday, I drove sixty miles to have lunch with some friends. Oh, I also had to return books to both the Women’s Resources & Research Center and the University library, but we’ll ignore that part. After all, I’d kept those books seven months past their due date. Returning books is just a convenient excuse to have lunch, as far as I’m concerned.

[For the bookworms amongst you, who are curious about such things, here are the two books I loved enough to have kept more than half a year past their due date, plus the third book that I had simply forgotten was still in my possession:

1 - A Life Removed: Hunting for Refuge in the Modern World (Rose George)
2 - Peace Begins Here: Palestinians & Israelis Listening to Each Other (Thich Nhat Hanh)
3 - Her Mother's Ashes 2: More Stories by South Asian Women in Canada & the United States (edited by Nurjehan Aziz)

You should definitely read the first two.]

When I returned the last book and apologized profusely to B at the WRRC for keeping it so long, she blinked and said, “Don’t tell me you drove all the way up from the Bay Area just to bring this back!”

“Well, kind of,” I grinned.

She looked horrified.

“Don’t worry!” I laughed. “I’m sure I’ll find a few other things to occupy myself with while I’m here!”

And I did, indeed. A few minutes later, I found the Lovely L Lady, and in no time I was lunching it up with L and surprise guests H#2 and Somayya. After that, a free hour, wherein L and I headed over to Borders. You know you’ve got a good friend, when her idea of hanging out includes bookstore trips. While L found a chair, I wandered aimlessly around the store and then settled down on the floor in a pool of sunshine by the front windows, with a copy of East West Woman magazine [Sheetal Sheth's on the cover! And there's an interview with VH1's Aamer Haleem, whom L - who is Sudanese - instantly recognized while this Desi girl didn't] and Who’s Afraid of a Large Black Man? in hand.

Then I was off to Sacramento to stop by and stalk some old co-workers. I managed to find a parking spot on Q St., and had a quick moment of nostalgia for all the times my co-workers and I used to fight over the 2-hour zones along that specific block. The ecstatic greetings I got from everyone were both beautiful and mind-boggling. (They: Where have you BEEN?!, I: They really LIKE me?!). I was there long enough to gush over Z’s stylin’ hair, tease K about how tall he had grown in my absence, make fun of H#3′s hair, laugh at A’s bluntness (“I called you?”), and coordinate future plans to hang out with my girls (first week of March!). Perfect.

Half an hour later, I rushed to meet up with my buddy S at Cosi in downtown Sacramento, its only California location. I nearly walked right by him without recognizing him, because he had just gotten off work and was still dressed in his button-down shirt, dress slacks, and a tie. A TIE! “Lookit you lookin’ all spiffy!” I crowed.

I love hanging out with S, simply because he is, to put it mildly, on crack. Anjum will back me up here. I was supposed to do a second lunch with him, but I wasn’t really hungry by that point, so we stopped by Cosi to get some light food and sit around. I ordered a mint-flavored arctic latte, and then nearly picked a fight with S at the register because he busted out with his card and insisted on paying for both of us. Now, to be honest, I have absolutely no shame about letting friends cover my meals when I’m feeling broke. But when I do have money, I’m highly stubborn about paying my own way.

“Aww, let him pay!” said the girl at the register, who thought he was a sweet kid.

“No!” I said. “Take the damn five dollars, S.”

“Happy Valentine’s Day!” he said to me, handing his credit card to the girl.

I rolled my eyes. “You’re a day late and, also, I don’t care about Valentine’s Day. Here’s your five dollars, buddy.” I practically had to throw the bill at him, and then escaped to the huge red armchairs in the corner.

I tried to convince S to come visit the Bay next week. I even picked a day for him, a day he’s off from work.

“Oh, wait, I can’t come; I have work the next day!” he whined.

“So?”

“So I can’t come to the Bay, then. I’m working the next day.”

“Child, that’s why I’m asking you to come on the day that you’re off from work!”

“But I’m working the next day!”

At this point, I figured out he was just trying to give me a hard time. I felt like throwing something at him, but I pointed out reasonably, “It’s not like you’re going to be doing anything important on your day off, anyway. What’re you gonna do, sit around and watch movies on your laptop?”

“Basically,” he laughed. “I do that at work all the time.”

“What, watch movies on the computer?”

“Yeah.”

“And no one notices?!”

“No, I just minimize the movie screen when someone walks by.”

“Dude, you need to calm down with that, seriously.”

He gave me a scornful look, and uttered the best lines of the entire day: “What are they gonna do? Fire me?! You can’t fire me. I’m Employee of the Month, b*tches!”

I collapsed in laughter. While he continued muttering about his “Employee of the Month, b*tches!” status, I promised I’d photoshop him something about that convincing argument of his. [Check it, here!] I also added, “You’d better calm down, buddy, the month’s almost over.”

“What’re they gonna do? Fire me?”

“Yeah, ’cause you’re Employee of the Month, b*tches!”

Ahhh, it was a good day.

After gathering my laughing self up out of the huge red armchair, I bid goodbye to S and hightailed it back to the Lovely L Lady’s place, where I modeled for and played with her shiny, new digital camera. And, then, time to head home! And, man, you can be sure all those miles (that’s nothing!) were damn well worth it.

So… Anyone wanna do lunch?

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