J is lovely. Let’s discuss.
Once upon a time, I read an article that tried to place a monetary value on friendship. I don’t recall the exact figure, but I believe the language was something like “having an awesome friend equates to $70,000 per year.” My response to this was twofold:
1. Cool, economics. What a fun thing to calculate.
2. This figure is too low.
In a time where ones urban family (#Phoebe #Chandler #Monica #Rachel’shair) often functions in place of the husband/wife/child nuclear structure, friends are way valuable, and I think $70,000 is a paltry estimate of the annual value of a true life companion. I could list a number of more nuanced and legitimate reasons as to why $70k is inadequate but frankly am not in the mood; the main point of this introduction is to set myself up for a list of five wonderful things that have happened as a result of my friendship with J. I’m not going to say these are the five best things, because IRL there are a million best things and identifying just five would be too difficult. Also, I’m really only writing this because I don’t thank her enough for being wonderful, and I’m frustrated that we’re geographically separated at this time.**
To the point:
- Better Music: Before I met J, my musical taste was like Taylor Swift albums 1, 2, and 3. My musical taste is still like that (which is to say it is awesome), but now also includes such radical souls as Riley Keough, Father John Misty, and lots of cool British people like Patrick Wolf and Johnny Flynn.***
- Positive Affirmations of Selfhood: J continually affirms so many aspects of my life and in so doing encourages me to be the best version of myself. This is a tacky romantic platitude because it is true. Examples include my decisions to dye my hair red, drink exclusively black coffee, pursue a graduate education, begin/continue/finish a number of writing projects, teach in Malaysia, and watch great films like Father of the Bride (I and II, duh) on weeknights without judgment.
- Presents: This is shallow but whatever. If you are friends with J you will receive the best shit on this planet in the mail. Things she has mailed me include a Virginia Woolf t-shirt, numerous varieties of peanut butter, crystals, goddess tarot cards, beacon’s closet ephemera, and so much more. Metaphorically speaking she has mailed me a rainbow.
- Access to Genius Literature: J is the reason I started reading Jonathan Safran Foer, who is now one of my favorite authors ever. She also introduced me to A Confederacy of Dunces, Daughter of the Forest, and so many other gems in our time. Also, she has more books than anyone, so when I lived with her I would just casually borrow whatever from our living room. This is how I discovered clever geniuses like Alice McDermott and Pablo Neruda.
- Smart Enabling: Anyone who knows her knows J is the best type of enabler, which is to say she encourages you to make smart, chic life decisions and casually steers you away from stupid ones without seeming didactic (note that this is subtly different from #2 [affirmations] above). Great choices she has enabled me to make include a fabulous shearling coat, lots of shoes, concert tickets, Nando’s, white wine, a velvet armchair (among other furniture), and lots of late night Gilmore Girls reruns. There are so many more. She knows what they all are.
This list was so fun that maybe I will continue more later. But done for now. Hope everyone is having a wonderful week. J, I miss you.
**but not in a way that makes me doubt our relationship. This is an important point. J and I are proof that if your relationship is a legit one, it will survive distance. I am confident that if J decided to become an astronaut and we were as far from one another as is scientifically possible at this time, it would be fine. She would return and our relationship would continue much as Jodie Foster and Matthew McConaughey’s does in Contact, but with more physical chemistry and less naive speculation on human nature.
***I have other friends that also deserve credit for my improvement in musical taste, namely Vivienne and Julia. Maybe I will write a separate article about this.