Friday, May 18, 2007

Happy Birthday, Roomie!

Tomorrow, May 19, 2007 is my roommate's birthday.

I would like to take this opportunity to extol the virtues of being friends with her, and tell some classic stories.

We met the very first day of our freshman year in college, although we were mostly only acquaintances for the first couple years of school. She was sitting on the wall of an area called "The Beach" wearing a Nordstrom t-shirt. I had just spent the summer working at Nordstrom and was still victim to the strong branding (read: mind washing), so I went up to her to ask about her t-shirt. I'm very glad that I was so bold.

We started getting to be closer friends in our Junior year when we started to ride the shuttle together. She would be coming home from her fluting activities and I would be coming home from my life at the Walter's Art Gallery. One day in particular, for no apparent reason, we started talking about stories that make the hair on the back of your neck stand up. Not horror ghost stories, but supernatural, paranormal type ghost stories.

I guess I shouldn't share her story, since it might be too personal for public view... or at least I'll ask her and get back to you. But the story that I told her was about summer camp.

My sister and I were sent to camp in the summer of 1980. I was really far too young for sleep-way camp, but my father was seriously ill and my mother needed to turn her attention to him. I spent most of my time in the nurse's office because nearly every activity at the camp was terrifying to me.

My sister was 3 years older, so I think she mostly had a good time, except for one very odd, very scary experience. We talked about this night many years later when we were both in high school. At the time, my sister said this night was her proof that there is a God.

She and her cabin went out for a walk in the back portion of the camp. There were over 100 acres that had been allowed to go wild on the far side of the lake, and they were used for hiking, wilderness training, and special activities. There were only a few footpaths into the woods.

Just a few minutes into the hike my sister saw a snake. She was so scared by it that one of the counselors, no doubt aware of our familial situation and my ongoing traumatized nature, agreed to walk her back to the cabin.

A short time later the rest of the group on the hike were confronted by a man, covered in blood, who chased the group of girls all the way back to the main portion of the camp. The police came, some girls went home, and no one ever figured out who the man was, why he was covered in blood, and what possessed him to chase all those young girls back to the camp.

My sister believes, or at least believed in high school, that the snake was there specifically to save her from the trauma of the man in the woods. God sent the snake to protect her from what she could not handle.

Well since that initial exchange of stories, my dear roommate and I have collected many more. I know there are serious skeptics out there reading this that will not, under any circumstances, allow themselves to believe I once lived in a haunted apartment, or that I believe my grandmother visited me at a TGI Fridays in suburban Maryland via a receipt, but I am awfully thankful that I have at least one person in my life that encourages me to believe.

Oh, and then there's the little fact that she has saved my tail from fates unknown, supported me in times of great need, and always been willing to lend a kind, protective ear. Happy Birthday to you and thank you for everything!

And I encourage you all to write me with your stories. My favorite humorist told one of his this past week, read it here:

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