January's theme:"So take a deep breath and count back from ten/And maybe you'll be alright" A Separate Lid Behind Closed Eyes

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Jason recommends the album, Girly-sound Tapes by Liz Phair

A Change Will Do You Good - January 11, 2022
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Recapping a friendship #3 - December 30, 2021
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Recapping a friendship #2 - December 22, 2021

December 30, 2021 // 11:39 a.m. // Recapping a friendship #3

In May 2012, I found myself incredibly excited at having another chance to see Rosie Thomas perform. She has one of my favorite voices in music, and it had been nine years since I had last seen her play live. On that night, she had a cold and had cut her set short by a few songs.

I arrived early enough to the general admission venue, early enough that I sat on the furthest right edge of the first row bench rather than stand up front. Others had already ordered drinks at the handful of tables just to the sides of the stage, and being alone and not drinking, I felt too self-conscious to stand in front of the stage for nearly an hour before the show began.

After some time, a woman sat down on the same bench, only the furthest right seat. I briefly caught a glance at her and noticed the print on the dress. As the opener took the stage (Rosie performing comedy as a different character) she made her way to the front of the stage. Feeling more comfortable with more people up front (and there weren’t many for her) I stood up and joined her. Throughout the course of the show, we found ourselves dancing (maybe swaying is better) and bumping into each other. We made eye contact when this happened. When the show ended, we exited the venue at the same time through the same tunnel, the only public exit. I never do this, and I don’t know what sparked it this time, but I asked her if she enjoyed the show. She said she did, and we made a bit of small talk in the lobby. I learned that her name was Victoria. I believe she was there with friends. She was talking with some people whom she either knew or just met. Either way, these acquaintances went out for cigarettes (kind of ignoring her while around her) and ended up leaving.

Rosie eventually came out. I took a photo of Victoria with her, and she then in turn did the same for me. At this point we said our goodbyes, but both finding ourselves driving in the same direction, I got her email address to send her the photo I’d taken. She replied that if I wanted to hang out sometime, to send her a message. I replied that I would. A few weeks passed with no reply from her, so I sent another message, and she mentioned going up to a hot springs a few cities away. I was busy attending a friend of mine’s birthday party in the afternoon, but I was free that evening/night. Knowing I wouldn’t be around a computer that afternoon, I gave her my number.

The hot springs didn’t work out, so instead we spent the late afternoon walking around the park, which may have been the trip she brought her dog. While there, an impromptu performance of Shakespeare occurred, we spent time talking and made plans to get together the next day for Pride. I learned she had spent a lot of time in the same city as my ex and was from a neighboring state.

I really feel like we hit it off on this day. We spent several hours talking, I took a lot of photos and we each made a lot of intellectual references. There was a guy there with her that occasionally felt like a third wheel and occasionally made me feel like the third wheel. Still, Victoria and I were clicking despite this being just the second time we’d actually hung out and only the third time we’d talked.

Our hangouts were distantly spaced, but manically crammed together when they happened. This was in part due to how simply busy she was. In addition to having a full time job, she was also a full time student, a photographer who traveled for events and if that wasn’t enough, she also played violin for various artists around town. I didn’t even know how she had time to do things. As it is, she invited me to see Wilco later that month, which I declined due both to not being a huge fan, the venue and not sure if I had to pay or not, because she made it sound like someone was getting us in. The next time I remember us doing something was a hike near the venue fo that concert two months later.. It was quite spur of the moment (“I’m going on a quick hike after work. Let me know if you want to come along.”) It was steep, I was out of shape, had no water and had to call an end to it a little earlier than planned. Still, it was less than an hour hanging out, and she asked if I wanted to drive out to the west desert to catch the Perseid meteor shower in a few days with her and some friends. I agreed, and before I knew it, my unprepared self was meeting at her house without so much as a sleeping bag, which she seemed shocked by. After getting some snacks at the grocery store, we drove over to the friends who were camping with us before setting out west.

She owned the same model of car that I had wanted seven years earlier. I felt it was a good test as to whether or not I should still buy one. Once out there, I found myself a bit bored. The only person I knew was the person whom I had traveled out with. A few people spent time pitching tents and throwing a Frisbee. The night of the shower, I found a spot to the left of Victoria and cast my eyes to the sky. Awkwardly, I put my right arm under her head when she adjusted, and spent the rest of the night that way. At some point, the people decided to turn in, and without a tent or a sleeping bag, I was offered a chance to sleep in a car for warmth. I had been surprised at just how cold the August desert could be at night. I was offered a place to sleep inside of a vehicle (I don’t think it was hers) and woke up early the next morning. I was amazed by how easy it was to hear people at a great distance out there. Victoria was talking with a friend high above a tall structure that was equivalent of a block away or more from me, but I could hear every word they said in the silence of the desert. We came back into the city for lunch at a Pho restaurant. We made it back to her place, and I spent a few minutes with her dog and bird.

Our next hangout was to see the musical In The Heights at the theater where she used to work. This was long before I’d ever heard of Lin-Manuel Miranda and walked in knowing nothing of the play. While driving up there, she told me she’d met a guy at the concert I was supposed to attend with her. I think we did something else that weekend (I don’t recall what) but she texted me about coming over on Canadian Thanksgiving in October. She, myself and a friend or two hung out at her place for the evening, before being invited to another party. The last actual gathering that I can remember was meeting her and her friends on campus for another play, which was sold out, so I left.

We exchanged a few emails that winter. She had been looking to volunteer at a place similar to where I worked. That spring, she announced her plans to marry the guy she met at the concert a little under a year ago, and they had their marriage up in the canyon in August. I’d spent that morning hiking with some of my coworkers, rushing down to take my mom grocery shopping and then eventually to the ceremony, where moments before I arrived, I stepped in a puddle of mud that splashed onto my shirt and went up past my knee. At this event, I spoke quite a bit to a friend of hers who looked an awful lot like a mix between two of my coworkers (which weirded me out) and off the top of my head, she was the last blonde that I’ve had a crush on. She left the campsite early (later stating she wanted to stay and talk) but her ride opted to leave that night. Victoria tried to get something going between us, but the woman who I’ve spaced on the name of was frequently busy with school, and eventually I gave up.

The last time I ran into her was at a grocery store near work 5 ½ years ago. We made plans to get together at a party, but it fell through. Not long after, she messaged me about going to Hamilton (she had the chance to buy a number of tickets) but I feel it was a group text and not necessarily geared toward me specifically. Occasionally I think about messaging her and seeing how she’s doing, but her likely being super busy, being married and maybe even having kids prevents me from reaching out. On top of that, I’ve lost her phone number due to a phone swap, but do have that email that she shared with me on that night more than nine years ago.

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