At one point BFF Jen left her stupid ex and came to visit. He had always admonished her “You can’t carry off a tattoo.” so, obviously, we headed to a tattoo parlor. Jen, Janice, and I had shopped the day away in Los Angeles and had ended up on Venice Beach, after a run in with a young and extremely demanding Lindsay Lohan we quickly decided what we needed were tattoos. The lot of us.
And so it was that one of my favorite pictures of all times was taken. It was as I was getting the requisite tramp stamp of the 90’s that Janice turned to Jen and with the most gleeful expression to counteract my this-kinda-hurts face the moment was captured. It’s perfect in it’s disposable Kodak blurred edges. That picture is packed somewhere in the garage with all the rest of our worldly goods, but it’s burned in my brain. And so I present my second favorite picture:
Janice and I met first in college, we spoke the shared language of dead fathers and depression- which was excellent for art school. She taught me Marlboro Ultra lights and Pepsi. She taught me how to grocery shop. She took me in and when the time was right she kicked me out, so I could grow the hell up and come back an adult. She’s a bad ass.
Once upon a time I split with my ex and stayed with Janice and her then boyfriend, now husband. During this time the ex and I agreed to clean out the four closets in our home that were filled with his clothes and perhaps clear just one for me and my things. Wouldn’t you know it, he insisted I buy the trash bags. I bought kitchen bags. He wanted heavy duty garden bags. You’d have thought I boiled his bunny. I spent hours on the phone begging his forgiveness as Janice’s eyebrows lifted higher and higher with each apology until they lept off her face and shot into orbit. After I hung up the phone she simply looked at her man and said “Yeah.” He responded to me “I would fear for my life if I said those things to Janice.”
For a long time I joked that I needed a bracelet: WWJD. What Would Janice Do. Number one: Janice didn’t and doesn’t take crap from boys (now men). She taught me how to let the losers go and sometimes let them think it was their idea. Ha! Suckas! She taught me how to have nice things, and keep them nice. She taught me how to stand up for myself…to the extreme and then taught me how to straddle that line nicely.
She taught me it doesn’t matter what they call you, it only matters what you answer too.
I miss her so much…she is in LA and I am here in DC. She once said to me “I just assumed you’d go back to doing commercials and I’d just have Max during the day.” Because she IS that friend. The one who when you throw a party shows up not only with the pasta salad she said she’d bring, but an extra table, some chairs and some flowers. She is the friend who shows up early to help you set up and at the end of the evening as you’re saying goodbye to your guests she’s got the whole place cleaned before you can close the door on the last guest. She’s a machine. She is also the friend who will make you laugh till you snort wine out your nose. Janice can’t tell a story without acting it out, she’s good with a visual.
4 weeks after she met me at 6 am to check in to St. Joseph’s for my c-section surgery to have Max, I met her at 6 am to check into St. Joseph’s for her cancer surgery. She kicked cancer’s ass btw. I am still battling the guilt that we moved away while she was in chemo. Shortly after Huckleberry was born she called me and told me to stop having kids because every time I spit out a boy she gets sick. This time it’s Lupus and RA, but if you think that’s slowing her down you are wrong. I told her I need one more baby, a girl, and that girl will heal her!
Now, I’m not into hero worship…but I’m so damn lucky to have met her and I count that day we sat outside the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf smoking and being thunderstruck at how much we had in common one of the luckiest days of my life. We started out messed up kids and ended up well adjusted (quit laughing), happy adults.
And in between being messed up kids and happy well adjusted adults we were hot…but didn’t know it.
She taught me how to be strong, I like to think I taught her how to forgive… or something. I hope I taught her something.
Happy Birthday Janice!
Do you have a Janice in your life? You should.