Friday, February 12, 2010

Day 12: Oldest and Dearest Friends

Date: February 12, 2010
Friend: Traci Barker
Activity: Office Visit
Location: Traci's Office
Total $ Spent: $1.07

On my first day of high school, some bazillion years ago, I sat next to a petite, blonde girl in choir. I specifically remember thinking, "I bet we'll be friends." And obviously, I was right. Traci swooped me up and introduced me to her friends and I did the same. Some of her friends greeted me with resistance....I was clearly a threat. See, Traci and I are both originally from other states and moved to Omaha within a couple years of each other. So we had a different kind of bond. We didn't grow up with all these kids who had known each other since first grade - we were just trying to fit in. But before long, we were all passing notes, eating lunch together, and scheduling sleep overs. We even had crushes on the same boys (who always chose Traci and her ice blue eyes over me - wah wah). Our friendship was strengthened by being in musicals, plays, and other activities together. There was a lot of dancing to Madonna, but maybe I'll spare her the embarrassment.

Traci became an honorary member of the Hamilton family early on, but she actually lived with my dad and me on two separate occasions. I'm pretty sure we had to share my twin bed at one point and if we can still be friends after that, then you know we have a high tolerance for each other! We even worked together at TGI Friday's (oy, I can still smell the fajitas). It was during these years that my parents divorced and my big sister moved out on her own. Had it not been for Traci and her nurturing care for me, I would have been severely lacking in female companionship. This is probably an overshare, but Traci taught me how to buy a bra and how to flirt. She and our other girlfriends picked up the pieces of my broken little heart.

Our dollar date was slightly thwarted by my schedule at the Loft. I had to work the closing shift so Traci and I decided I would meet her at work for lunch. Now, it should come as no surprise to anyone that I was running late. Super late. I knew she had to be back to work at noon, but darn it if I didn't fall into that time vortex anyway. One minute, I was totally on time and feeling reliable. The next minute, I'm zooming down the Dodge Expressway, obsessively checking for cops in the rear view mirror. Here's the ironic thing - Traci was ALWAYS the late one when we were in high school. I used to joke that I spent half of my life waiting for my sister and the other half waiting for Traci. The roles have reversed and she's now peculiarly punctual and I'm.......well.....not. But we still had a nice time together, albeit short.

Here's the thing about me and Traci - we can literally go months without contact and yet it feels as if no time has passed. After high school, I remember being terrified that we would grow apart. While there were definite growing pains, there is something so deeply rooted between us that we will always be connected.

We went to the cafeteria in her building, and I ordered some waffle fries. I thought she was going to eat lunch, but it turns out her team was holding a birthday party and had brought in lunch. So, we chit chatted over waffle fries, which only cost $1.

She and I are both doting aunts so we talked a lot about our darling nephews. I gave her the "skinny" on my dad's progress (omg, I really just said that and I really just laughed at myself). And after like a year and a half, I finally returned her Harry Potter box set. It's not that we haven't seen each other during all that time. I just kept forgetting. For a year and a half.

I follwed her up to her office and was tickled to see that many of the doors are still decorated from a few years ago, when this building was dorm rooms for Methodist College students. Then we arrived at her door and I was so proud to see that she has a door plaque! She introduced me to her co-workers and told me a little bit more about her job.

Even though we didn't spend hours upon hours reminiscing, I was still happy to hang out with her. How many other opportunities have I had to grab lunch with one of my oldest and dearest friends? Traci Lynn, I love you truly, madly, deeply!

On deck for day 13: Charlie. I'll be seeing you......

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