10 things I love about Boston
By Robin Abrahams
10. My friend Verena*
You know how in movies, the heroine often has a Wacky Friend? The one who's just more "out there," who transforms herself radically from scene to scene while our heroine plods along, taking her life changes slowly and carefully?
Well, in the movie of my life (in which I am played by Rachel Griffith), Verena (played by Claire Danes) would by the Wacky Friend. Which is really saying something, because for all my other friends, I'm the Wacky Friend.
Verena spent a month on an ashram. She quit her job as a bookstore clerk, and became a software engineer, and then bummed around India for a while, and now she is a farmer. She does T'ai Chi. She owns a loom and knows how to use it. She went to culinary school. She can build a house out of mud. She spent one winter volunteering at a wolf sanctuary. She's done nothing but meditate for 10 days straight. For several years she was technically homeless, swinging from housesitting gig to housesitting gig like Tarzan from a vine. You know how, when women break up with their boyfriends, they cut their hair short? Verena shaved her entire head.
And yet she is one of the least wacky people I know. The movie version of the Wacky Friend is usually a de-centered, narcissistic bag of unresolved issues. Verena's not--she's calm and happy, and if you want to hear all about India or wolves or what aspects of GM crops are good and which are scary, she'll tell you, but if you just want to watch a movie or talk about your own, invariably more pedestrian life, she'll do that too.
We met back in those early days in Boston. I was a grad student when she was a bookstore clerk, and she's one of my oldest friends in this city. We've both been through a lot of changes, and so has our friendship, which has been at times a rocky one. We've both been the bad version of the Wacky Friend at times.
We've grown up a lot in the past 12 years. We've figured out a lot about what we want from work and love. We've got a lot of figuring left to do, life being what it is. And I know, for me at least, that figuring will go a lot better if I can continue to laugh, and share, and argue, and play, with Verena, my oh-so-non-wacky Wacky Friend.
*Verena is not last on the list because she ranks below a salad. She's 10th because she knew I was writing this, and is currently trying to wean herself off the internet, and this was my sneaky way of making sure she kept reading my blog for as long as possible.