Here’s the thing. The first time Leanne saw me (almost 10 years ago) I was wearing overalls. No, this was not 1992. And no, I was not Donna on an early episode of “90210.” We were in Dublin, undergoing a study abroad program and it was our first meet and greet. We were all scoping each other with relentless pessimism. I noticed her. She was the pretty girl in the corner who was standing next to one of the tallest women I had ever seen. (The tall woman turned out to be Dawn – who was also annoyingly beautiful). Leanne and Dawn were scanning the room and I saw both of their eyes land on me and my best friend Katy. Katy and I had decided to attempt this overseas experiment together.
Me: “Who’s that?”
Katy: “The tall one? Oh, that’s Dawn. I know her from the NYU summer program. I don’t know much about her, but I’m pretty sure we’re not gonna like her too much. I don’t know who the other one is.”
Leanne told me much later that her and Dawn were having a similar conversation.
Leanne: “Who’s that?
Dawn: “The red head? Oh, that’s Katy. I know her from the NYU summer program. I’m not that into her.”
Leanne: “No, not her. The ass-hole wearing the overalls. I mean, is she fucking kidding me?”
Needless to say, by the end of our 4 months in Dublin we were inseparable. Actually, by the end of that week we were inseparable. And to this day, the four of us are still…inseparable. (Even when Katy got all married and moved to LA.) We have roped together many bonds over time and the Atlantic. There have been the nonsensical break-ups with boyfriends who obviously didn’t know what they were missing. Bad jobs and then worse jobs. That one guy who one of us dated with the micro-penis. Marriages, apartments, dogs, and the good guys on the backside of the bad guys. Also the many, many, many drunken nights at Radio Bar re-living our first meeting…the one with the overalls. We are very close.
But, I would venture to say Leanne and I are still on opposite ends of the social spectrum. See, Leanne gets bikini waxes and her nails done on a regular basis. I have a bar of Zest in the shower and hope for the best. If you name a fashion designer, she will not only know said fashion designer but will likely own one of their pieces. My last shopping spree was at K-Mart six months ago where I bought a 6-pack of men’s white undershirts. She works in sales at the most posh hotel in New York City. I wipe kid snot onto my jeans on a daily basis. She says things like “Don’t wait in line, just mention my name to the bouncer.” I say things like “Oh Shit. I just spilled Bud Light on my overalls.”
I discovered over the years that Leanne is also a genius. She’s a speed reader. She buys the New Yorker and then reads it…speedily. I still click on people.com when I’m bored and, on average, it takes me 6 weeks to read novels reviewed as “page-turners.” To the outside eye, it would seem that Leanne and I were right in our first assumptions about each other. But, thanks to those fucked up rules of attraction, I make her laugh. And she remains (to add insult to injury) one of the funniest people I have ever met.
Katy is still my heart. Dawn is still the nicest/tallest person I know. And Leanne is still the pretty girl in the corner-with one update. She has warmed to the ass hole in the overalls. Not only that, she has chosen me as one of the people to go through life with. Or maybe Dublin chose us. Or maybe we, in those first skeptical moments, somehow chose each other.
Maybe you don’t choose your friends and maybe your friends don’t choose you. But for the lucky ones…shit happens. For the very, very, very lucky ones…overalls happen. And someone on the other side is ready to overlook your shortcomings. I am happy to say, this is true for both Leanne and I.
Happy 29th Birthday Leanne Kathrine Gallagher….please!