8th grade started out as a pretty decent year for me. I wasn’t the new girl, having attended the same school for two years in a row, and I had actual friends, and was sharing a locker with one of them. So, when the newest new girl showed up in my homeroom class after Christmas break, I was glad not to be the one having to find her way around, make new friends, and figure out a locker. Sadly for her, when they tried to put her in my locker, it became apparent that I had gotten my own roommate ahead of time. That was Karen’s first impression of me. No room in the inn.
But soon enough, we bonded over the mutual threat of another girl who was determined to make haystacks of us in P.E. class. Also, Karen introduced me to the Sweet Valley High novels, and I never turn down the chance to make a friend with someone who shares books. In return, I introduced her to Duran Duran. She still hasn’t forgiven me. Discovering we lived near one another, we started walking home together. Fifteen years later, we were sharing an apartment.
I have known Karen for so long, and so well that I’m having a hard time introducing her. It’s like trying to describe my arm. She’s just part of me. But she is the dedicated, disciplined part. She is the part that will practice, and study, and rehearse. She is the part that will do whatever it takes to get the job done, and make it look effortless. She is the part who will have your Mary Kay party even if she is allergic to the stuff. She is the part who will come to the hospital just to hold your hand, when hospitals are horrifying to her. She is the part that takes in stray kittens, even though they make her sneeze. She is the part who will work hard to make sure you have everything you need. She is the only person (other than his grandparents) I have ever asked to pick up Thor. In short, you should know her.
First Name: Karen
Age Range (teens, twenties, thirties, forties, etc.): Thirties
Job Title: Administrative Assistant
Who are you?: At any given point in time, I am a sister, a daughter, a girlfriend, a niece, an aunt, a comedienne, a musician, a confidante, a mentor, a friend… Like most women, I don’t fit into one box. Who I am is defined not only by me, but also the circumstances in which I find myself.
At the office, I am a very efficient professional secretary (an outdated term, but accurate, nonetheless). I work hard to maintain a professional and approachable image. My duties demand discretion and accuracy, but also reach into the realm of mentor and cheerleader (and occasionally “camp counselor”) to the other members of the office team.
Off the clock, I am a musician. Sometimes that requires being a clown. Sometimes that requires a great deal of propriety. A wedding requires a great deal more decorum than a concert designed to entertain grade-school children. All of it requires focus and skill – not only interpreting the music, but also interpreting the audience’s mood and expectations.
I have many friends, but I doubt more than two or three would describe me the same way. Those who have known me the longest would probably have the hardest time, as our roles in each others’ lives have grown and evolved over the years.
Describe Your Family: My family started off traditionally enough. Two parents, two older brothers, four grandparents – lots of cousins, some of whom I still don’t know – the standard childhood menagerie of dogs and cats, even a raccoon at one time. Eventually, my brothers moved out to go to college, and my parents decided to become gypsies – not really, but we did move quite a bit during my teen years. I had to make new friends (frequently), then I had to deal with sisters-in-law and nieces and nephews. It was all very confusing; however, in recent years, I have come to discover that my friends have become the family I have chosen, rather than the family I was born to. I’m exceptionally lucky in that some members of my biological family are also members of my chosen family. [Since answering these questions, Karen has become engaged. I wouldn’t be doing my job as a nosy friend if I didn’t edit him into this picture.]
What does the first hour of your day look like? The very first hour of my day looks very blurry as I attempt to wake up, get dressed and drive to the office.
What does the last hour of your day look like? I typically use the last hour of the day to wind down: I determine what clothes I need to wear (I’m too fuzzy-headed in the morning to make rational decisions about attire); it’s not unusual for me to take a shower or bath before getting ready for bed; and finally, I like to read for a little while in bed before going to sleep.