Friday, February 19, 2016

48. My Friend Jack

My friend Jack. I’m going to write about Jack because I’ve just eaten half of a Papa Murphy’s veggie pizza and I’m strained for other ideas.

I met Jack in the fall of 2010 just after we both started working for the Maryland Conservation Corps Americorps program. We were at our big group orientation. There were about 50 of us in the room and we all had to go around and tell where we were from and what crew we worked on. Jack said he was from Minnesota and I was like, “Oh, another native son from the motherland. I should get to know him.” And I did.

Jack was wearing a tie the first time I went over to his apartment. And that’s how I knew he was much, much cooler than me. I don’t remember what much else we did, except for going to go visit his wife Chelsea, who was working at Designer Shoe Warehouse at the time. We went into Wal Mart to buy snacks. It was pretty great. This was just after college and I didn’t have too many friends who were married at the time, so I was like whoa, Jack is much, much cooler than me.

We hung out a lot and I got to know Jack and Chelsea really well. I think we spent New Year’s Eve together a couple times. Most of the time, we’d just get drunk and play Trivial Pursuit. It was pretty awesome.

I think Jack and I bonded because I liked to ask questions and Jack liked to answer them. During our second year of MCC we were up at Fire Camp, all the first year members had to get trained, whereas the second year members had a lot of downtime. Jack and I made it through a whole box of trivial pursuit cards, just asking each other questions.

I moved to Boston in 2012 and Jack found a new job outside of the Park Service soon after. We didn’t talk as much, but still kept in touch. I was lucky enough to go with both Jack and Chelsea to Ocean City, Maryland in summer of 2012. It was such a fun weekend on the beach.

I think Jack and I became really close in the spring of 2014. Jack was applying to be an Air Traffic Controller and I was questioning whether I wanted to stay in Boston. I had what could easily be called a quarter-life crisis and Jack was nervous about the change in his life as well. Both Jack and Chelsea were gracious and helpful enough to answer my near daily calls and text messages. Chelsea was especially helpful in helping me deal with anxiety attacks. I remember sitting in the stairwell at the Boston Herald office, trying hold back tears as Chelsea helped me take a breath and calm down.

Ever since then, Jack and I message each other at least five to 10 times a day. Most of the time it deals with one of the following subjects: soccer, triscuits, yogurt, sandwiches, pizza, bears, or beers. It’s goofy, stupid, and part of the excruciating minutae of everyday life. I love it. Those things keep me going.

We now see each other a couple times a year. Jack and Chelsea live in Lincoln, Nebraska and don’t have the most flexible schedules. But we drink good beer, eat good food, and talk good soccer when we get together. It’s good stuff.

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