I have a friend named Thelma Jane. I've known her since the early 90s, and she is one of my favorite people on the planet.
The circumstances of our meeting are pretty funny. We were both hired at the same time to be the first Austin-based employees of a family-owned temporary employment company based out of San Antonio with a satellite office in Houston. They were a small company looking to expand, and they hired the two of us to establish their business in Austin. We were unexperienced, underpaid and unsupervised. For the several months we worked there we, quite literally, did nothing. We would drink beers at work and just generally fuck around. I even brought a pillow to work that I kept under my desk for impromptu afternoon naps. We were the epitome of early-90s Gen X Austin Slackerness. But oh my GOD, we had fun. And the best part of it all is that we got to meet one another and became fast friends.
Here are just some of the reasons I adore TJ to the very core of my being:
She can make me laugh to tears faster than almost anyone.
She introduced me to the music of The Beastie Boys.
She knitted a beautiful shawl out of yarn made from the fur of her dogs that she collected for YEARS.
She's crafty (see above).
She'll stop on the side of the road in Louisiana to buy $3 work pants from a dude selling them out of his truck.
She'll do anything for a friend, including coming over in the middle of the night to keep the friend from hitting rock bottom soon after the friend had been left by her husband.
She plays the drums.
She likes all kinds of music--especially the RAWK.
She's strong as shit.
She one time put on roller skates and let her dogs pull her from her house to mine while smoking a handrolled cigarette.
She had a pink bong named Barbie.
She rocks a minivan.
She used to write me letters when I moved away.
She switched clothes with me in the bathroom at Emo's during the Dumpster Juice show at SXSW many moons (and many pounds) ago.
She took a voice class with me so we could sing harmony together.
She once rode all over town so we could hang up "Free Baby Bunnies! Just In Time For Easter" fliers we'd made to fuck with a dude who'd done me wrong. (Long story.)
She's a really good mother.
She's the only person who I've hiked to the top of Enchanted Rock with.
BH gets a kick out of her.
She makes great lemon bars.
She teaches mentally handicapped teenagers vocational skills, which requires a level of patience and understanding that I can only dream about having.
She is utterly and completely unique. They broke the mold when Thelma Jane was born.
Thank you, Universe, for throwing Thelma and me together in that crappy job nearly twenty years ago. That gal's a keeper.