In those days, Michelle and I made love and hate lists. On a piece of paper we'd write a list of things, under the title "I LOVE" and another list of things under the title "I HATE." The listed items frequently contained parentheticals, explaining it all. Reliably, there were references to teachers (almost always on the HATE side), boys in our school (equally divided between LOVE and HATE), and various celebrities (mostly LOVE). Often these lists were notes passed back and forth between classes. Then we'd meet in the cafeteria to discuss . . . and laugh.
Around this same time, Michelle stopped using capital letters almost entirely. As a result, I feel as though I commit a spiritual offense when I write her name as Michelle Jackson and not michelle jackson. It even looks weird to me with capitals but I'm too brainwashed in proper writing at this point to let go of them. Sorry, mj.
Michelle, and the Love-Hate lists I've saved, crack me up to this day. Last night, the lists crossed my mind so I went digging through the random files and boxes of papers and letters I've saved (most of which are from waaaay back when we wrote each other letters on paper). I could not find a single list! Tragic! I'm sure they are somewhere. Michelle??? Send me copies, but please do not scan and post.
Michelle is still a kick-ass friend, and is now a kick-ass therapist, so I'm sure she can say many educated, eloquent things about those lists - about our tween and teen processes of identity formation, about the validation provided by female friendships, about how the Police are still one of the best bands to ever have been, at least those first three albums.
The lists were part vent/bitch session, part pretending we were stand up comics. The lists were significantly self-referential, both inter-list and intra-list. The lists were also a way to confess our inner feelings within the protective forces of sarcasm and the act of writing what we could not speak.
In Michelle's honor, and ostensibly sizing things up while looking toward the new year, but mostly for no particular reason other than the fact that I wish she and/or the lists were here to make me laugh right now, below is an excerpt from my Love/Hate list for today, December 29, 2009. I encourage you to make one of your own, preferably on lined school paper, and mail it to your BFF.
+ mayonnaise (I'm so over my faux "I hate mayo" trip just cause it has a lot of calories. I love that stuff!)
+ lavender (it is good for so much)
+ being married
+ the Police (see above re: first three albums)
+ mascara (blue mascara = instant glamour)
+ health care reform (c'mon people - lets give it a shot! its not like the status quo is working)
+ Europe (they have so much figured out)
+ brown rice (I feel so good when I eat it)
+ the term Cougar (I'm proud to be thought of as a sexy older woman - given I have to be in the older category - and I believe the term is fitting even when not on the prowl)
+ Facebook (see here)
+ Justin Timberlake (I admit it, OK, he is just really cute - his golf habit notwithstanding)
+ PJ Harvey (nearly 20 years later, I am still in the process of coming to terms with the fact that I am not her)
+ my mom (I am not in jr high anymore! I can love her! Plus, she wrote a book!)
+ the ocean (that baby has power, my chakras are realigned just by being in its presence)
- being a working parent (daycare: the guilt!)
- not having enough minutes in the day
- the media (enough already! can we please get some responsible journalism from the mainstream media?)
- that my nearly 5 year old still does not sleep well
- artificial fragrances
- health care reform (the reality of it, I hate being asked to chose between my commitment to reproductive rights and my desire to see SOMETHING happen in this area)
- global warming and habitat destruction (I feel so helpless)
- scallops (I don't know if I'm really still allergic but I haven't gotten over the times they made me sick when I was 5 or 6)
- the term MILF (not so much because I don't like what it means, but it is not a sexy word)
- Facebook (hello! can I please get something done??)
- Tiger Woods (OK, I realize he is an amazing golfer, and I don't even care about his infidelity - I assume ALL professional athletes sleep with whomever they want - but he is just not that attractive in my opinion, plus I kind of hate golf)
- the musical Annie (first tortured by my younger sister, now by my daughter. It is indeed a hard knock life for me)
- activities that require gear (since having kids my schlep tolerance is lower than ever, even though this makes me feel totally lame because as a practical matter I really have no interest skiing which I know is fun)