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Sunday, September 18, 2011

I Still Got a Hug in Me {Blog Contest Submission} SPOILER :: I didn't win!

Real Simple recently closed "The First Ever Simply Stated Blogger Contest"... which is cool and all, but I didn't get chosen as one of the finalists.  Boo!  Good news?  I get to post my story on my OWN blog for all of you to read!  Sweet!

The topic: “Who is the person you are most surprised to be friends with? Maybe it was someone whom you had nothing in common with, someone you’ve only conversed with via e-mail, or someone who started out as more of a rival than a friend. Whoever that unexpected friend is, tell us about him or her.”  In 300-words or less...  

I’m wordy.  I’ll admit it.  You can tell by the reviews I write for SIMPLE.  So this was a challenge.  I wrote the story, ran word count, and cringed… it was over 450.  So I painstakingly pared it down to EXACTLY 300 words.  EXACTLY.  (Thank you to the hyphen for making 2 words into 1 based on MS Word's standards!)  I should have won for that effort alone!

The confines of 300 words meant cutting out SO MUCH of what brought Erin and I together as sisters - it really does not do us justice as a friend-couple.  It wasn't JUST the man-bashing (though that was pretty awesome cause she was about to go through a divorce, and we had PLENTY of fodder for those discussions), there was also our shared love of felines, random movie quotes, trivia, sewing, being silly and smart-assy at bars... the list could have ended in a 2000-word novella!  (see, I love hyphens!)

So even though I didn't get chosen, I think it's a fun little story, so I wanted to share.  Cheers!

I Still Got a Hug in Me

She was standing in the alley behind our office, wearing an Invader Zim shirt that said, “I STILL GOT A HUG IN ME!” On a completely bizarre impulse, I walked up and hugged her. I don’t normally randomly hug coworkers - we had worked together indirectly, but we weren’t friends. But she was my age, and was wearing a “fun” shirt, so… hug!

Apparently, I was mistaken. I had never seen Invader Zim so had no clue that the shirt was intended to be ironic. She looked at me like I had just assaulted her. I had just hugged the anti-hugger.

We didn’t talk after the “hug assault.” I felt awkward. She probably thought I was some weird hippie chick trying to convert her to hug-ism like a flower bearing Hari Krishna. Ok, I kind of am a bit of a hippie chick, but that’s beside the point…

Then I broke up with this soul-sucking guy I had been seeing. The next day at the office, I needed to share my triumph. I looked around the office for someone to ambush, seeing only 50+ aged biddies: married since high school with no clue about current dating conventions, divorced man hater, single with 9 cats... Really? I needed a twenty-something to validate my reasons for dumping Mr. Negativity. I needed HER. I picked up the phone and dialed her extension.

I am outgoing; she is private. I am heartfelt; she is sarcastic (she should be paid for her witty zingers). I hug; she fist bumps. I wear bright, summery colors; she wears dark, wintery shades. We should clash like sunshine and storm clouds.  But it turns out that man bashing is friendship fodder, even for the most opposite
of females.

She hugs me now; everyone else gets fist bumps. Sisterhood achieved!


P.S. Real Simple: the grammar police caught you... "Maybe it was someone whom you had nothing in common with" should be, "Maybe it was someone with whom you had nothing in common" -- never end a sentence with a preposition.  :)  Cheers!