Like all good stories, this one starts with a breakup.
There was this boy I kinda loved - maybe the first boy I kinda loved - but it ended terribly. I spent weeks crying. And here’s the worst thing: he ended it just before the 2008 Presidential election. This was a problem because, over the previous year or so, in a deeply unsatisfying job, I’d gotten very into US Politics. I’d supported Obama for years. When I first googled him, I searched “Barack Obama antichrist” got less than 20 hits (I spent time in conservative US churches, so I when I heard about Obama, my first impulse was to think “OMG, conservatives will freak about him”. But they hadn’t. Yet.). So I was excited on election day, and then I spent the day Obama was elected in tears. At work.
A couple of weeks later, I was tired of crying. The United States Studies Centre had planned an event at a pub in Balmain, about what would happen post-election. I really didn’t want to go, but after weeks of sitting at home, crying, I needed to get out of the house. I put on this really lovely floral cotton dress. I walked down to the bus stop. As I left, it started raining. Hard. Three busses didn’t come. I thought about heading home, but I didn’t. I often think about how close I came to leaving that day.
So I wound up at this pub, and half way through the talk I realised I wanted to study this. I spoke to the presenter, who wound up being my favourite lecturer, and he directed me to someone at the back of the room, who turned out to be the professor looking after the Masters in US Studies program and, later, a friend. She encouraged me to apply for the program, telling me about their scholarships. One was the Eleanor Roosevelt scholarship, and when she told me that, I pulled an Eleanor Roosevelt biography I was reading from my bag. I knew signing up for this program was right.
I had missed the deadline for applications, but I applied anyway. And I was accepted. Then I went to stay with my parents in Shanghai. While I was there, I got into the TV show Chuck and the band Frightened Rabbit and I saw the Great Wall. And while I was away, my friend Heidy got REALLY into this country singer from the US that I had never heard of, named Taylor Swift. Heidy had really loved her performance of Should’ve Said No at the ACM awards, and was now obsessed.
When I got back, Heidy was upset because Taylor was playing at a pretty tiny venue in Newtown (I think it was the Factory theatre), and it had sold out. I was sure that tickets HAD to be available, because who would know some teenager from Nashville, so I posted on my Facebook that I was after tickets for the Taylor Swift show.
Then I was invited to a drinks night for the Masters program, and there I met a bunch of people. I had to leave early because I was going to see Death Cab for Cutie with Heidy that night. I cried because of the end of the relationship on the way home, since DCFC reminded me of him, and I listened to Frightened Rabbit songs, because Midnight Organ Flight is the best breakup album ever, and all was ok.
Then, when I actually started the program, I sat in the intro class, and early, this guy turned to me and said “Hey, so I saw on Facebook that you are looking for a Taylor Swift ticket”, and I had to explain that no, I didn’t, I was just looking for a ticket for a friend. But it turned out he liked her heaps and had also missed out on tickets.
And that was the origin of my friendship with Jonathan, five years ago this week. Tomorrow is five years since the day of that concert, the first time I actually met JB, though he doesn’t remember meeting me. Our first actual conversation, which was less than a week later, was about Taylor.
We missed the Fearless tour, because we were in DC interning in Congress together. By that point, we were already closer that I thought I could be with a friend, even if we fought a lot. We figured that shit out, though, and everything was better for it.
In March 2012, we finally got to see Taylor together. It was magical. And we’ve seen her three times now, and every time had been awesome. And that doesn’t begin to touch all the times we’ve sung Taylor Swift karaoke or spent hours dissecting various Taylor lyrics, or discussed my angst about the Taylor v. Harry breakup.
I am so thankful for the best friendship I have ever had, and for the fact it is five years old this week. And I am thankful to Taylor for being Taylor. She was a big part of it.
This is a thing my best friend wrote! Also, because I have had this Tumblr for so long, you can see that I posted this around about five years ago.
It is true that I do not remember meeting Erin on the day she describes. But I was previously told by some of the staff of the Centre that they had a new student coming who was a pretty big deal in the Sydney blogosphere, which is why I (naturally) stalked her Facebook page before she came to class.