Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Emancipation of Mulan!

First of all, I am aware that Mulan is a Disney character (so props to Disney, no stealing of artistic stuff goin' on here!). I am also aware that the movie is loosely based on an ancient Chinese poem about a girl who saves China. And finally, I am abundantly aware that I am NOT Chinese. Having said all that, I have also had the unpleasant experience of knowing that MOST people do not distinguish between the various Asian cultures in the Asia-Pacific region of the world. Sometimes I correct that ignorance, other times I use it to my advantage. Yes, I am evil, and I revel in it.

This is a story I have told quite a few times. You see, I work in a world where call-signs, or nicknames, are the norm. In my career field, we rarely indulge in call-signs. Quite frankly, it's a pilot thing, and I am NOT a pilot. I am, however, an "operator". For the lay-person, an operator is someone who is considered part of the "pointy end" of the proverbial military spear if, and when, the US military is called upon to "bring the pain" to an adversary. I used to be at the console of a very large, pointy, nuclear-tipped spear. So when I say "bring the pain", I mean obliterate everything......for miles......you get the idea.

In my line of work, we would get a call-sign on the rare occasions when someone went to a specialized training course that bestowed call-signs. The other way is to do something so spectacular, you just HAD to have a call-sign as a result. My call-sign falls under the heading of "spectacular".....

To set the stage, my husband, Al, and I were invited to a wedding for two of our friends. They decided to have it at Disney World, and they invited many military folks with whom they worked. What could possibly go wrong? Well, to give you an idea, we were all stationed at a relatively isolated, northern tier base. We didn't get out of the state much, and we were going stir-crazy. These are the people the happy couple decided to unleash on Disney World. So, what happened over the course of that week is entirely their fault :)

Anyone who knows me is fully aware that I am quite vocally proud of being Asian, more particularly Korean. I also identify with strong female leads in movies, especially if they are of Asian descent, can't be too picky about what country they hail from since there aren't that many to begin with. So when Disney released Mulan, AND she whipped ass, well.....game on! I now have a favorite Disney heroine. Notice, I said heroine, not princess. This detail will become VERY important later. While she is supremely badass, she is not a princess. A fact that did not bother me at the time of the movie's release, until Disney MADE it an issue.

Al and I decided to take a vacation in conjunction with the wedding, so we arrived a week prior, and scored discount tickets since we were part of the wedding party. Yay!! We chose one of those days to take a break from the park madness and head over to Downtown Disney. The area didn't require tickets, and is pretty much packed with stores where you can buy anything Disney.....or so I thought. One store in particular caught my attention, the Disney Princess Store. Okay, I pretty much loathe anything pink or princess-y, but I saw Belle in the window, along with other princesses, and decided that this would be the perfect place to get anything Mulan. Now why would the fact that Belle was in the window lead me to believe that I would find Mulan stuff? I have already indicated that Mulan is not a princess, in the strict sense of the word. This is when the fun began, or horror depending on your point of view.

I walked into the store, and did a quick survey. Aisles of Disney princesses stared back at me. An aisle devoted to each princess, and a couple of questionable ones.......wait, where's Mulan? Hmmmm, now I begin to scour the aisles, surely she must be here, she was the only heroine who went and saved a country and that should AT LEAST merit some shelf space, right? As I make my way to the counter, I have only located a Mulan Barbie doll, a porcelain Mulan statue, and a Mulan pin.....that's it. This check-out girl (and my husband) had no idea what was about to go down, but I chose this time to right a racial injustice.  Let the emancipation of Mulan begin!

CHECKOUT GIRL:  Welcome to the Disney Princess Store, may I help you? (pleasant smile, rosy cheeks, sparkle in her eye.....oblivious of the shit storm that was about to start)

ME:  Yes, I was looking for Mulan stuff and I didn't see anything on the shelves. Do you have her stuff in the back?

CG:  We have a doll, and a statue, and this cute little pin (sparkly smile)

ME:  Yes, I saw those, I meant do you have anything else in the store. (anger beginning, Al looking out the window and has no idea what's going on in the store)

CG:  Oh, well, this is the Disney Princess Store....and, well, she's not a princess.

ME:  (beginning to seethe) Really? Well, you have an entire aisle of Belle's shit and SHE is NOT a PRINCESS! (Al's head whips around.....WTF?!)

CG:  (clearly beginning to get agitated) But she's a princess.....(in low whimpery tone)

ME:  Oh no she's NOT......she was NOT married at the end of that movie. As far as I'm concerned she was shackin' up with the Beast! (Al's mouth falls open, frozen in shock)

CG:  Oh my gosh....you're right....she wasn't.....

ME:  (seething turning to rage) SO! Since she's not one of your little WHITE princesses, I guess you don't have to keep her stuff in stock, huh?! (Al begins to tug on my arm as he is envisioning the girl hitting an unseen security button under the counter)

CG:  (sputtering) B-b-b-b-but we have Pocohontas stuff!

ME:  (rage building to a crescendo) Of course you do! You only took their LAND and threw a THEME PARK on it!! (Al now has a hold of my arm and is physically trying to yank me out of the store, all the while scanning for security that he was sure was on its way)

CG:  Ummmmmm......uh.......uh.......

AL:  (loudly whispering, and simultaneously tugging) Buy the doll.....buy the doll....just buy the DAMN DOLL!!

ME:  FINE!!! Give me the fuckin' doll!!

CG:  (silently sells me the doll)

AL:  (Violently yanks me out of the store)

The rest of the vacation went quietly, we laughed, we saw a beautiful wedding, had a blast at the reception and continued the party at the Disney Boardwalk.....then Al had to tell EVERYONE in the wedding party about what happened at the Disney Princess store. And that's where I thought the story died, in Florida. But no, it was not to wither away. The very next time I was in our Pre-D room (Pre-D is the Pre-Departure brief that we receive prior to going out to the field, and is how the crew force receives any, and all, current pertinent information ranging from security to maintenance that will occur that day), one of the other crew members who was also going out that day leans over and says, "What's up, Mulan?" with a huge grin on his face. Damn.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Teenage Girls, Queen, and the Whitetail Deer Institute

As a teenage girl in Georgia, there are a few things with which I grew up.....guns, hunting, fishing, MTV (when it still played music), and of course my best friend. Of those five things, I thoroughly hated two, guess which two.....go ahead, you get 5 chances.....

Yup, you nailed it, hunting and fishing. Seriously, at the age of eight, my dad took me out to the woods and handed me the .22 long rifle (which I had been previously schooled on), and I had to follow him while he tracked deer at 0500. In civilian parlance, that would be 05-o'fucking-clock in the morning. Okay, so what eight year old likes to be up at 0500 when no cartoons are involved, and, more importantly, what sane human being drags his DAUGHTER out for this crap?! I'll tell you who, my raised-in-Tennessee father who had only one child....me.

We had been at this for a few hours, and other than pissing off a deer with a .22 caliber round, I was really of no use.....and I was getting bored. Now, enter into the picture a beautiful 8-point buck. He was gorgeous! And how nice would that head look on our wall at home? And how much meat would we have for the freezer? As my dad drew up his rifle, and began to take aim, all those plans were shot to shit when I yelled, at the top of my lungs, "Run, Bambi, RUN!!" Oh, did I forget to mention that my parents had allowed me to watch Bambi only a few weeks prior to this? Must have slipped my mind.....and apparently my dad's mind when he decided it was a good idea to drag his daughter on a hunting trip.

Needless to say, he...was...PISSED! You know how we have all those child protective laws? I don't think those would've helped me. My dad lowered his gun, took me by the arm, led me to the truck, and.....locked me inside, by myself, with a can of beenie weenies and a coke for the rest of the day. I'm fairly certain you're not supposed to leave an eight year old, alone, in a vehicle, in the woods, for most of the day. Not even in 1983. But, I got what I wanted! My hunting trip ended approximately 2-3 hours into it, and I never had to go hunting again! The reason I tell this story is to set the proper stage for what happened at my best friend's house almost 8 yrs later.

Megan and I were at her house, and we were excited!! Why, you may ask? Well, because the Freddy Mercury tribute concert was about to start, and we were going to spend the next few hours in Queen-ly bliss! We had made our snacks, gotten our drinks, picked our spots on the couch, and settled in for what promised to be nothing short of unadultered awesomeness in the form of a pantheon of legendary performers covering Queen songs. And then it happened.....the fucking Whitetail Deer Institute....

When we were about an hour, or so, into our Queen-gasm, Megan's dad entered the room with one of his karate students. Both are avid hunters. This room housed the only TV with a VCR, and incidentally, the only TV hooked to cable. We, as teenagers, didn't have a chance. Queen went off, and a VHS tape, made by the Whitetail Deer Institute, containing "critical" hunting information began to play.

So, what, do you ask, IS the Whitetail Deer Institute? Well, they are a bunch of people who got together to create feed for deer in order to lure the overly cunning creatures into an area, and while the deer ate, the hunters shoot them. At least, that's the gist of what I got out of the video, Megan may remember it differently, but here's a link to the organization if you want to create your own deer massacre in your front yard:  http://www.whitetailinstitute.com/index.html

We were understandably angry. But we weren't leaving our spots on the couch, out of spite. Her dad, and his student, would just have to make do with the recliner and a chair.....our small act of defiance. So, they did, and what proceeded to unfold on the TV was nothing short of bizarre. It was footage of deer literally coming out of relatively safe wooded areas, into open ground, to eat free food laid out by lazy-ass hunters.....all of this was narrated by one of the thickest southern accents I have ever heard, and I grew up in Georgia! Megan and I just stared in disbelief.....then we got angry.....and as this video continued for about half an hour, it got......funny! OH...MY...GOD!! This was HILARIOUS! I was the first one to see the humor in "Bubba" discussin' the sci-en-tiffic process bye whhhich the feeeeed wuz dee-veloped. And I had picked up the closest pillow to cover my face because I was now trying to control my violent spasm of laughter. Megan looked at me like, "Are you for freaking REAL?! What could possibly be making you laugh? We're supposed to be watching the tribute! Why aren't you angry like me?!" In answer to her queries, I was pointing at the TV and grinning like a Cheshire cat, "This is ridiculous! Don't you see how stupid this is? And look how studiously your dad and his student are WATCHING this? Why aren't you laughing at this like me?!" Of note, this whole dialogue passed between us through facial gestures and hand motions. Now Megan began to actually watch and listen to what was going on.....and she grabbed a pillow in order to hide her laughter. By the time we hit the 30-minute mark, we are shaking violently, and laughing hysterically.....and we couldn't stop! Her dad noticed the awful, and annoying, sounds of muffled laughter coming from the two teenaged girls on the couch, who wouldn't leave, despite his dirty looks. And then a miracle happened. He had finally had enough of our sacrilege, and stopped the tape. What?! Really? Oh my God! We won!!

He angrily grabbed the tape, left the room, and even though we had missed 30 minutes, we got to settle back down in our couch, and watch the tribute without any further interruption. Moral of the story? No matter how important you think your tape/DVD is, there are always going to be teenaged girls who think it's hysterically stupid :)

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Roaches, Raid, and the Crazy Spidee Dance

Now, I cannot stress enough how much I detest insects and arachnids of any kind. I mean I hate them with the white-hot intensity of a thousand suns. I make this statement so y'all will understand the inherent psychological damage that occurred as a result of the incident I'm about to relay to you.

I was still in high school, most likely 9th or 10th grade. If it was any later in my high school career, I would have had a means of escape in the form of my car. So, in a word, I was screwed.

The house in which I grew up was a ranch style home. We used our side door as the main entrance, which opened into a den room. The room right next to the den was the kitchen, and this is where it all went down. My room was at the end of house, and this is where I was coming from when I walked into my worst, unholy insect nightmare. I went into the kitchen to get a snack from the fridge. Innocent enough, right? What could POSSIBLY go wrong? Well I'll tell you.....the biggest cockroach (you can call them palmetto bugs if you want to, that's just another word for BIG FUCKING ROACH!!) I have seen was climbing up the wall. Now, before you get the "ewwww, her house had roaches" thought, remember that I grew up in the south....the DEEP south, and roaches are a fact of life no matter how clean your house is. And my mom was Korean, despite her OCD efforts at maintaining an immaculate home, every time it rained a few roaches would find their way into the house. And when I say immaculate, I mean hermetically sealed. We still had to take our shoes off in my house, part sign of respect, part to keep dirt out. On pain of death did you violate this rule.

Now, back to the roach on the wall. I was paralyzed with abject fear and horror. I am almost pathological when it comes to bugs, of any type. While I was motionless and pondering how I was going to deal with the roach in question, I had an epiphany...Raid! It kills roaches, dead, right? I mean, that's what the ad said, and that would be false advertising if it didn't, so they couldn't lie...or could they? As most people growing up in the '80s/'90s, I watched quite a bit of TV. This is one of the pivotal moments of my life when it was painfully obvious that the TV did, INDEED, freakin' lie.

When I finally peeled myself from my spot on the floor, I slowly made my way to the cabinet with the Raid...all the while thinking how clever I was, and how brave of me to face my fears head on. Bullshit....pure, unadulterated bullshit. I made it to the cabinet and found the can I was looking for...oh sweet, roachy death in a can...the proverbial can of whoop-ass I was about to unleash on the unsuspecting six-legged interloper. I proceeded to spray the living shit out of this bug, and I quite possibly may have shouted something along the lines of, "Ha! Take that!" or I could have just laughed maniacally, my memory is a little fuzzy about anything truly awesome I could have said. My joy was short-lived. In the midst of my spraying spree, the roach actually turned around, looked at me, and, I swear to God, said, "Bitch, please...." Then, it flew at my head. W....T....F?! Really?! I was attacked by a damn roach! What ensued was a lot of ducking, screaming, and what I like to call The Crazy Spidee Dance. The Crazy Spidee Dance is my general reaction to all things buggy, but it originated on a sidewalk when I walked into a web that no one else saw. Oh yeah, it looks as insane as it sounds. And it is my only defense against anything with more than four legs.

What started as a stride forward in my insect emancipation, ended with an even greater phobia of all things creepy and crawly. It is also the reason I hold the archaic belief that it is ALWAYS the man's job to kill the bugs...period.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Mardi Gras and the Napolean Complex

Well, I flicked off a short dude in a bar on Bourbon St. He wasn't short enough to qualify as a "little person", nor would I insult little people by associating this guy with them. My intention was not to insult Shrimpy for his short stature, because, let's face it Asians aren't the tallest people in the world. And despite the fact that I am only 1/2 Korean, I top out at about 5'5"...respectable, but not tall by any means. And y'all need to understand that I was too stone-cold sober to put up with little dude's Napolean complex in a crowded bar while he was insulting my friend. My goals were simple.....insult him, and make him leave the bar.

But let's go back in time a bit to how this weekend started, you know, before I was making obscence hand-gestures to a short man in a bar in New Orleans. Triple-H and I had decided to start our Mardi Gras adventure a little early by heading to The Big Easy (her hometown) on Friday, and making our way back home on Sunday. I kept my son (who I will call Buddy) home from school, and we were meeting two other friends, and their kids, at our hotel on Canal St. We packed our things Friday morning, and were on the road by 9:30 am. One McD's stop and a Starbucks later, and we were well on our way to parade central and all the beads we could catch!

Of course, our trip was going too smoothly. About halfway to New Orleans we encounter the quintessential crappy woman driver. Yeah.....I said it.....crappy WOMAN driver. She's the one that makes the rest of us look bad because she doesn't drive with her eyes open, apparently she uses the Force...and the Force was not strong with this one. She began drifting into my lane, so naturally I laid on the horn. The best part was when she had the nerve to look at me and give me the finger....REALLY?! So, God bless her, Triple-H answered in kind, and to make sure that chick understood, Triple-H managed to wiggle out of her seatbelt far enough to reach her hand into the backseat, over Buddy's head (so he couldn't see it) and continue to give that crazy bitch the finger. Now remember, we haven't even MADE it to New Orleans, yet! Luckily, we had already passed her, and she never caught up with us.

We made it to our hotel by 3 pm-ish, just in time to have our car valet-parked (don't get too excited, we had no choice, AND we had to pay for it), and get ready for our first parade, yay! Friday's parade in uptown was Krewe of Oshun, which was founded in 1996, and named for the Yoruba goddess of love and intimacy. Unfortunately, we were towards the end of the parade route, and weren't feelin' much of the love. They were not throwing very many beads or trinkets, and Buddy was not havin' it. He...was...pissed. But it was also getting late, and we just had a long car ride, so all things considered, he was doing pretty well for a 5-yr old. The worst thing he did was tear up a bit, but he was good to go when he understood that there were three more parades on Saturday.

One of our friends watched the kids that night so the rest of us could go out. Woohoo! Bourbon Street!! Triple-H took us to Famous Door, where an awesome cover band was playing. And the best part? She knew the band! Friday night was fairly uneventful, none of us really had more than a couple drinks and made it back to our room to rest up for the festivities the next day. Yeah, that's how moms roll.....no Britney Spears, trailer-park drunken episodes for THIS crowd!

Saturday was filled with three parades...the Krewe of Pontchartrain (organized in 1975, and named after Lake Pontchartrain, which forms the northernmost border of New Orleans), the Knights of Sparta (founded in 1952, and an all male Krewe that first paraded in 1981 in Orleans Parish), and the Krewe of Pygmalion (founded in 2000, named for the Greek legend of a Cypress king who sculpts a statue of the sea nymph Galatea, only to fall in love with it). And they did not disappoint.

The kids made it through the first two parades, and everyone was having a great time...until the drunken tourists came out. A group of idiots next to us decided to get sloppy drunk, and heckle the people in the parade. Seriously, grown-ass men heckling kids in a parade, and using obscenities. I didn't feel like dealing with them while my son was with me, so I just told Buddy they said potty-words, and to ignore them. Well, he understood the bit about the potty words, and gave me an ominous look like they were headed to the ninth level of Hades for that infraction. Problem solved....and then the fat, drunk, jerk HAD to heckle the JROTC kids. Now it's time to go bitch-fantastic on him (a term coined by my best friend, Megan).  His couldn't-pass-a-PT-test-with-a-gator-chasin'-him ass actually had the cojones to yell, "Why aren't you out serving my country?" at these kids. Oh....Helllllll....No....You....Din't! That's when I wheeled around to face him and very loudly yelled, "That's because they are fucking cadets, you ass-hole!" Like most people who feel brave enough to shout obscenities at people who can't hear them, when confronted, they reacted quite predictably by over-apologizing for the behavior of their drunk friend. The look I shot them was more than enough to shut them up....I love using the "I'm gonna bust yo ass" mom face on people, they really have no idea what to do when they see it, and they instantly harken back to childhood when THEIR moms gave them that look. It's just best to shut up and stop diggin' your own grave at that point. That happened during the last parade, and then it was time to pack up our stuff and get the kids ready for bed. Our two friends weren't feeling well, so they stayed behind with the kids. I was beginning to lose my voice from all the yelling at the parade (this is important later). But I was feeling okay other than that. So, that meant another night out for me and Triple-H....and the plot thickens....

Again, we went to Famous Door....and it was all going sooooo well.....until the band stopped playing, and the hip-hop guy who entertained the crowd in between sets started to get harassed by Shrimpy. Now Hip-Hop had been pretty nice to us, pulling us on stage, and having a great ole time. But it was time for the band to get back on stage, and he had to get all the people off the stage. THIS is what triggered the drunken vitriol from Shrimpy. First, he starts to call Hip-Hop a douche-bag, I'm not sure why, Shrimpy was not one of the ones being escorted off the stage. This would not be only thing he said that didn't make any sense. After a few more insults, Triple-H turns around to give the guy a dirty look. He responds by saying, "What, is he your friend? Is he your step-son?" Wait a minute, huh? What the hell does that even mean? He made about as much sense as Charlie Sheen on the Today show. Now, I'm giving him a dirty look for yelling at Triple-H. He keeps cussing at us, so we both respond with the one-handed salute, and use our other finger to point him towards the exit. Remember how I lost my voice? Yup, I had been reduced to rude hand-gestures....not my best comeback, but effective. He was clearly too drunk to realize that we were both bigger than he was, but that fact wasn't lost on his girlfriend (who was also taller than Shrimpy, but I digress). She proceeded to drag him out before he did something that was going to get his ass kicked by two chicks in a bar on Bourbon Street. Remember my goals stated at the beginning of this blog? Mission accomplished. Napolean may have been the inspiration for the complex, but Shrimpy took it to the next level. Viva la France!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Military Bases, Curfews, and Flat Tires

First, let me tell you that I was the most boring, rule-following teenager on the planet. I had a curfew, as did most of my friends, that could be broken as long as I called with a good reason. My best friend, Megan, had the same standing rule. We didn't drink, smoke, or do drugs. Our idea of a night out "partying" was usually spent at a friend's house watching movies, playing ping-pong or pool in the basement, or going to movies. As you can tell, Columbus, GA, was NOT a hot bed of sin or debauchery, or I just sucked at finding it. I didn't have a boyfriend. No fake ID's, and God-forbid, I actually got along with my parents, ethnic issues not-withstanding....my mom was Korean and my dad is a Tennessee hillbilly, and I grew up in Georgia. If THAT isn't worth a blog by itself, I don't know what is....but I digress.

I will also tell you, with all seriousness, that I was not boy-crazy. Really. And I grew up next to Ft. Benning. I had come to the stark realization that, although I found most of the "fare" on base hot in the strictest sense of the word, I also saw them as a potential road-block to my goals of college, a degree, and a successful career (remember the Korean part?).

I did, however, have a car. And not just any car.....I had a fire-engine red convertible. It screamed, "Look at me! I'm easy!" faster than I could have shouted it. I also had friends that I "rolled" with, and no one rolled with me more often than Megan. She is the Connor to my Murphy, go watch The Boondock Saints to get THAT one.....go ahead.....I'll wait.....
Yeah, we're like THAT!

Now Megan has a certain, how shall I put it, "way" with men. They gravitate to her like the proverbial moth to a flame, did I mention she's a redhead? I usually got the polite acknowledgement most men give to the best friend of the target of their intent, and I truly did not care. My job was to man the getaway car, be the sarcastic screen to any half-wit advances, and, of course, provide the alibi should we break curfew (and we often did).

The alibi of choice was the Flat Tire. It was always plausible and rarely questioned. Plus, I think it offered the parents a way of believing, academically if not emotionally, that their good little girls would NEVER go to Ft. Benning at night and cavort with *gasp* 18-20ish year old....oh, how shall I put it....hornballs who are miles away from home, friends and family. Now, I also must clarify a point, Megan and I did not pick up random Ft. Benning-ites. That's what Post-debs (read "debutantes") did. We didn't go there with the intent of meeting, courting, and/or tricking GI Joe Schmuckatelli into marrying one of us to "save us from forever being stuck in Columbus". Megan usually met a nice (and I do mean nice, otherwise we would have kept our happy asses at home watching Queen videos) young GI in her father's dojo. Oh, did I forget to mention my friend could also destroy someone with her pinky? Must have slipped my mind....moving on...

She genuinely enjoyed their company, and was innocent in her flirting. Neither one of us required the damsel in distress bit o'saving (or unwanted pregnancies) that a dalliance with one of these young men could have produced. We simply dreamed bigger than that, and executed on those dreams. The awesome triad of military bases, broken curfews, and phantom flat tires did not make us the Bad Girls, or even the At-Risk Girls. Read it and absorb:  both of us got out of Columbus on our own, thank you very much.....and fuckin' STAYED out!

Oral Traditions and Campfire Stories...

So, this ain't my first rodeo...meaning I have tried blogging before. About three years ago I was on MySpace, and tried the blog thing on that format. Needless to say, it didn't go well...

Fast forward to today, and now I'm all excited about blogging! Why, you may ask? Well, because I was inspired by two wonderful bloggers, who are my best friend and her sister!

Now, about my first entry...

It occurred to me that our culture is full of examples of oral tradition...telling stories, sharing funny past experiences with each other, and sound bites on TV are all examples of how we have never let go of our oral traditions. I can't count how many times my best friend and I have told, and retold stories. Do I already know what she's going to say? Of course I do! It's our brain umbilical cord that transcends time and space, but that's for another blog. Do I love hearing her tell, and retell, stories? Hell yeah! She has a fantastic way of weaving words, and saying things in her own voice. I could tell the story just as easily as she does, but my style is completely different from hers. And then there is the matter of our comedic timing....we riff off each other. It's bizarre...funny...and comforting all at the same time. And, depending on the listener, scary....just ask our husbands!

What I'm trying to get at is MY oral tradition. My friends and I share a history together that can only be captured when we get together and hash, and re-hash, our mutually shared experiences. Some are serious, some are funny, and some could get us misdemeanors in most states, but they all serve one purpose. These stories are an instant connection amongst people who may interact daily, or rarely see each other. It is that familiar connection that makes it easy to slip back into the rhythm of friendship....without missing a beat.