She was the sweaty brunette who always took my elliptical. I was the sweaty blond who always took her elliptical. And as we secretly cursed each other when one of us got to the machine before the other, neither of us had a clue how many more things we had in common until we talked about dogs.
I think it was last February. Shari was driving out of the gym parking lot at the same time as me. I saw dogs in her car and I thought she couldn’t be all bad if she liked dogs. So the next time I saw her at the gym, I asked her about her dogs. We’ve been friends ever since.
What feeds our friendship and makes our conversations so interesting week after week is our growing list of similarities. I’ve already mentioned the sweaty workout and dogs. We’re both middle children from large families. We’re only a few years apart in age meaning we experienced the ‘80s in similar ways. She has wrist issues, I have wrist issues. Her dad owned a store that she worked in as a kid. My dad owned a store that I worked in as a kid. We grew up in small towns. We were both cheerleaders. Our mothers share similar traits. We’re afraid of heights, take the same thyroid medicine, and we wear mouth guards at night because we grind our teeth.
It was Shari who suggested I write to the Oprah show when she saw the announcement on their website and it was Shari who kept me sane in Chicago. While there, we also discovered two more things we have in common: a love of room service and limo rides. (click on the photo to enlarge)
What really seals our friendship is our love of words and writing. Shari is a writer, in a different vein than me, and I asked her if she’d be a contributing writer on my blog, like Val and my brother Marty. She was a little reluctant at first, thinking, like many of us self-doubting writers, that she had nothing interesting to say. I understood her concern. It’s one thing to be assigned an article to write on a topic outside yourself. Those are safe and predictable things to write. It’s a completely different beast to be asked to write about whatever you want to write about. I know my blogs aren’t always appealing to everyone, but I’ve learned to trust my inner voice and to use my blog as a springboard for other writing.
I think Shari’s is a voice many of you will appreciate. I’ll stop talking now so you can visit her site: Shari’s Writing Page.