This blog entry isn't really about a New Thing I just did. It's actually about a New Thing I do all of the time. That might sound like an oxymoron. How can you do the same New Thing more than once? After the first time you've done it, it ceases to be a New Thing. But not this New Thing. No, this New Thing just gets more and more new every time it gets done.
But before I explain what it is, I need to give you a little backstory.
In the spring of '99, I went to the Carnegie Melon Leagues at a hotel in Burbank. Leagues are basically this thing that Carnegie Melon does (several other schools do it to) to showcase their graduating seniors for agents and managers and casting directors. In the fall of '98, I had studied in London, where I met my friend Sian, who was from Carnegie Melon, and so when she came out to LA for Leagues, I went to check it out and see her and give her my support, and she introduced me to several of her friends who I had heard about while we were in London, and when I met her friend Brigid, we hugged each other hello and it was one of those awesome, really fantastic, I-wanna-hug-you-again-and-I-wanna-do-it-right-now kinda hugs. When Brigid and I separated, we looked at each other and ackowledged that we had just had a truly amazing moment. I'm sure we said something like "wow," or "that was a really great hug," or "where have you been my whole life and why haven't I hugged you before?" Later that evening, as we said goodnight to each other, Brigid and I made a promise to each other:
"Never forget the hug," we both said.
And then we didn't see each other again. I can't remember if Brigid moved to New York for awhile, or if she stayed out here--but Sian moved to New York, and Sian was our bridge, so to speak, so even if Brigid was out here in LA, for whatever reason, we weren't in each other's circles and we never saw each other.
Until this one random day. Like, a year later. I had just finished eating dinner at Fred 62's on Vermont Ave. and as I was walking to my car I saw her standing on the street, talking with some friends. I immediately recognized her as the girl who I'd had the really great hug with a year earlier, but I'm not sure I remembered her name. (In fact, I'm really bad with names in general, so I'm pretty certain I didn't remember it.) (Sorry, Brigid.) (But I don't think she remembered my name either, so we're even.) I think I spent about thirty seconds debating whether I should approach her or not because what if my memory was playing tricks on me and this wasn't the girl who I'd had the great hug with? Finally I decided it had to be her. Probably. Most likely. Definitely. But I didn't remember her name, and I didn't want to just walk up to her and be, like, "hey...you!" So I walked up to her and said:
"Never forget the hug."
And Brigid looked at like me a deer in headlights. Her mind was racing. I don't think she recognized me, but the phrase immediately opened up a drawer in her memory banks and even if she didn't quite remember the hug (though I'm sure she did), she definitely remembered that she wasn't supposed to forget it. All of these thoughts were going through her head and then suddenly it all clicked and we hugged again and we promised we would "never forget the hug where I came up to Brigid on the street and reminded her never to forget the hug we'd had a year earlier."
That was the beginning of our friendship. Now, every single time we see each other, we make sure to have a good hug. A strong hug. A long hug. A hug worth remembering. And then we'll name the hug. Like, we'll remind each other never to forget "the hug on the streetcorner in the middle of the night" or "the hug where we were both sitting and Erik's breath smelled like garlic" or "the sideways hug in the kitchen at the party we were both late to." Things like that. We try to define each hug, to mark it, to make it an occasion. To make it New.
Since this is My Year of New Things, I just wanted to pay a little bit of tribute to this ever-evolving, always New, always as different as a snowflake, hug thing.
I understand that I can't count each individual New Hug that Brigid and I share this year as a New Thing (because that would get ridiculous), but I feel like I can count it once this year, so the other day, when Brigid and I saw each other and promised to "never forget the hug that soothed Brigid after she almost got into a car accident," well, that was my New Thing #47.
P.S. I should have washed the bottom of my foot before I posed for the photo at the top of this post.