Wednesday, December 8, 2010 turn, and I got Martha!!

We're switching things up around here. For the next couple of weeks, instead of writing about a particular topic, we're writing about each other. We've fired up the ol' randomizer and received our assignments.

How many times have I found myself talking about Martha to someone who hasn't had the pleasure of meeting her yet - and trying to find the words to describe her, failing utterly, and ending up saying "Martha is unlike anyone else I know"....?

I mean, how often do you really get to say that? Without for a minute dismissing the snowflake-like uniqueness of every human being, many of us share some characteristics. Of LGC I might say she's loyal the way my son is loyal - completely unshakably. I might compare Lisa's kindness to my own grandmother, who just couldn't see ill in anyone.

But Martha? Every experience, every interaction, goes through the Martha-filter and comes out fascinating. (Don't worry, I'm getting to the compliment part - if you haven't figured it out yet, a week and a half into this grand experience, we're all pretty much crazy about each other.) A cheeseburger, it turns out, is not the admittedly delicious assemblage of bun and meat and cheese that I've loved all these years - it is in fact a QUEST deserving of serious attention and vigorous city-scouring. A social note is not a folded piece of paper but a precise marriage of paper stock and design. A book - a book! No book is just a book; Martha can analyze and interpret and read between lines and consider the reader and discuss its merits, all without ever losing the joy of just reading it in the first place.

I love what a bundle of contradictions she is. I once borrowed a shirt from Martha to have my photo taken in. She KNOWS her tailoring, and fine fibers, and the vagaries of design, and owns impossibly beautiful pieces by designers who, of course, she knows personally. And yet - when Martha gets her hair cut she apparently tells them to get it right the first time because she won't style, flatiron, or even blowdry it. She has more important things to do.

She's marvelously self-possessed and confident - and then you discover she has this crazy little fan-girl streak that renders her nearly incapacitated in the presence of someone she admires. (But we took care of that, Pens, didn't we?)

She sees through to the core of people with laser-like precision - and then she claims she can't write emotion. (Ha! HA! That's me, scoffing.)

Remember the word I used up there - "vigorous"? Not long ago Martha met me and my daughter for lunch, since we had an appointment in the city. Afterwards we offered to give her a lift, but Martha merely slung her backpack over her shoulder and said she lived too close to need a ride. People, she lived THREE MILES AWAY. Now I know that lots of people walk or run or stairclimb similar distances for exercise, but the thing is that Martha had probably begun the day by swimming across the bay or dueling with her sensei or spearfishing or poledancing (ok, i made one of those up).

You may doubt me, but I've never seen Martha turn down an opportunity for adventure. She has this whole host of friends she knew before she met us (she's very matter-of-fact about it; her social calendar is legendary, and we have to plan things months in advance if we want her there - and trust us, we *always* want her there) - and apparently they are all foodies and fashionistas and marathon runners, and they routinely dash off to all corners of the globe to have sumptuous experiences, and we might be tempted to be a little bit jealous except that when Martha is with you, you always feel like you have 100% of her attention. Make that 120%, because it's Martha.

She has this one darling expression - my favorite, I'll confess. It's her "wheels-turning" face. Ask her anything - really! the 80th digit of pi or whether you ought to break up with that guy you're seeing or if you should get the shoes in patent or suede - and she does this one-eye-narrowed, slightly-frowny-mouth thing...and sometimes she actually *says* "hmmm..." and well, I always feel like the balance of the universe hangs on the answer. And that it'll be unimpeachably accurate.

I could go on forever, because she's *that* fascinating. I haven't even told you about martha and numbers (genius), martha and story (captivating), martha and generosity (you'd have to know her to believe me). But I could just keep writing and writing and never finish up. Let's leave it at this - I adore this woman, and I feel just a little sorry for everyone who's never met her.


Rachael Herron said...

Dude. That face you describe -- I know it SO well. And yes, she's always right. And often what she says is necessary and book/life-changing, and SO Martha.

L.G.C. Smith said...

Martha is a freakin' force of nature. A superhero. Heck, she might even be the Internet. You did a beautiful job of capturing her spirit. Being with Martha is an exhilarating exercise in shock and awe suffused with delight.

Martha Flynn said...

For some reason I was kind of dreading this (even though it has so far been so awesome) and all I have to say is thank god I don't have any feelings or I'd be bawling right now...which I'm not doing...of course. :)

And omg Lynn - the internet. You're killing me!

Unknown said...

Once again perfect...and the face, I didn't even realize the face until you described it, but you are absolutely RIGHT. :)

Okay, and LGC, with the internet, that's just about perfect too :)

Great way to start my morning!!

Juliet Blackwell said...

Couldn't agree more. Martha's one of those people who makes you think twice about your, for instance, whether certain people in the room have had certain truly dramatic, novel-worthy things happen to them. She has, and then some. And that's what makes her filter so darned interesting.

She's the kind of adult that teenagers find fascinating. And she's welcome to move in whenever she feels like it. 'nuff said.

Martha Flynn said...

just remember, Julie, that blog comments constitute a legally binding arrangement in the eyes of California state law

Juliet Blackwell said...

I'll change the sheets, but you might want to bring toilet paper.

Gigi Pandian said...

Martha is one of those people who in the abstract I feel like I should be afraid of, but in real life she's so amazing that I forget to be.

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