I just got this e-mail from Hollis: "Hey, loser!! You're supposed to write my column!! I'm here on a goddamn well-earned vacation worrying about your ass being off on a goddamn Ellen DeGeneres gay-ass fucking faux camping trip, like you're really gonna fucking camp, and no WORD about my column that you're supposed to write. It's due tomorrow!! You have to e-mail it to me!! 900 words!"
Here's what I have to ask: Is this what I have to put up with for being the bitch's loyal and trusted handler? Sometimes I wonder why I put up with her! I even continue to "dog-and-pony" with her out to Cali-fucking-fornia to help move along this movie deal with Laura Dern. It's not like I get a paycheck. I swear to God and Oprah, this is crossing the line. Period.
I've joked with Lary that Hollis will one day call and she'll say "Where are you? Let's get coffee." And I'll say to her, "Hollis, I can't," and she'll say, "What's up, are you OK?" And I'll say, "I'm OK, but my mom just died in a horrible accident, I found out I've got a malignant brain tumor and my daughter has been missing for two weeks," and still Hollis will break in to say, "Cool, so we're fine for coffee, then? I don't have anything to do for the next 12 minutes, so I'll meet you at JavaVino, we haven't been there in a while, I'm just leaving Sam's Club right now. Grant? Are you still there? Wait! Never mind, I can't, I forgot I have to be in Nicaragua by 4 o'clock! Sorry! Bye! Feed my cats, I've got to go!"
I asked Lary the other day, "Why do we put up with her?" Lary, in his astute, pre-gay state, surprised me by saying that the reason he keeps her in his life is that she's one of the only people who appreciates him even in the crazy, fucked-up state he's in.
"She laughs at my jokes, she appreciates my perspective," he said. "Seriously, Grant, how often is it that I can find someone who accepts me as I am, and will laugh at my life, all without judgment or being embarrassed by me?"
Lary? Is that you? Is this "the Lary" that I have great respect and admiration for? He had actually thought about it and had come to a conscious decision that Hollis' positives outweigh her negatives. Fuck-me-Evelyn! I realized then that I was stupidly focusing on what a pain in my flat ass Hollis is, as opposed to the positives she brings into my life.
This is what I love about Lary. He doesn't ever say what you'd expect Lary to say. His brain shoots things out through his mouth before he realizes what he's said. I truly thought Lary would jump on my anti-Hollis bandwagon and we'd sit and dog that bitch the rest of the afternoon, like we usually do.
Since that day, millions of reasons why I love Hollis in my life keep shooting out of my brain. We laugh together, we cry together, and we dream together. We hope together, we say "fuck it" together, we accept the changing fate of our lives together. We even travel well together (except when she ignores simple driving directions). Hollis and I connect on the joy of parenting our girls, on similar struggles with our exes. In short, we have great history. Plus, this shit's been going on for 10 damn years and there is no end in sight.
I've realized this is life. This is what love is about, and this is exactly where I've gone astray in former relationships in my life. I've jumped on my "anti-whomever bandwagon" and was too proud and stubborn to get off. I've lost a lot of important people, places and things in my life and I've (too easily) perfected the art of starting over, as opposed to facing the task of accepting friends, jobs, family and places with all their unique and lovably unlovable flaws.
As hard as this is to say, I am grateful Hollis is in my life. She has accepted my blossoming into whoever the hell I am today, with all of my lovably unlovable flaws! My flat-ass, barrel-chested slacker self, a misguided creative who simultaneously calls himself "Sister Louisa" and the "happiest man alive." She celebrates my bizarre style, is in awe of my scattered diversions, tries to emulate my compulsive buying and selling (of whatever I happen to be buying and selling), tells me the truth about my ever-changing physical appearance, and respects my bent beliefs concerning religion and spirituality. Hollis doesn't think it's weird that I name my cars. She believes in me even when I question myself. She leaves me the fuck alone when I need to be left alone, and she is selflessly there in times when I have needed her desperately.
Damn it, listen to me! What am I saying? I think I'll keep that bitch in my life, and if she can't use this tirade as her column then she'll get off her fat ass in the damn Jamaican islands and write it her own damn self.
Hollis Gillespie is an NPR commentator and author of two acclaimed memoirs. To register for her writing workshops, visit www.hollisgillespie.com.