Today was my once a month visit to see Pam at the Hair Salon. Which is exactly what she says when she leaves a phone message for me – Hi, this is Pam from the Hair Salon. I’ve told her a million times over the last 15 years that she is the only Pam I know and that she doesn’t have to say the “from the hair salon” part. But like a good Michigan-trained, but Georgia-livin’ hair butcher, she refuses.
On my way home from the salon (where owner Allison and I discussed the benefits of 1/2 length sleeve shirts and sweaters while I had my eyebrows waxed) I was trying to gain momentum as I merged onto an I-75 South uphill entrance ramp. I hit the turbo button on the 2003 bare bones Ford Ranger. And when I say bare bones, I mean a stick shift with an 11-year old clutch, an AM/FM radio that plays NPR through an antenna topped by a pigtailed smiley face cowgirl head, a passenger seat after-factory (as in bought at Target for $1.00) bitch mirror, and hand crank windows. Oh, and when I say “turbo button”, what I really meant was that I turned the AC knob to off. This gave the barely 4-cylinder wheelbarrow of a truck some temporary oomph.
As I tried to merge, a monster yellow Hummer ignored me and wouldn’t let me in. So I slowed just long enough to let him pass while I allowed myself to become momentarily mesmerized by his set of spinning rims (or is it wheels? I’m not anywhere cool enough to know). Then, predictably, a Prius let me in. When it later passed me, I gave the woman a friendly wave and then I saw that the personalized license plate read “Gina”.
I should have known. Of course it was Gina. Gina has been on my good side lately.
It started several months ago with Gina the overnight security guard at the Georgia Public Broadcasting (GPB) Studios. Twice per month I show up there at 5:00AM to record my half hour segment of the Financial News. Okay, so my show doesn’t actually air on GPB but it does get played over the Georgia Radio Reading Service frequency for our state’s blind and visually or reading impaired listeners.
Okay, back to Gina. For having been up all night, she is the most bubbly, talkative, sweet, smiling person ever to grace a security desk before the dawn of crack, I mean the crack of dawn. She compliments my hair, tells me it’s good to see me, helps me when I can’t recall the access code to the recording studio and always remembers my name (oh wait, I sign in each time so it may be that she looks at the log – but that’s okay, she actually USES my name).
The next Gina I encountered was the Deputy Commissioner of Civil Marriages for our wedding. What a class act. She treated us with respect and kindness and she didn’t seem troubled at all that we were two women there to get hitched. She made small talk, told us she had a sister by the same name as Doc. B. (which made me wonder if she also had sisters named Tina, Lena, Deena, and Marina) and didn’t seem to mind when my nerves caused me to incorrectly fill out some paperwork. And since I am a born-to-be-government-employee, who loves to fill out paperwork, you know my nervousness must have been getting the best of me.
Then, last month, my fellow blogger Sally (who I have never met but love her writing and insight) described her friend Gina as: “the one who enthusiastically accepts my most spontaneous invitations with touching appreciation, kindness, enthusiasm, and support. My friend Gina who thinks the best of me, who thinks I am better than I am.” When I read that, I just smiled.
With my Ford Ranger tires, not spinners, rotating around the Gina’s of the world, I’m thinking I better try out Gina’s Pizza and Deli when I go home to Michigan in August for my one-month-until-I-turn-50, go-home-to-mamma-and-get-treated-like-a-princess-for-a-week celebration.
And since I probably won’t ever be able to get into Marshall, Michigan’s own Dark Horse Brewery for a mug of Crooked Tree IPA because of their new television show, I might as well drive the 15 minutes east of town to Albion and check out Gina’s Pizza. Note: Dark Horse Nation airs on the History Channel at 10:00PM on 7/2/14.