I know that on the mission you're not supposed to have nicknames, but some nicknames just happened in this apartment. It's not like we ever really referred to each other by these nicknames. They just existed, not to be used but to be a convenience for when I would eventually start posting my entire life on the internet for public viewing.
Today's post is about Switchback. Of all the people I served with on my mission, she's probably the one who is most like me and is most compatable with me. She was never my companion, so it's strange when I talk about her. Usually I say she was my companion for simplicity's sake. She just called me tonight and I don't think that I've talked so loudly or laughed so hard since the last time I talked to her. In fact, my throat is a little raw right now. She lives in California because she's selfish. If she had any regard for the feelings of others, she'd move to Provo.
Random Facts about Switchback:
- She was named Switchback because she used to be a bus driver for her university before coming on the mission. One of my favorite stories was when she was driving the bus and stopped at the pool bus stop but no one was there. As she was pulling away, she heard someone desperately crying, "Wait!!" Because she was a good bus driver, she waited and then the entire water polo team got onto her bus, wearing nothing more than speedos and goggles. Another favorite was when she noticed that all the people on her bus were sitting on the left side. So she got onto the PA and said, "Excuse me, but I've noticed you're all sitting on the left side of the bus. The bus will tip over. Please, half of you move to the right side of the bus." Some guy took the initiative to decide who would remain on the left side and who'd move to the right side. After half the passengers had moved, Switchback got back on the intercom and said, "Uh... I was actually joking. But that was some really good team work." She earned her name on the mission because she would always critique the performance of the Roman bus drivers. One day, as our bus was whipping quickly around some serious switchbacks, she said, "We are going to tip over! This driver is going WAY TOO FAST!"
- When we first saw a picture of her and knew that she'd be moving into our apartment, I said that she'd either be really cool or really dorky. I was right. Mostly about the really cool but partially about the dorky. But the right type of dorky.
- She was featured in an essay that won me $350.
- Her mother sent her a harmonica as a gag gift for Christmas. One day when I was sick and she was home babysitting me while our companions were out working, I learned to play her harmonica. Consequently, the only music I can play on the harmonica now are church hymns. Her most frequent request was "O God, The Eternal Father."
- She gave me the harmonica as a parting gift.
- She has the best story ever about a bag of condoms. A friend left a huge bag of condoms that she'd received at a safe-sex workshop. Switchback forgot that they'd been left in the trunk. Months later, her mother borrowed her car and found the bag of condoms. Her mother waited several days for the right moment to talk to Switchback about her habits. They went on a walk. Her mother said, "I wanted to talk to you about what I found in your car. I know what it's like to be your age, and when I was your age, I was married, so I could have sex, so I can't even imagine how hard it must be for you but I just want you to know that you're free to make your own decisions, but I just want to make sure that you're using proper protection and are safe." When Switchback finally realized that this was instigated by her mother's discovery of the bag of condoms, she explained to her mother where they came from. Her mother, gasping with relief, asked if they could just, please, throw out the bag of condoms.
- When I finally met Switchback's mom, I hugged her and told her that I think she is an outstanding mother.
Switchback, I know that you've never read this blog, nor will you ever read it. But I really miss you. Sister! Love her!