Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Friend Hoarder.

**Warning: Totally nonmedical and random post ahead.**

organized hoarding

 Have y'all ever seen one of those shows about the people who hoard stuff?  You know. . .the ones with things stacked all the way up to the ceiling and who constantly shop and bring new stuff INTO their house without ever taking anything out?

Well, have you?

Dumb question. . .of course you have. Even if you had every intention of turning the channel, you know you've watched and gasped and OMG'd at those shows before. You stared at the television like it was some kind of dreadful train wreck rubbernecking at the tiny little walkways between those enormous stacks of clothes, trash, or just stuff. Oh, and if you haven't seen one of those shows? It only means you don't have cable--which is a whole different subject for a whole different time.


Since most of you have seen the hoarding shows, you know that there's a few different types of hoarding people. There's the shop-til-you-drop ones who keep buying clothes or knick-knacks until they overtake the entire house. Then there are the folks who, for whatever reason, simply don't throw any trash out. Garbage and old food stacks all over and leads to an overwhelming stench that neighbors eventually smell and call the authorities about.  Of course there are the pet hoarders--and these episodes are seriously so disturbing that I won't even describe any of it further.

So at this point I'm sure you are wondering--what the HELL is the point of this post anyway?

Stay with me. I'm going somewhere.

So here's a question--isn't there a little mini-hoarder in us all? I mean. . . look. . . I'll come clean right here and now and tell you that I am definitely an email hoarder. Baby, I have emails from President Obama back when he was still Senator Obama. And worse? I think I even have a few emails saved from before I was married. Bananas, I know.

See, like the folks on those television shows, I had a traumatic event that triggered my electronic hoarding problem. Once someone swore to me that they hadn't promised me something that I was sure they had over email.

I dug and dug through my emails and finally--hallelujah--found that lonely little message. Clear as day, the dude said, "Sure, Kim! Would be glad to do it!"


So quietly. . .I have not deleted a single email since 2006. Okay, maybe that's an exaggeration. But seriously? I don't think my inbox has been at zero since, like, 2007. (I ain't lyin'.)

But I digress. . . .

That brings me to the subject of this post. . . my sister, JoLai.  JoLai.  Oh, my dear, dear sister JoLai.

Let's see. JoLai? Um, she's pretty much awesome.  In fact, to help you fully understand how great she is, I will share with you this quote from Harry regarding JoLai:

"Anyone who has a problem or an issue with JoLai is an automatic asshole."

(What can I say? The dude is rough around the edges.)

Anyways, this is because JoLai is the easiest person to get along with of all time. And for this reason, she is a friend to everyone. She is also the person that I have now affectionately dubbed. . . wait for it. . .wait for it. . . .


Because she is! She so, so is! I mean it when I tell you this. . . .my sister hoards friends.  It's officially hoarding because JoLai brings friends in and never gets rid of them. She's not a "trashy" hoarder. . .she's more like that photo above. . .where everything is neatly organized and categorized. Yeah, that's how she hoards her friends. As a matter of fact, she'll keep your friends, too--even the ones that you lose touch with.  Crazy!

Yeah man.

So check it. . . most of it has to do with just how likable she is. I mean, seriously--JoLai is like this person who curiously has achieved the most perfect mix ever of coolness, nerdiness, fun-to-hang-out-with-ness, sports-lover-ness, cultural competency-ness, thoughtfulness, malleable-ness and magnetic personality-ness such that anyone and everyone who gets to know her at some point wants to keep her as a friend. Forever.  No, I'm not exaggerating. The friendships are always reciprocated. Forever.

She's the one who takes me for those fancy L.A. pedicures.

Hold up.

Let's be clear here. It's not like JoLai is stalking people and forcing herself upon them. Not at all. She simply has this way of keeping her finger on everyone's pulse and knowing how even the most remote people from the most RANDOM times in our lives are doing. And not in that cursory way, either. She really has spoken to them and really knows. How. They are. Doing.

Case in point:

Last month, JoLai had a big 40th birthday bash. It was in her backyard, and was complete with the most awesome deejay ever, a taco truck (very popular in Los Angeles by the way) and even a bartender. It was relaxed and fun and . . . .seriously? FULL of people from literally every stage of our lives.

Kind of like Facebook on steroids.

JoLai and college pal, Marla--who flew in from Houston.

Let's start with the deejay.  When I was in 9th grade, I had a crush on this guy from this family/kid organization we were in called Jack and Jill.  Although my crush never became anything, I'd occasionally run into him over the years because he became a fairly popular deejay while we were growing up. But the last time I saw him? Like. . . uhh. . .let's see. . . 1992 maybe?

Okay, so turns out that the deejay thing eventually became his livelihood, and he is totally an "it guy" for parties in and around L.A.  I overheard my sister saying that "the deejay" would be arriving to set up--and then she said this guy's name--DeVoux--which isn't a name like "Keith" or "Jeff."

I was floored. "DeVoux? As in from like 9th grade Jack and Jill DeVoux?" I asked incredulously.

"Oh, yeah! That's my buddy!" she said.

Anyways. . . . .unlike me, she remained friends with him over the years. . .and of course he was her deejay. Of course he was.

A few weeks ago, JoLai was at a different party and sent me this picture:

Does that make you crazy? Possibly.

Ummm, yes. That would be Cee-Lo Green. As in "the EFF YOU song" Grammy-winning guy. Turns out that she was at a party with a friend of hers who. . . uuuhhhh. . . was also from our 1980-something Jack and Jill days. Well this old friend just happens to be a stylist to the stars, and JoLai, of course, has not only stayed in touch with her, but is a good friend, too. So naturally she invited JoLai, the least starstruck and least pretentious person ever, to hang out with her and all of the freakin' members of that hit show "The Voice" for their wrap party.

JoLai and Shawn B., stylist to the stars (and friend from J and J back in the day!)

Of course she did.

Her and the (mutual) friend that I, literally, had not seen or spoken to since like eleventh grade.

Speaking of which. Let me get back to the blasts-from-the-pasts that I saw at her party. . . . . a girl from kindergarten, a bunch of kids from the magnet school we were bussed to in 5th to 8th grade, girls from our cheerleading squad, my high school sweetheart--LITERALLY (aka "Cute Boy"), her best friends from elementary and high school, a bunch of people that went to college with us, law school friends of hers, work colleagues. . . . you name it, they were there.  And. She was still down with them. And you know what? They were down with her, too.

JoLai with bff since 9th grade, Stacy. Still goin' strong.

Wait, y'all--even my homegirl Bernetta from across the street that used to double dutch with me all day and braid our hair and put tinfoil on the ends.

It was bananas.  Bananas!

The girl has remained friends with E-VER-Y-one.

Now seeing as I am the only human being who isn't on Facebook, all of this was just way too exciting for me. And seeing as I am no where near as good as she is about maintaining contact with people from certain seasons past, all night it was like this for me:

Me and Carla--my Varsity Cheer pal from the Class of '88!

Dude. It was like some kind of crazy time warp. For reals.

And as nice as it was to see me, her older sister,  every person I saw said, "Oh, you know I couldn't miss JoJo's party!"

Seriously? Seriously.

I mean. . . yes. I have some old friends. But not like JoLai. With one very tiny and completely understandable exception, I cannot think of a single person that she has "drifted apart" from or completely fallen out with.  It's amazing.

Man. Y'all had to see this party. I wish I could put it into words better.  And for real, this is not because of Facebook, either. JoLai was hoarding friends long before there was a Facebook or MySpace in existence. Ask her about anyone--ANYONE--and she will know their whereabouts.

"What ever happened to ol' boy that use to go with ol' girl?"

"Oh, they just had triplets! Let me show you the picture!"

"What about ol' dude from seventh grade who used to wear those thick glasses?"

"Oh, him? He texted me this morning and said he was so sad he couldn't come. I had forgotten that his daughter's Bat Mitzvah is this weekend. Remind me to get her something, okay?"

His daughter's Bat Mitzvah?  Like really? This is no exaggeration.

There have been some instances where drama just makes it impossible for me to keep up with folks. Yet. . .somehow. . .in all of this. . .she averts drama. Like you'd think that with all of these friends stacked up all over her heart that she'd be having to coddle them or deal with their quirks, right? Wrong. For whatever reason, people put their quirks on ice for JoLai. They keep all their crazy at home and give her the best version of themselves. (Me included.)

She's just that person that if you weren't friends with. . .you'd sure wish you were. But the best part is this--you'd never have to stand on the sidelines wanting to be her friend. She'd welcome you into the game long before it even got to that point. That's just how she rolls.

Honestly, I used to marvel at her ability to maintain ties with people so much that it became envy. Eventually (and quickly) I got over that and just realized that this is just who she is. And though I do hold on tight to my fair share of people, there are admittedly some that I honestly couldn't name if my life depended upon it. Some of whom were once every day fixtures during different stages of my life. Eh. This may be represent pathology or some quirk of my own, but oh well. 
So. . .  there you have it. The story of why I call JoLai the "friend hoarder." And the explanation for why I'm not on Facebook. . . because who needs a Facebook account when you have a JoLai?

JoLai. . . the best friend ever.

If it sounds remarkable, that's because it is.  Oh. And if she sounds remarkable, too?  It's because she is.  
Damn, she is.

Scenes from JoLai's 40th Birthday Magic Carpet Ride. . . . 

JoLai and our homegirl, Kelly W. The baby sister of my childhood best friend!
All grown up!
Bernetta -- head of the original neighborhood drillteam and hair salon

Friends since 4th grade. Oh, and she lives in D.C.--not L.A.
My very first real boyfriend--in the dark jacket. (Still friends with Jo.)
First cousin flew in from Dallas--had to be there for JoLai, too.
This was before it really got crowded!
JoLai's BFF Stacy on left and that's DJ DeVoux on the right.
Far left, a friend I haven't seen in literally 25 years. Center, the infamous Bernetta.
Everyone loves Jo!
Including our cousin, Brian, who had to be there, too.
Work friends were there, too.
Old friend Inga from fifth grade on the left, new friend Claudine on the right.
More old friends had to be there for JoLai.

I'm still tripping off of seeing this guy!

(JoLai only knows cute guys.)
Oh, and this cute guy? That would be her man. See, told you.

This night a deejay (who happens to be a friend) saved her life. . .

She sure has a lot of gorgeous friends, right?
Here with our big sis, Deanna!

(She's also an awesome auntie!)

Ah hah.

While looking at these pictures, I just figured it out.  JoLai brings out the best in people and makes them like themselves more. This is why she draws people to her light.  And this is why once they get to her light, they don't want to go home.

Ah hah.

Happy Sunday.

Now playing on my mental iPod. . . . .TLC's "What about your friends?" 
(a question that no one will EVER ask JoLai. . . )


  1. Wow. I feel like I should know JoLai. Or wish I did! Happy Birthday to your dear sister -- it was wonderful to read of your sister's love for her friends and your love for her!

  2. How does she do it? Because that kind of loving-connection takes work and energy. You can't just collect friends and keep them lined up in the closet. Or even on the mantle. She must be a truly giving, truly loving person.
    Not unlike you, dear sister. Y'all just do it in different ways.

  3. Your sister seems awesome! Happy Birthday JoLai!

    A Fellow Meharrian,

  4. I know I only spent about an hour in her orbit... but I get it!

  5. Elizabeth -- Now you do know her. :)

    Ms. Moon -- Yes, she is giving, truly loving person. She really, really is.

    Maria -- Thanks, Maria! Glad knowing I have a fellow Meharrian in my blog neighborhood! :)

    Lisa aka Bob's Mom -- Recall that she's the one who schlepped me to Beverly Hills for our little blog-girlfriend quasi-blind date! Yes, you get it. She's half woman, half amazing. Thanks!

  6. How can I convince your mom and dad to adopt me? Having sisters like you would be a real dream come true. :)

    Happy (belated)Birthday to your sister JoLai! May her light shine ever more brightly for countless happy and healthy years to come.

  7. i left you a comment earlier but i don't see it. did blogger eat it? sigh. it's been happening a lot. i wanted to say happy birthday to your sister, and to tell you that you have that magical energy, too.

  8. Wow!!! Miz, you sure do know how to make a girl feel special!

    Thanks to everyone for the happy birthday wishes. It was a special, magical night made even more special with my big sisters there to share it with me.

    Kimberly paints such a glowing picture of me, which embarrasses me, but she's right. I'm a total friend hoarder. Sometimes it's probably not such a great thing, because everyone isn't meant to be in your life forever. But my party was one of those times I was glad to be a friend hoarder. I had friends I had known since birth side by side with friends I had met a month ago. That's just how I roll :-)

    For those who ask how I manage to maintain friendships so long? I'm not sure how I do it... but I started out with 3 best friends right out of the gate. My brother & 2 sisters have always been my 3 best friends, and they will always be my best friends. They are truly the foundation for everything I hold dear when it comes to being a friend. I don't take their friendships for granted (even though we're related.) I work on my relationships with them, and I work on my friendships with others the same way.

    Thanks again for the kind words!
    JoLai (aka, The Friend Hoarder)

  9. Well KD I know this post was about JoLai but as one of the people that you have kept in your life, you sure are an amazing friend as well.

    Love ya,

    Sherrese aka ade's wife and Morgan's mom (I spell these things out because you have been friend throughout all of the major events in my life! I am so thankful for you!)

  10. WCD -- Yes, my sisters rock!

    Angella--that is so weird! I am pretty sure I saw that and then it disappeared. So, so weird. Thanks for coming on back and re-commenting. By the way, I am in love with your New Orleans pictures!

    Biz--Yes, baby. All of it is true. You are the original friend hoarder. Please keep me in the collection!

    ReRe-- Waaaaahhh! Yes, girl! Yes! You know I love me some Team Heyliger--all day every day. I know how busy you are and am deeply touched that you read this blog. *sniffle* Yes, you are one that I have kept and won't ever let loose. :)

  11. As I read this entry, I was pointing at you (KDM) and thinking, "Yeah, what she said." LOL.

    Joski ROCKS!! And whoo wee, that party was crunkalicious from the live-wire-musical beginning to the pudding-shot-laden, Inglewood Police turn-it-out ending.

    I'm still recovering, LOL!!

  12. :) she is the most selfless, generous, connected, gracious friend! And I am grateful to say that I know and love her. And the party was OFF THE CHAIN! WOOOT WOOOT!


"Tell me something good. . . tell me that you like it, yeah." ~ Chaka Khan

Related Posts with Thumbnails