When Bari was in grad school she could never hang out with my friends (or hers, even) or make it to parties. She was just one of those hardcore studiers, and I admired her for it. But sometimes I wondered if people believed I really had a girlfriend. Somewhat self-consciously, I began referring to her as my Snuffleupagus girlfriend, after Big Bird’s friend who mysteriously disappeared every time anyone else was around.
Bari is slightly more accessible these days, although this particular fall she will be doing a lot of traveling for work. Perhaps as a concession—and to give me something to do while she’s gone besides watch reality shows—she finally gave me her blessing to blog about her. Until now you may or may not have noticed that I’ve mentioned her only in very abstract terms. She was a little wary about being on the web, and since my blog is totally world famous, that seems understandable. This is a girl who carefully tears the address labels off her magazines before she recycles them—and we’re talking Newsweek, not Hustler here. It’s just one of my love’s charms. But the result of her blog-related caution was a little…well…Snuffy-esque.
A few (okay, probably 15) years back, Big Bird’s other friends—Maria, Luis, Cookie Monster, Oscar and the gang—finally met Snuffy. It was a triumph for children, sending the message that they should be listened to, that they might know something grown-ups don’t. I also like the idea that something imaginary can become real.
So, friends, meet Bari, my Snuffleupagus girlfriend. Tomorrow I’ll post her social security number.