Thursday, December 4, 2008

Requiem for a dreamer

In which our Diva remembers a friend gone too soon, and refuses to gnash her teeth

Penguins and Johnny Cash. La Femme Nikita and Britney Spears. Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the Facts of Life theme. Abby's eccentric body of fannish music videos certainly doesn't say everything about her by any means, but somehow it seems like the right place to start.
I'm not the first to say I don't remember for sure when I first met her in person, though I'm fairly sure it was before MediaWest*Con in '98, with her attitude-dripping Cordy impersonation in our Buffy skit for the masquerade, and the chorus of beep beep beeps warning bystanders every time she backed up her chair. If that was the first time, it didn't feel like it, as so often happened with Sunnydale Slayers or FORKNI-L folks. As Merlin Missy so eloquently reminds us in her newest column, the bonds in the fandom community are about far, far more than our shared love of a show or book series or movie.

I don't remember the name of the author or the book that introduced the notion of modern Western women forming "tribes," or which of the Horsechicks of the Apocalypse pointed it out as applying to us. My "tribe" is around the intersection of college friends, fandom, and acting, with the Horsechicks a solid chunk of it. When apocalyptic designations were being claimed (I'm still not sure how I got away with Madness all to myself!), Abby dubbed herself the Stable Girl. And for all that she was rightfully known for her wicked and wacky humor, occasionally leading to the nickname being altered to (Un)Stable Girl, she was about as stable as it got. That sense of perspective -- not that the "little things" never bothered her, or that she didn't gripe about them once in a while, but she knew how to keep them in their place. As an old Reader's Digest anecdote I dimly remember put it, she knew the difference between a problem and an inconvenience. (Check out the articles she and her mom wrote following the Apocalypse that descended upon Las Vegas to celebrate the 30th birthday everyone once assumed she'd never see.) And a problem had to be a real problem to qualify, and the inconveniences just weren't worth energy that was better spent elsewhere. We should all be so wise.

That double meaning of "Stable Girl" led to a ridiculous mental cartoon image I've had for years, of the whole giggling gaggle of us piled in an inverted human pyramid on her chair, careening through an unsuspecting crowd, possibly in the dealer's room at a con. (It's only the number of passengers that's ridiculous in that scenario. Just ask Perri.)

Like others, I see her now, standing tall, striding strong, dancing as she always dreamed. But I have to think she also has the fastest, most maneuverable, most badass hot-rod of a power chair EVER to play with sometimes. Just for fun. And an excuse to beep.

"And then Teal'c took off his shirt."

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