She worked a lot, unfortunately.
One day I was out with some photo majors doing gallery hopping and we ended up at a Diedrich’s Coffee. The girl behind the counter had a black baseball cap with a piece of black fabric safety pinned to the front. I asked about the patch and she moved it aside to reveal that the cap actually read “#1 DAD.” “It was the only black cap I could find,” she explained. “But I’m not a dad,” she said, then covered her face. “And I’m not #1.” My first thought was I have to know this person!
I went back later solely to talk to her and did end up becoming acquainted with her. She got the job at Diedrich’s because she once went in to nurse a hangover and was told by the manager, “you’re a lot of fun; you should work here!” She was very busy in a not-good way. The first voicemail she left for me summed it up fairly: “I’m at work. This is Ruth. All I do is work. Working is my life. Computers. Bye!” She was fun to be around but an exceedingly difficult person to locate at any given time.
She “inherited” some fencing stuff from an ENRON exec who lived across the street and gave her all his gear when his wife left him. She used it to terrorize the cat. Her family’s cat was named Axis. “As in Axis of Evil,” she said. They once set up one of those barrel-topped cat food dispensers. The cat went to the device and started eating. And ate and ate. Then it threw up and fell asleep. Some time later it woke up, ate its vomit, and started eating food again. The family realized quickly that the cat just wasn’t ready for modern technology.
Before heading out of state a couple of years ago I told her I’d call when I got back into Texas. I forgot. A year later I decided to try. We missed each other and only managed to leave a voice message. This May I decided to try again on the two year mark. I’ve talked to her no more than a few minutes at a time, which has been just enough to learn that she’s somehow more busy working than before. Last week her phone said it was disconnected. I hope she’s OK.