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  • Writer's picturekerrieonward

Happy Happy, Joy Joy

Updated: Jun 15, 2021

I met Joy Roth almost 20 years ago in Oakland, CA via Craigslist, which was (and may still be) the go-to means of doing business and living life in the Bay Area, including making new friends. Fresh from Los Angeles and completely friendless in Oakland, I had posted an ad on CL, looking for people to go mountain biking with. Joy responded. We went mountain biking. We became friends.

Joy is the kind of person I've always wanted to be. She is so comfortable with herself, and I mean she is truly just happy with who she is. (Unheard of in my world.) I've never seen a glimmer of insecurity in her. She is always up for adventure. If an opportunity pops up to spend a long weekend (yes, 3 days) in Brazil or London or wherever in the Universe, away she'll go. She can walk into a room of strangers and emerge as one of the family. She is calm and measured. She is kind and modest and non-judgemental. She is Chinese. She is Jewish. She is a geologist, a wife, a mom, a cat lover, a red-eye taker, a bassist, an around-the-world liver, a runner, a mountain biker, a mountain climber, and a music lover. In the roller derby arena, she is GI Joy.

She is never tired.

Joy and her husband (Ryan), daughter (Mali), and kitty (Sally) hosted me and Henry in Houston, TX. I arrived with Stevie in tow, carefully navigating the residential neighborhood street, trying my best not to damage someone's BMW or run over a trash can, and pulled up in front of Joy's beautiful home. She came out, gave me a hug, and got busy with guiding duties as I backed the trailer into her narrow gated driveway.

Backing a trailer is never easy. Guiding someone who is backing a trailer isn't easy either. In my experience, the backing and the guiding can lead to irritation and frustration and anger and cursing and yelling and "You can go f*ck yourself!" and "Oh yeah! You can go f*ck yourself too!" Joy doesn't mind doing things that aren't easy. Together, we got the trailer parked just right in the driveway with no raised blood pressure. She is the perfect partner.

She and her family generously allowed us to camp in their driveway and suck off their power, so that we could run the air conditioner, which was an absolute necessity for me and Henry, given the heat/humidity combination, even though I was told enumerable times that it's not yet hot season in Texas.

Side-street note: You people have to understand that I've been cultivated to live in a negative humidity climate. I'm a desert. My once-a-year bloom suffocates in humidity. I might drown in the air of the South.

Joy did invite us to stay inside her house. The guest room was all made up. Spacious and lovely, with its own porch (with a ceiling fan!). But, I decided to keep us and our mess contained within Stevie. Joy fed me kimchi chicken (super fab) and all sorts of fruits and veggies and beer. She made sure I was cooled with iced water. She brought out maps and books, so that we could look at things and talk about stuff. We went for a long walk. We went for a bike ride. We hung out, and it was great.

She was never annoyed when my introvert came out and I needed to go in.

Before I left, Joy gave me contact information for people she knows who live in the direction I'm headed, others I might be interested in meeting. She is extra thoughtful like this. She also let me select several roller derby jerseys (worn in actual roller derbies) that are in need of a new home. As if her days of hospitality weren't enough, she sent me off on my final morning with a Houston t-shirt and extra air in Stevie's tires.

If the rest of my adventure goes to hell, just seeing Joy will have made it more than worth it all.

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1 Comment

Jun 02, 2021

How does Joy do it all? I need her in my life!

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