Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Llama TheoryTM

Annie has been asking me to write a post explaining The Llama TheoryTM for a while now, and with the redesign of the blog and the introduction of myself and Kate as contributors, this seems like the right time. So when we were chatting over the phone last week I asked Annie for more details about how the Theory came about.

Val: Jess is the one who came up with it, right?

Annie: Well, we both did, really, it was the two of us in the car.

Val: Oh. But, wasn’t she the one who said “You’re a llama!” first?

Annie: Well, yeah, but I pointed out that there were llamas on the side of the road.

Val: The fact that you were in the car at the time and that you noted the existence of the animal known as the “llama” does not mean you get credit for coining The Llama TheoryTM.

Annie: Hahaha! You’re right. Ok. Jess came up with it. Fine.

Begrudgingly as any older sibling with control issues, Annie admitted that The Llama TheoryTM is in fact the intellectual property of her baby sister, Jessica Croner. This magnificent brainchild was birthed on the lonely highways of Wyoming or Nebraska, or one of those states where there are sheep and llamas visible from the highway. The two sisters were on their way from Idaho to Iowa for a friend’s wedding when Annie said, “Look! Llamas!” (Well done, Annie.) And Jess said, “You know what Annie? You’re a llama!”

(From here on out I’m paraphrasing wildly as I was not actually there, but hopefully I’ll get the gist of the idea across.)

Jess continued, “Yeah! Llamas are curious and friendly and they’ll run right up to something and sniff it and want to know all about it right away, and the sheep are all moving slowly and shying away from anything strange, but llamas see a new person and they’re like, ‘Hi! I’m a llama! Do you want to be my friend?!’ That’s just like you! And me! We’re llamas!”

Later that week when the Croner women swung down from Iowa to St. Louis to see me, I was talking about how eager I am to have a community of friends again, but how so many of my friendship-making efforts have gone awry in this conservative Midwestern city because I think I have a tendency to scare people off. And that’s when Annie said, “Val! That’s because you’re a llama!” which, as you might imagine, had me thoroughly confused and wondering if I should be insulted. (Don’t llamas spit?)

But after Jess & Annie explained the theory, I was convinced. Indeed, I am a llama. I meet a person I find interesting, amiable, & fun and immediately I go into hyper-drive: “We should hang out! Wanna go to a baseball game?! Tell me your life story! Let’s play Twister! Yay, you’re my friend!!!” This strategy of making friends works REALLY WELL in kindergarten. After that, you may start running into some problems.

Nevertheless, being a llama has won me some truly awesome friendships which I wouldn’t trade for the world. And The Llama TheoryTM has given me a new way of thinking about the formation of bonds, and a new aspect of my identity to own. So, thanks, Jess, for the epic insight. Let’s get coffee sometime and discuss the theory some more. Or we could have a movie fest with popcorn and spiked strawberry shakes! Or you could just come live with me anytime you want! Cause you’re my favorite! Yay, we're friends!!!


Annie Bierma said...

Llamas are often put with sheep to scare away predators. A wolf when approached by a curious and friendly llama will run away from the odd looking creature as he is not use to such friendliness. This is true with us human llamas as well...we may intimidate a few sheep but we scare the crap out of predators...usually.

It must be said that typically llamas make quick and intimate friends with other llamas. In fact llama llama relationships tend to last a lifetime as llamas will pick up right where they left off with friends...as though they never were apart.

Also, Jessica isn't quite a llama herself but since she grew up with one (me), she is comfortable with our ways.

Michelle C said...

I can honestly say, I am not a llama. Llamas are great to have has friends because they do all the introductions for us "sheep" (I don't know if I am sheep though as I am not shy just reserved)
I really like the analogy though about the llama people.
Have a great time meeting people!