I met Tullia in 2004 in grad school, back when I was quite young and she was already well on her way to 40. I instantly knew that I’d found a gem of a human being and desperately wanted to be friends. She was well known in grad school for her infuriating brilliance and utter indifference to everyone around her — the type who ignored deadlines yet always had professors falling over themselves to compliment her. She once wrote a midterm paper using Wilson Phillips lyrics simply to prove that she could. My attempts at friendship repeatedly fell flat, whether purposefully ignored or simply missed because she was napping.
Eventually, the psychological principles of “mere exposure” kicked in, and we became lifelong (TBD) friends. She has introduced me to bands before they were cool, made me laugh until I cried, and attracted awkward shenanigans like no one else. Along the way, I’ve witnessed her overcome a number of hardships — and I’m not just talking cats defiantly blocking doorways — and accomplish truly amazing feats, like earning a PhD and starting her own business. Rule breaker, trail blazer, style icon, hipster clown… it’s all true. Here’s to 39, Tul-face.
(Tullia pictured below gracing the “city” of Ottawa with her presence. Age 31.)