May 11, 2021

Julia Katherine!!

Julia Katherine!!

This week I’ve got a very special guest on the show lawyer, retired barista, and one of my sister’s best friends, Julia Katherine.
Julia and I discuss the Vancouver Island culture of making friends, learning how to speak confidently in front of sleeping judges, abandoning time limits as personal development, blue angels, and so much more!
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Transcript
James Avramenko:

Friendless is a proud member of the Saskatchewan Podcast Network which is sponsored in part by Conexus Credit Union and Directwest. My sweeties, welcome back to a brand new episode of Friendless The only podcast about how to be a better friend by unfriending everyone you know, if by you you mean me your host, James Avramenko. That's right. I'm back once again on the quest to ask what it means to be a good friend by disconnecting from Facebook one interview at a time. Did that convoluted out of nowhere? Well shit. Tough buttheads. This week, I've got a very special guest on the show. Lawyer, retired barista, and one of my sister's best friends. Julia Renouf. Julia and I discussed the Vancouver Island culture of making friends, learning how to speak confidently in front of sleeping judges, abandoning time limits as personal development, Blue Angels, and so much more. Julia is the friggin best. And you're gonna love the interview. But you don't have to take my word for it, because we're gonna jump right into the episode. So get yourself comfy, lean back. Unless you're driving, in which case focus up maybe crank that volume and enjoyed my conversation with Julia right off here on Friendless. Let me say a very warm welcome to one of the most intimidating women I know. Julia Renouf, how are you today?

Julia Renouf:

I'm good. Thanks, James. How are you?

James Avramenko:

I'm so good. I'm so good.

Julia Renouf:

No, that's that's so funny that you say that because like Lisa and I always, like when we were hanging out, we felt like big nerds and that James was cool. And James is and all those acting kids. And we're like, oh, James said this joke. It's so funny, like,

James Avramenko:

well, and that's the thing, you know, in reflection now, especially I keep on thinking back to, like, you know, that era, right that like 2005 2006 era where it was like, I don't think anyone had any self confidence at all, in like the year 2005 to about 2009 I think everyone was just like, engulfed in self loathing, you know, and, and you only realize it in reflection that it was like, Oh, no, everyone was going through that. And we were all we were, you know, we were all, we were all simultaneously the cool kid. And the nerds.

Julia Renouf:

Yeah, that's true.

James Avramenko:

So, Julia, um, why don't we start at the start with Who the hell you are, and what it is you do? Um, because, you know, obviously, we'll we'll get into a little bit more about about how we met, but I'd like to hear about what you've sort of been doing. For the last I mean, God, when was last time we even saw each other would have been maybe. Was it when we were all out east?

Julia Renouf:

Yeah. Nova Scotia probably like three or four years ago.

James Avramenko:

Yeah. Yeah. So it's been a while. It's been a while.

Julia Renouf:

Yeah. And before that, probably not since like, 2008 or so.

James Avramenko:

Exactly. That's just it there was a couple of big gaps there. Right. So yeah. So you're currently in Edmonton? Right?

Julia Renouf:

Yeah. So I'm in Edmonton. I work for a union. I mean, how we met is me going to law school with your sister. So I did, you know, work as a lawyer for a number of years. And now I'm nonpracticing. Or I guess I officially I'm in pro bono status. So I can do some volunteer legal work, but at work, it's not an official law job. But I did work in mostly criminal, like as a lawyer, mostly criminal law for about eight years and then left there went to the government forbid, and then

James Avramenko:

that's amazing. I had no idea that you had pivoted like that. Because I knew, I remember the last time we spent any extended time like in like, it probably would have been in Vancouver when we saw each other a little bit more. And you were you would always you would always have these fantastic stories about people you were defending. And you were like, yeah, so this guy was caught peeing on a tree in a park and I managed to argue it down to some like, yeah, yeah, just let him go cut arguments, you know, and I just found that so fascinating. How you

Julia Renouf:

Yeah, yeah, that's a good point. Like my very first case ever. I'm involved like, yeah, some some nudity in a park in Vancouver.

James Avramenko:

And so what got you initially into so you know, so, if we end the story with you're now you know, working with the with the, with the with the union, and if but if we were to double back to sort of how we got you there, what, what sort of attracted you to go into law school and getting kind of down that path?

Julia Renouf:

Oh, yeah, that's a, that's a tough question. So there's a few things going on. So, um, I guess one is it's kind of a desire to help people and, and also a desire to work with people, my undergrad, graduate degree within math. And, and I love math, and I still love math, I'm actually going my 2021 goal is to declutter. And a couple of weeks ago, I actually threw out most of my math notes, and it was really hard to do, and it made me want to cry. Yeah, and I've been thinking since then, like, was that a big mistake, I mean, it's already gone in the recycling, like, shit, but like, I really loved it. But I didn't want it the only thing to do with a math degree really is graduate school. And that's what most people in my program did, except the other women in the program actually went into law eventually, as well. But, but like, graduate, like, I don't have the attention span for graduate school. And, and like, I kind of thought like, Well, does it seem like a fun way to spend your day? Like, are you working with people, like, I kind of wanted a bit more activity, and they, I guess, feeling like I'm contributing to making the world a better place. And I'm not saying that, you know, like, high level math doesn't do that, but not nearly as directly as kind of like, like human rights issues or something like that.

James Avramenko:

So you're, you want to work with people? And do you go immediately out of like, from your undergrad to, to law school? Or do you take some time off,

Julia Renouf:

I did one year of kind of thinking about things. And during that year actually continued to take courses. I, I took a number of math courses and psychology courses during that year. And I worked at second cop, which was like, one of the most wonderful jobs. Um, and then yeah, during that time, I kind of thought about it, and then and then made the decision to go.

James Avramenko:

So you, you end up at law school, and you go to UVic? And is there was there something that drew you to that school? I like, I know that it was a really good Law Program. But was that the reason? or,

Julia Renouf:

um, that factored into it? Um, and I knew it was like a lefty school and that factored into it as well. But actually, I, I was basically, in making my decision. This is, this is maybe going to sound a little pathetic, but I actually thought like, Okay, if I, if I go to U of A, there's going to be a lot of people from Edmonton already there. And I don't know how easy it will be to meet people. And then I was also considering Vancouver. And I thought, okay, there's gonna be a lot of people from Vancouver there, how easy will it be to meet people and I thought, Victoria, it's going to be mostly people from away. And it's going to be really easy to make friends. So that's how I mean, my, what kind of the biggest factor was like, it will be easy to make friends.

James Avramenko:

That's a fabulous perspective, though. I love that. And I love the way that you broke it down to you. Because I think one of the things that is that so magic about Victoria, is that like, there is a population of, you know, people who are from there. And there is a population of people who grew up, but they're even, even if you took all the people who are from there. It's just it's still a little city. So it's like, there's just not that many of them just by ratio, you know. And so, there's Yeah, there's so many people who come to the island for whatever, for whatever reasons, right? And I love that, that it totally does. I've never even really clocked it, but now that you vocalize it, it's like, oh, yeah, it like really makes the culture easier to to befriend, because everybody's looking for friends, right? They're all there. You know, I remember the first day at theater school and like, everyone was kicking rocks, you know what I mean? Because like, no one knew each other. So they were all just like, Hi, will you be my friend.

Julia Renouf:

I had done my undergrad in at U of A and from Edmonton. So like, I never had been in this situation before. Well, I guess you hadn't either. But just like, I don't know who I'm going to know or, or what it's going to be like, and so it was kind of a serious concern for me at the time. And I know in hindsight, I've been I've been in lots of new situations, and I know it always works out. It's always okay. But at that time, it was quite scary.

James Avramenko:

Well, and that's such a brave choice to make to to go to the unknown place, right? It's like it's it's something that you know, it's something that only in retrospect, you realize how important and formative it becomes right? Because you know, it's a thing I remember I had a teacher years ago, he used to always have this saying that's a little cheesy, but I still spiritually like it, which is run to the roar, which is this idea of like, you should always be going towards the thing that scares you. And so in this situation, you know, you're saying like, you want to grow and you want to learn, but it's terrifying because it's a new city that you don't know. And so you you know, but you She'll go anyway. And that's what's really important is like, you know, you know, you're afraid, but you still do it. Right. And that's, and that's what ends up being, you know, this formative change for you. Right?

Julia Renouf:

And it's really yeah, that's, that's really interesting. Because like, I mean, I guess I'm naturally or like, as a child, I was extremely shy. And like, I remember like giving a presentation and undergrad and like, feeling like I was going to faint. I couldn't like everything, right, like, I couldn't do it. And then I think there's been experiences and working at second cup was a huge experience, it like, benefited that in terms of making me more social. And then, like you said, going to Victoria like, um, was, was really helpful. And now I think I'm kind of kind of turned the other way. Like, I'm still an introvert at heart, but I'm a very extroverted introvert, because I'm much more comfortable talking to people than than it was years ago.

James Avramenko:

Do you think that it's a learned skill to be able to be in front of people? Like, do you think that you know, like, because you're, you're you're, you're demonstrating that that that you've done it, but do you think that that's a skill that other people can learn? Or do you think it was something that was sort of always inside of you?

Julia Renouf:

I think it's a skill for sure. So, I mean, yeah, you might want to have a bit of desire, but I think, like, the more exposure you have to experiences where, where you kind of, you know, have to have to interact with others or do public speaking or anything like that, the better it works,

James Avramenko:

and what a and what a career in law to learn it. Right? where it's like, the stakes, in a lot of ways can not be higher. Right. If you're depending on what court you're in, right? If you're if you're public speaking in some some cases, you might have somebody's life in the balance, right? Yeah,

Julia Renouf:

the nice thing about law is usually the only person you can really see when you're talking is the judge cuz you're standing in the front, and you can just pretend there's nobody behind you. Yeah. And that's very helpful. It's actually more intimidating on a zoom call, like the way we're doing things now when, like, if you're in a hearing, and you see like nine or 12 boxes, or something like that, versus in a courtroom, you just really are focusing on the win.

James Avramenko:

Wow, that's so interesting. I didn't even think about that. And I, you know, I mean, the only I've only been in two courts in my life, and one was to watch my grandpa when he was a judge. And he would just like, and we'd sit at the back and he'd looked like he was asleep. And then the other time was when the drama department did that partnership with the law department, where I played like a, I played a witness and a made up case and the UVic team, whoever he was, I don't know, I remember, Lisa knew who he was, but he just ripped me apart. Because my character, I didn't realize this because you know, as an actor, you're only given the information you're given. Yeah. And so I didn't realize when I got on the stand that the character was built to be an unreliable witness. And so I walked in just being like, I know my story, and I'm gonna do it, and I'm gonna do so good. And I think you and Lisa were actually in the in the room too. And so, you know, I got up and he kind of like, you know, gave me a little thumbs up. And then this guy just tore me apart and just like, proved why every statement I made was a lie. And I remember getting off the stage and just being like, what happened?

Julia Renouf:

So, so it's interesting. I'm in September of 2020, was my first time I've ever been a witness myself and in a real matter, and it played. It was one where, like, I knew, like, I wasn't, you know, it's not like a murder trial or anything like that. And I knew sort of what it was about and everything like that. And I was still like, being cross examined is very hard. It's given me really hard. I mean, I already kind of had compassion for people going through that process, but going through it myself, I think even increases that further.

James Avramenko:

so Yeah, fuck I I just never ever want to be involved with the law in any capacity at any time. I don't want to be involved with cops. I don't want to be lawyers. I don't want to be involved with any of them. I just want I want that part of the world to never cross the mind. of so so. Okay, so we're at the boat. We're now I keep on derailing us I'm sorry. So we're so you've, you've joined UVic and how did you end up befriending Lisa? Is it just sort of like being in classes or

Julia Renouf:

No, no. So we actually became friends on the first day of law school. So there was first morning of the first day of law school everyone was gathered in like the large I guess, like sort of like theater type classroom. And, and she was sitting in the row behind me and I was kind of having a casual conversation with the guy next to me and I said something about like, Oh, I'm going to like look through like the catalog of like kind of classes we can take I'm interested in taking a ballet class and this girl from behind me goes like, oh, I'll take ballet class with you. and then yeah, and then at lunch to like, we went to go sign up and and we got slurpees. And like, that's it like. And it was interesting because like, you know, both being from Alberta like I think we both kind of felt like we both thought that we were, you know, pretty left wing and then when we got there and we're like, oh my god like we didn't we didn't even know what that meant with like now we feel like a couple of rednecks here in Victoria. Like, we were both very similar, like fish out of water feeling and and, um, yes, starting then like, as you know, like, by the end of the week, we had Katrina and Hillary and the four of us were became like the valet posse we took, we did end up taking belly together for that one semester. I was terrible. And

James Avramenko:

I love it. I love it. Yeah, I was gonna say, you know, so Katrina and Hillary the other the other of the the gruesome for some they are they they are actually the they may not know this yet, but they are on the list to to be future guests. But was it? Was it a similar? Was it sort of a similar thing to assemble the team of like, just happenstance of overhearing each other, or?

Julia Renouf:

I don't quite remember quite as much, but I do know that like, I think it was by the end of the first week, we were all like, sitting outside having lunch together. So my recollection it was all really fast.

James Avramenko:

Yeah, cuz I do know, like, cuz I was living with Lisa at the time. And, and yeah, I know that. It was just like, she suddenly had so many friends. And I was like, Oh, fuck, like, not because I was like, you know, that's bad, but because like, I hadn't made it yet. And so I was like, how do you do that? How do you make friends? What do you do a GB? Would you be nice? What do you have to say to them? You know, like, I didn't know. I didn't know how she did it. You know? Like, um, so that's probably that must be that must have been, I don't know the exact day or time or whatever it been. That must have been how we met would have been you like either coming over to leases or or do you remember? Like, do you remember when we met? Is there a specific time in your mind?

Julia Renouf:

I don't remember the exact day. No, but I do remember. Yeah. So So at the time, like I you like you and Lisa live together on the rainbow on Christmas? Yeah, Christmas Hill. And, and I lived closer to campus, and I shared a house with three undergraduate students and, and they were all like, they had met on the academic floor in residence the previous year. And they were all quite like academic like bed by 10. Serious and, and I kind of always felt like, Oh, I'm making too much noise for them. Or like, I didn't quite feel like that comfortable in my own place. So I was basically like, I have to live day at your apartment. But I have lots of memories of you know, we would kind of sit on the balcony smoke cigarettes. On the mattress coach, do you remember the mattress match?

James Avramenko:

Yeah, it was wasn't it? It was a blow up mattress wasn't it was a real mattress?

Julia Renouf:

And then like, I think when you're like it just kind of was the couch. And then eventually it became the balcony couch. But or the balcony. Right?

James Avramenko:

That's right. Was it not? Um, I guess we're like, it was something like it was like a flophouse matches. It wasn't like we like got it from like, it was like our grandpa got it from behind the hotel.

Julia Renouf:

We would like sit on it and watch the office because this was when the office new I'm pretty sure it was Season One of the office. And we would sit on it. And when when Michaels would say something really cringy we would like all like, lay back and start rolling.

James Avramenko:

Oh my god, you know, it's so funny, because that that apartment was like, it was such a weird bridging year for me. Because, you know, I'd never been on my own I moved out, you know, like, I mean, I had only been 18 for like a week when we when I moved to Victoria and then living with Lisa, who I thought was gonna be super responsible because she had already had a degree and I'd already done it, you know? And so I thought like, Okay, I'm gonna learn the ropes of adulting from Lisa. But then she was in the midst of like, a nervous breakdown because she was in law school. I was like, on my own. And, and, and this apartment was just like, empty. We never got it furnished at least while I lived there. It was always just like, I remember we had like, we had Thanksgiving dinner on the floor with TV dinners.

Julia Renouf:

Well, the thing about law school is it's like it's basically filled with like, nerds. Who and like, especially in Canada, I think we're where the majority are not the majority. But a lot of people live at home during their undergrad. And so for a lot of us, it was our first time living away. And, and like, it's just you Vega was just like 100 people per year. So you got to know everyone really quick. And there was tons of social events, like they really made it easy to meet each other. Yeah, weeks of law school. And essentially, it was like being in high school. And and only in actual High School. All of us were pretty much like nerds. And then the second time around, we were cool. So what you said about like, our maturity level was, I would say lower during the law school, especially first year law school. Yeah, it was during undergrad, so you were probably more responsible

James Avramenko:

like, Lisa, you need to behave and do your do your schoolwork.

Julia Renouf:

Except that. Um, yeah, you've always left wet towels on the floor. That was a thing, like the biggest fear of like mildew and mold. Yeah,

James Avramenko:

she'd go nuts on that. Yeah, yeah, I have broken that habit. I learned I learned from I learned from that year. So when you when you get out into the world, and you become a lawyer, what is that? What's that experience? Like? I mean, I have such I mean, I have no experience with it in a certain context, other than just like, knowing what it feels like to get out of school and have no idea where you're going or what to do. And now I'm supposed to build a career out of it somehow, right?

Julia Renouf:

Yeah, um, so I very stressful, I would say, and, and it's kind of funny, because it really put into perspective, like, you know, we, you know, in law school and undergrad, we would always complain about like, Oh, I'm so stressed, like, as though like, everything we're doing was such a big deal. But it's like, well, the only person who is going to be hurt if I fail, this is me, the only like, fight, if I get a six, that six or C or something like that, that impacts me. It doesn't impact others. And then once, like, things really changed. Yeah, once I became a lawyer when it's like, Okay, this is somebody like life and liberty on the line. And

James Avramenko:

And were you doing defense lawyer, defense lawyering or I don't know the terms.

Julia Renouf:

Yeah. I did that for a number of years. So I articled at a defense firm and then worked for about eight years in a firm where I did some other things, but I would say the majority of my time was working in in defense.

James Avramenko:

What was the impetus? I can only assume there wasn't one thing, but But what was the sort of impetus to bridge out of law?

Julia Renouf:

Oh, yeah. Okay, that's a question that takes me back a few years to I think it was a few things, um, one was looking for a bit more of a work life balance, um, and, and kind of, like, not wanting to work, you know, weekends, forever. Um, the second was, I think I wanted to be in a less adversarial role and kind of working more cooperatively with others. And I think the third is related, which is kind of being in more of a team environment. For me, like working as a defense lawyer, like, the times that I found it the most difficult were when I'd have to go to like, someplace some small town and I didn't know the crowns. I didn't know the other defense lawyers there. I didn't know the judges and I just really felt like if something came up an issue came up and and like, I didn't know the answer, it just felt so much worse in those environments than it did when I was like, in Edmonton, and it just kind of made me realize, like, I just want to work in a place where I'm working closely with others. And I'm really lucky where I am now. I love all my co workers, and I'm actually new with some of my coworkers were even friends before we started working together. So it is, it is such a wonderful atmosphere.

James Avramenko:

Yeah. Wow. And and, and, you know, because I, you know, I The reason I ask is because I, I cannot respect someone more for the the commitment that it takes to go to school and especially graduate school and like the toll that that takes emotionally and psychologically and financially Do you know, and to and to commit and then to also accept and understand that, that isn't where you always stay right? And and so like, the fact that you've sort of pivoted away from it is really impressive. It's always really impressive when people sort of move away from it. You know, I think in my mind I'm thinking about people who like, you know, go to theater school, and then end up being teachers and things like that. Right? Yeah. And I think that we sometimes have in our head that it's, you've made a choice to stick to your choice, and you can never make a new choice, right. And I and I always have such a deep respect for people who are like, No, I'm gonna just, I'm just gonna do me, right. Like, I think that's really important.

Julia Renouf:

Well, yeah, so, um, that's something that's interesting, because it's something I've been pondering a lot recently, so a friend of mine with it, another person recently made a book together. And I'll just give a quick promo there, it's, you can access it at midlife book.ca. And they went to UofA, and they were involved in their student newspaper gateway. And along with a bunch of like other people who wrote for the gateway, including our mayor, and others, they put together essays kind of about their bid life experience, but a lot of them I think, because they all knew each other from university or kind of reflecting on that as well. And that combined with my decluttering of my math notes really had me kind of going, did I make the right decision? Like, all those sorts of questions, and, and I was actually getting, you know, in a little bit of an existential crisis about all of this. Um, but then I kind of thought, like, Well, why didn't I do other things? Why didn't I try these other things, and then it kind of came to conclusions, which is one, I'm still like, I can still do those things if I'm actually interested in them. But the fact that I'm not doing them might mean, I'm not that interested in them. And then secondly, like when I looked at my math notes, and I thought, like, I want to take this course again, like if I could go back and take a course at University have already taken, I would, and so like, I probably wouldn't do the same thing over again, like, I really love those things. So it's, I don't know, I know, it's kind of a tangent from what you're saying about, like, changing but like, even those people who did you know, theater and then become teachers, they probably would still do theater again, if they had the chance. And then still totally still, like transition to teaching. And I think sometimes we think like, or kind of wonder like, Is it a waste to do something when you're young and not pursue it when you're older? But like, right now I'm, I'm like, really learning piano, I'm really doing guitar like, awesome. White. I mean, you don't just have to, like become an expert at something like there's value in learning things no matter when you learn them. And and you take, you take lessons from them and skills from them going forward, no matter what.

James Avramenko:

Oh, my God. Absolutely. I agree with everything you're saying. And I think that, that, that that idea that there's no time limit on knowledge, right? This idea that, like, whenever you learn it, or whenever you become engaged in it, that's just when you do that, it's not, you're better at it, because you did it this time, or you're worse at it, because you didn't commit this at this point or anything like that. It's It's, um, it's, it's, it's a it's a, it's a, it's a work in progress. Right. And I yeah, I love that idea that it's like, it's just yeah, it's just where you're where you're at, at the time, and you can always come back to it. And then you can always drop it, you know, and, and, yeah, and that idea of, I agree wholeheartedly about, like, people who have, and I think I especially because it's like, yeah, that's me where it's like, I grew up loving theater, and I studied theater, I still technically work within the parameters of it, but I don't do theater, and I just administrate for it, you know, and I don't really have much of a desire to get on stage the way I used to. And so it's it's like, you know, waxes and wanes, obviously, but I think also a lot of the a lot of, I can't speak for anybody else. But I know for me, a lot of my desires at that time were built around unconscious things that I wished could or could or would happen, you know, whether it was validation, or whether it was, you know, manifestation of dreams or whatever it might be. And, and as you get older, you know, I find that like, those desires shift, and they change and what nourishes me and what validates me has changed and so I don't need, you know, I don't need a roomful of strangers applauding me for a performance, I can find validation from doing a job well done somewhere else on some other task, you know, the applause is bad or unneeded, but it's just it's not the thing that I need now, right? I was kind of give the spiel about the show about, you know, what this whole thing has really developed into is this idea of asking myself, what does it mean to be a friend and have I been a good friend and so I'm trying to sort of explore what that could possibly mean. I think the term friend ship is so you know, ubiquitous almost in terms its of its just like, endless definitions and I'm endlessly curious with how, you know, my guests kind of kind of see it. And so I'm curious how you would personally define friendship? Um,

Julia Renouf:

yes. So I mean, I guess friendship at the heart of it is a relationship. But at the root of that relationship versus some others I would say is like, liking them and having fun with them. And, and I think that kind of makes it different from I mean, hopefully you like and have fun with like, you know, your family and, and others in your life. But I think the nice thing about friendship is like, although there will be times when when it's a bit, you know, kind of, I guess under the line, most of the time, it should be like, it likely will bring you joy. I mean, you you need to nourish them and take care of them. But I think the best part of them is that they're fun, and you kind of, they bring out the best in you, you bring out the best in your friends, you have creativity, you have inspiration. And I'm like, it doesn't kind of like bring up the same issues as like a romantic relationship or, you know, like a family relationship. So I say like, friendship is awesome, because it's tons of like good things and like, not too many bad things.

James Avramenko:

I love that's perfect. That's perfect. That's like I love that encapsulation I yeah, it's it's funny, because sometimes people will be like, that's a really intimidating question. I'm like, it really doesn't have to be you know, it can be just like friendship, it can be easy. I've been really looking forward to this question and I don't know if I don't know what you'll come up with. But what is your most vivid memory of our friendship?

Julia Renouf:

Okay, so So James, I do have a list, but I want you to see I want to see if you can guess what's number one on the list? Okay.

James Avramenko:

Well, I just think of all I think of whenever I think of your whole friend group is I just think of Hillary yelich go to bed j but I don't know if that's number one.

Julia Renouf:

Know that. Well, I don't have that exact line but I do have going in the car James. That's what it is. Oh, wait, the Blue Angels.

James Avramenko:

Again, again, just like darkest timeline first year behavior. Like I should never have looked back on that and like how dare I? I cannot believe I did that as often as I did. For listeners who don't know what a Blue Angel is. It's when you light a fart on fire. It was to me at 18 years old, the funniest thing that anyone could do and I would do it any chance I got

Julia Renouf:

there just to set the scene it would usually be at your apartment Lisa nice sitting on the mattress coach and James kind of lying on the floor like lying on his back lifting up isn't ready for it. I'm picturing gray sweatpants and then lighting a little fart on fire and and like I would just be amazed like this was pure magic to me like and like talk about fearlessness like you weren't afraid about your pants or your bum.

James Avramenko:

Well, you know, it's because I learned I learned I learned early that it just like it goes nothing burns and nothing gets hot. And so yeah, the key though is to do it with your pants on because it's really dangerous to do it with no pants. But yeah, you put your butt you put your you put it to your pants and you fire it and it just gives a little like When it burns away, and it's great, sometimes it's like a big fireball. And like the look of joy on everyone's face when it kind of like whoosh and everyone's like, Oh,

Julia Renouf:

that's fearlessness because like still to this day, I've never even tried to do fight. I don't know if I ever will. But I,

James Avramenko:

you know, leave it to the experts.

Julia Renouf:

Yeah. And then just like hearing hearing you and Lisa and hearing Lisa on your podcast, and just how good you to laugh. Like, like, that's the memory is just like the sound of that laughter because,

James Avramenko:

yeah,

Julia Renouf:

like you too. It's just like giggle giggle. Okay, so I'm kind of I'm kind of cheating here. So my last question is, what's your most vivid memory of our friendship? time together?

James Avramenko:

Yeah. Um, man, you know, for me, it would have to be like in terms of most recent Yeah, I just remember you coming out and visiting. Lisa, while we were out and just been having so much fun and like, yeah, that fuckin bowl of things, that bowl of things game. Things in a ball. I think about the house. Oh, it must have been the house that you must have lived in that house a couple years?

Julia Renouf:

No, no. So what happened was first first year was you and Lisa and I would just be kind of the hanger on there all the time. And then you live with the rain. And then yeah, second year, I took over your room. So thankfully, there wasn't too many mildew stains from the towels on the floor. And then it was in third year that we lived in a house with Katrina as well. And you had the two dogs?

James Avramenko:

Yes. So because I remember that house really vividly. And I remember. We had like, we had like a Christmas dinner there. And yeah, I just remember, I just remember that house really vividly. And just like coming over and like, you know, because it's like, how do I say this, it was like Lisa and I moving away from each other was was a was a healthy choice for both of us. And so the next year was sort of spent not very close. And then it was the week, the year after that we started to sort of rebuild and re reconnect, you know, and so that house is really special, because it was like, yeah, we'd like come over and play guitar hero and shit. You know what I mean? And like, just hang out with you guys. And by then I was also like, at the point where I was no longer like, terrified of everything. And everyone or at least I wasn't projecting that I still was. I mean, I still am but like, but uh, yeah, I was just able to function differently, right? I don't have any singular like, singular moments or events. It's more about like feelings and times. And, you know, I remember going out to like swans with with you and your friends. And I've always been, I just always remember being like, the little brother in the corner who either it was always one or the other. It was either like, you guys really liked and were really nice or fucking hated. And it was there was no gray area with any of that friend group. He was either like, yeah, James, you're here tonight. Awesome. Or it was luck sake. Why is James here?

Julia Renouf:

I mean, I don't remember that second way. Like, I wonder if we just kind of gave you a really hard time and you didn't realize it was just for jokes.

James Avramenko:

That totally could have been, I could have just been oversensitive. I totally could have just been oversensitive.

Julia Renouf:

You're like yeah, like super confident. And I think you go wait in the car James. And you're like cry taking it?

James Avramenko:

Like they're so mean to me. Why are you so mean to me? Yeah, yeah, but yeah, it's more just it's more it's more places and feelings than it is like singular moments. Yeah, I mean, you know, we've touched on already a little bit with a few things about things you can do, but I mean, fuck Like, it's May, and who the fuck knows when this thing is ending, right where everybody thought we were gonna have some, you know, white boys summer and it doesn't look like that's happening, you know, vaccines and all these rollouts and all this weird this happening. So I wonder what you think? What do you think you're going to try doing? And what do you think listeners can try doing to remain? Like a connected good friend in for the remainder of 2021? And then going forward?

Julia Renouf:

Yeah, um, well, that's a good question. I think like it's, it's difficult now like you said, um cuz we're not seeing each other as much and and everyone's really stressed. So I guess my thoughts are first like to be really understanding and kind of what we're talking about before, I guess, like, not not taking things personally, I'm just kind of understanding that if someone like doesn't text you back, it's probably because they're dealing with their own life and not not because they don't like you. And then I think like vice versa would be to kind of keep in mind that others are feeling hypersensitive and really stressed. So I mean, I'm one of those people who can be guilty of not getting back to people just being on being busy or something like that, but maybe making that extra effort to say like, Oh, yeah, sorry, I haven't written back, but I still love you. You know, yeah, those kinds of things. Just kind of think maybe during this time, when we see everybody's super stressed and burnt out and everything like that to kind of, you know, be understanding but but express our affection in whatever ways we can.

James Avramenko:

Yeah. Do you find it because I know, I know, I don't want to say guilty. But I know I do this, because I think it's more of a coping technique than it is, you know, a guilt technique. But like, I there are days where I just cannot, like, like, I just can't answer you, you know what I mean? I just can't I see your message. I know, you're messaging me. And I know, it's nice. And I know, it's not even a pressure thing. I know, it's just a thing, but I just like, I cannot bring myself to type the words back. And, and. And I feel a guilt inside. But I also know that it's like, there's just days where I just like cannot participate. Right?

Julia Renouf:

Yeah. And I think that's really normal. I feel Yeah, too. And what I find helpful is just kind of setting a time on the weekend to kind of like batch get back to people are like, yeah, like, oh, like a bunch of, like group chains that I like, haven't looked at or anything like that. So there's not really any pressure. It's just that I'm, like, I just I'm like, I'm scrolling mode. I'm not in responding mode, or, yeah, or, you know, like, I just want to kind of mindlessly watch TV, and they don't want to think about this and then so just kind of reminding myself, okay, I don't need to do it. Now. I can do it later. But I think knowing that as much as I forget other people forget, so not taking it personally, if people don't write back is is kind of a huge skill, because I think everyone is going through that right now. And it doesn't mean they don't like you.

James Avramenko:

Well, that's just it to you. It's that thing of like, I wish that there was like a status update to just be like, robot brain off today, you know, like, right, or like, yeah, I'm just like, cannot answer today kind of thing, right? Where it's

Julia Renouf:

just like that the old part of Facebook was like the status updates and totally Yeah. And back then they didn't have like, nearly the filter I have now like now I'm like, in my thoughts and feelings on Facebook. But in 2005, when it was brand new,

James Avramenko:

I shared it on h my god, the photos I put p into. I need to take them dow . Good lord. Um, but like, yea , and this is the thing too, s that it's like, the idea th t like, I don't want to ma e excuses to other people. I don t want to have to Sly and s y like, Oh, it's because I'm th s is because of that. It's like, I want to be able to say like, I can't fucking function today. o I'm just taking the day off o stare at my phone or whatever t might be, you know, I wish I wish we had a better sort o , like, cultural cushion of th t conversation, because I thi k we're starting to get it but I wish I maybe not wish is t e right word. But like, I ho e that we can collectively g t better at internalizing tho e sentiments, right a d understanding that like, becau e it's that thing of like, y u know, back, you know, in t e before times, if you didn't wa t to go out because of the sa e emotions. I think that these a e not new emotions. I thi k they're just more intense. B t if you didn't want to go, y u have to come up with some excu e and you have to say, Oh, I'm n t feeling good or I'm not this r I'm not that When really, it s just like, I can't functi n tonight. So I'm not going t . And I think what the pandemic s done is, it's demonstrated th t like, we all feel these momen s of like, I'm burned the fu k out, and I need to just sit do n and stare at a wall for a bi . And I wish we could vocali e that with less shame, righ ?

Julia Renouf:

sure. Yeah. So I guess, I mean, the pandemic has been really easy, and that we, for a lot of us, like, we haven't really need to, like draw any boundaries about our time. Like, instead of having people really invite places, the expectation is that you're not really going to be doing much, or if you are, it might be going for a walk or something like that. Like, it's, it's kind of let me off the hook. And when the pandemic is over, I'm gonna have to learn how to do that again. But the other thing, I think, is like one of those issues with technology is just that expectation that people will reply right away and, and like, I don't, I wonder sometimes is that expectation more in our heads? And and one thing that someone told me, which is, instead of like an email, if I write back a work email, like a week later, instead of going like, oh, sorry for the delayed reply, just being just either saying nothing about it, or or being like, oh, thank you for your patience. And yeah, like, yeah, denormalize that instant reply culture. I think the one other thing that would be really helpful with like, both messenger and text messages and things like that, is if we could kind of do what we do with with email, which is like Mark something as unread, which is kind of, Okay, I want to read it now. But I'll write back later. So a way to kind of set a reminder for ourselves.

James Avramenko:

Yeah. Oh, man, because I can't tell you how many times I read something. And I'm like, I can't answer right now. And then it's unmarked. So I forget to answer it, and it's gone. And, you know, in my, you know, I was recently diagnosed with ADHD. So I, I'm learning one element of that is I have no object permanence. So if I'm not looking at it doesn't fucking exist to me. Yeah. Well, I'll, I'll read it. And I'll go, Oh, I should, I should deal with that. And then I scroll away from it. And I never come back to it. Because it's in one eye out the other. Yeah, no.

Julia Renouf:

Yeah, I have that too. And then I haven't an issue then where I do try to email myself instantly. So because I know I'm going to forget things and not do it. So then I email myself. Well, then the problem is, I have like, 1600 unread emails from me.

James Avramenko:

Which one is the right one? Yeah. Yeah.

Julia Renouf:

Not not a solution I necessarily recommend.

James Avramenko:

Right, right. But it is it is a strategy. It's worth trying, right. But Julia I am, I'm so like, thank you so much for coming on the show. Like this has been so wonderful. I, I really hate to sort of like, kind of soft, but we do have to do the wrap up and then kind of, you know, take the hit the hit the stop recording button. But I just want to say, you know, before, you know, before I pull up your Facebook and everything like, like, first of all, like, this has been just amazing. And I'm just so like, I'm so grateful that you were willing to come on the show and chat with me and like, but I just, you know, I was realizing, before the interview, and then even now during it like, we've never really had a chance to just you and I talk this long. Right, you know, but it's been the fucking best. And I just, I hope, you know, like, how much I adore you. And I just like, I think you're absolutely amazing. And I'm so glad you you know, I'm so glad that weird girl behind you offered to be in your ballet class so that I could end up being your friend too.

Julia Renouf:

Yeah, me too. Like it. This has been really fun. And I admire you so much too. And and like, if we were mean to you, it was probably just jealousy, because we're like, James is so cool. And he's funny. Like

James Avramenko:

it's very nice to hear. I will say I never thought it was your friend. Like I never thought it was you for who didn't like me. I thought it was always like the periphery. Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. Not you people, you people. You people are so nice. But uh, but it was always like the other the other lawyers at the table who would just be like, you know, that's it. That's a different, but, but I just, you know, I think like what you're doing, you know, with your current work with all your pro bono work, like, I just, I think that's fucking amazing. And I think that like, just like your, your ideals, and the way that you fight for your ideals is incredible. You know, and it's such a, it's such a, I mean, I, the only words that come to mind are really like reductive and they feel small, but it's like, it's such an impressive trait. And it's such an important trait and, and I'm just so I'm so like, like, how it's the wrong thing to do with it.

Julia Renouf:

We're family, right. Do you ever feel?

James Avramenko:

Exactly I do. It feels like you're a sister. It really does. Yeah, you know, and so it's just like, I'm just really glad. You're a part of my family. But speaking of family, I now have to, to to be like be like my family and be withholding and cut you off. So I have to pull up your Facebook account here. And I have to say Julia, we no longer Facebook friends asked that one was like it didn't even think about it. There's times when it's like, there's times when it like loads and it kind of takes a minute to load. And it's like maybe Facebook is like, Are you sure? But this one was like, Oh, yeah. And that's it. Thank you once more to Julia for coming on the show. It was just such a treat catching up with her and I wish her all the best in her future. And thank you so much for listening through to the end of the episode. You You're my best friend. And you know what best friends do for each other. That's right. They rate and review each other's shows. And then they share the links so that they can make more friends. It's really easy. You want to be a good friend dacha butthead he shirts you follow friendless on all the usual social platforms, our friend this pod. If you've got more to say to me, then 144 characters, whatever the limit is, you can always reach me at friendless pod@gmail.com. You can also sign up for the newsletter. It's a once a month thing. It's a ton of fun. And you can find links for that in the show notes. But that's it for me. slow news week. So I will just wrap this bad boy up. I'll say I hope you have the best week possible. And I will catch you next time. But as always, that is that this is now. So for now, I'll just say I love you and I'll see you soon. Find safety