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On a cold Sunday night with my van heater blasting and a bit of white wine still seeping from my blood, I don’t feel misplaced. Not in the wrong place. Just alone, lonely, sad, and wanting. Maybe that’s this place.
The thing about travel? They don’t tell you it’s lonely. “An adventure of excitement and eye-opening growth.”
Yes, that’s travel. But it’s lonely, too.
It’s me and my dog, one month in our roadtrip. Atlanta, then Texas, now in New Orleans. Friends—some great friends—we met along the way. Yet still it’s just us— me and my dog.
Last night, out til 5, surrounded by parties, I made two new friends that I’m now gonna see. Interesting people with lives and opinions. Better than that, unique, fun, funny, too.
But now, when it’s late, and my sleep schedule’s fucked, I see why someone would get drunk again. Then it’s tomorrow. Who knows what could happen? Who wouldn’t have fun at a New Orleans club?
That’s not a solution. That’s open containers. Vessels transporting liquid from one place to place. People vibrating where they stand, moving forward only in time. Bleary, wide-eyed blobs drink to replace their cold sweat.
Why has this city not changed since Katrina? Why did my cabbie say there’s really no dif?
If you spend your life dancing, you’ve nothing to celebrate. That’s what this is: just an empty, wet kiss. But not one from your grandma or a dog or a lover. Just tongue from someone who, right now, like you, feels alone. Together will be great for the time that it’s lasting, but morning will come and you’ll have to go home.
Start: [Redacted], Pflugerville, TX
End: [Redacted], Pflugerville, TX
Start: [Redacted], Pflugerville, TX
End: [Redacted], Pflugerville, TX
I probably don’t like you. You’re welcome.* (*: Not sarcastic.)
My fourth-grade classroom restricted its students to bringing identical Valentine’s Day cards for everyone or no cards at all. I found this a problem, as most of my classmates were bland blobs, while a vocal minority were… [people I didn’t like].
Only this year—at age 25—did I finally realize I can choose my friends. Four of my friendships ended this year, and I’m glad they did.
An ex ended our friendship—my first official ending—in July, followed by an old poker buddy in August. I ended one in October—my first initiation—and a different ex ended our friendship on Monday. Every one of these has been a wonderful change, with benefits extending far beyond free time.
It’s common knowledge—and I find it experientially true—that you “can’t please all the people all the time.” Apply that to relationships: Some people won’t like you. Turn that around: You won’t like some people.
Ending a friendship is therefore an act of integrity. It forwards your values. It makes manifest your soul.
You prioritize your family. You care about your friends. Most people choose a partner to prefer over all others. Having preferences is Good. It’s the foundation of consciousness.
All my friends have former, now-dead friendships. Most drift apart instead of going out with a bang, but both seem to happen surprisingly often. People grow and change. Friendships die. We can still love what was.
You can hate some people and everything they stand for. You can love with abandon those you prefer. You can express your soul. If someone doesn’t like you, good for them.
As a kid, I’d schedule a play date weeks in advance. These days, even when after confirming a reptile festival the day before, I still assume a 50-50 chance my friend bails. When he does, 8am day-of, I’m annoyed. I’m confused. How much is him and how much is changing culture?
I’m not here to tell you, “Something is lost.” It is, but that’s not the point. Instead, it’s simply that some things have changed:
If people still lock down plans, I don’t know them. My friends might be outliers, or perhaps the Bay Area’s incessant climbing keeps everyone on the lookout for upgrades. Or maybe this experience is a worldwide phenomenon. Faster communication means more rapidly changing circumstances.
No matter the reason, I must adjust. It’s a tough lesson to learn. Negative punishment can easily become mis-associated. In this case, to self-blame:
I try not to see it in those ways. I try to see it as the new world order. I think that’s accurate, but I’m not sure. Are you?
I’ve curated a list of recent quotes from my life, along with a challenge: Who said each quote? Me or Not-Me? (Answers at the end; track your responses to see how well you fare!)
Context: A highschool couple eats dinner at Chick-Fil-A. The Girl has painted her face with such vigor that it lacks pores. The guy sports spiky hair, diamond hoop earrings, and flip-flops.
Girl: I don’t find comedy funny.
Guy: You don’t find comedy funny?
Girl: I find it cringe-y. It’s not natural funny. It’s like forced funny. I don’t like comedy movies because they’re not funny. I feel like the only comedy that I actually find funny is, like, White Chicks. Oh my god! We should watch White Chicks together!
(Scroll down for the answers)
(Who’s a good scroller? You are! Yes, you are!)
1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, and 12 are by Yours Truly
0: You know me incredibly well, but prefer self-sabotage.
1-3: Next time, try flipping a coin.
4-6: You did flip a coin.
7-9: Let’s be friends.
10-11: So close and yet so far. Was it the pickling? I bet it was the pickling.
12: Self… is that you? I mean me? Are you… me?
An Ex texts, “Marry me?”
I say “You must be reading my blog.” She says no. She says she’s serious. Phrases include, “Clearly soul mates”, “White picket fence”, and “Multiracial adopted kids”.
How the hell does someone respond to that? After sufficient bewilderment, I settle on: “No thanks. Not really interested”. Later, I add, “But I suppose I appreciate the sentiment”.
After an hour of confusion, including texting a mutual friend to ask if Ex is okay, Ex tells me it was a joke. She has, in fact, been reading my blog. A joke, you say? Ha…
I suppose I deserve this. And I did ask for more pranks. It’s also eye-opening: this must be what friendship with me is like.
I intentionally don’t have a best friend. I don’t like the categorization. Or perhaps I have a best friend and just don’t know it:
When I think the phrase “best friend”, I feel repulsed. Not from my friends, but from the concept.
So I don’t have a best friend. Not since fifth or sixth grade, when I had a best friend with whom I fought constantly. Or maybe seventh or eighth grade, when I had a best friend with whom I fought constantly. I vividly recall making my seventh grade “best friend” cry.
Since then, my life has been more of an ensemble cast. I have friends who I love. I don’t make them cry. That’s enough.