Monday, February 05, 2007

and in time I see it fading

First thing's first. The song this week dovetails nicely into tales of the city, most notably Friday night. Actually, only Friday night. Other than Friday night, I spent the weekend doing a whole lot of nothing, besides eating and sleeping.

A lot of alcohol was consumed on Friday night, and I am not celebrating that fact. I am not celebrating because I felt like I was drinking to make the evening bearable. That is generally not good form. But really, in a way, I can see what happened to Hemingway and the likes. Spending too much time around elitist, well-to-do folks who are more interested in mortgage rates and investment portfolios than dancing to The Scissor Sisters will drive you to drink.

But it's not just that they were well-to-do. And it's not just that they were interested in things that I have no interest in discussing. It's also that I was on the other side of the city. I was on the side of the city that is pristine and beautiful and safe, where everyone pays big bank to live, that they may escape from the tedious nagging of reality. It's that I was standing in a room, feeling acutely not white. It's that I was filling some kind of quota. And it's that I knew I didn't belong, not with these people, not in this neighborhood, not in this life.

Yet, I work with these people. And if there was ever any doubt that I am making the right choice in throwing my work away and doing something a little irrational and a lot impractical, Friday night erased them away with its free-flowing vodka. They looked upon me like I was an alien. And I started to wonder why I had been invited to this party. Then I realized it is because I have somehow been deemed as the fun. Which is a nice thing for such people, because some day, they will also be talking about the help much in the same vein.

These people would never invite me to a fine dining establishment, or to their weddings, or even to a daytime excursion with their other friends. But they'd insisted, persisted, barraged me with begging to attend their stupid party. And when I went, I felt I had to entertain them. I felt that's what I'd been invited for, and it all made me feel echoes of all the things I'd tried so hard to escape. At one point, having reached a peak of mind-numbing boredom, I seized control of the host's iPod and became the DJ. I only wish that Esthero had been on the iPod- one of these things just doesn't belong here- hey, look at that girl would have been like a war cry to me at that point.


Later in the weekend, I had an awkward conversation with a friend, who has been feeling that we have drifted apart. It was awkward because one thing becomes readily apparent at such moments. There are really very few people to whom I feel truly close. Most of the people who think they are close friends of mine are not, not really. Maybe it's that I hold close friends to a ridiculously high standard, so most people do not even come close to meeting the bar. Maybe it's that I have learned to be detached over the years, because I have had to be able to move to different places, because I have had to be thoroughly content alone.

And that's what makes it difficult. It is not that hard to change something about yourself, if you have truly convinced yourself it's a fault. But the trouble is that I do not really see this characteristic as a problem. All the big ordeals I have had to face in my life, I have had to face alone. And it's not that I do not appreciate the support people have lent me during those times, but when it comes right down to it, there was never one savior, one person helping me to stay afloat. Those were my legs kicking to tread water, while my friends were cheering from the shore. I am grateful for those people, but I am more grateful for my legs, if I'm being brutally honest.

Maybe it would be different if I had friends I had kept from childhood. Or maybe it would be different if some of my extended family did not serve as surrogate close friends. Or maybe it would be different if I had grown up somewhere besides EBF in the great Northeast, a veritable breeding ground of people who put up barbed wire fences around their vulnerable parts. Whatever it is, I have trouble with permanence. I have trouble with the idea of close friends. And even if it sounds conceited, I rather like the idea of being self-sufficient, of being self-contained, of being able to move to a new place and be okay, on my own.

And as a result, I feel badly that friends are so often disappointed in me. But at the same time, I am powerless to do much about it.

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