I’ve been a bad friend.
I’ve been a bad friend. I’m in my own world, in my own head, trying to sort my mentalgarbage from mentalrecycling and mentalcompost.
If we’re not in the same town then you’re out of sight and out of mind. I don’t like it. I don’t call because I’m an insomniac night owl in a different time zone. My problems are weird and unrelatable unless we’re in graduate school together or you’ve been to grad school or film school or art school, and then you understand why I don’t call, ever, but then you know I don’t call anyway. Instead I brood, in a Benjaminian sort of way, if we’ve been in school together you’d know what I mean by that.
I’ve been a bad friend. My life has been through many phases of survival, I didn’t expect to live through it all, I probably didn’t expect you to live through your own demon battles, and yet here we are all circling 50 and we’re still alive. Who’d have figured that would have happened? We’re still pretty much the same-ish as when we were 16, 26, 36 or whenever we met, we’ve been friend a long ass time.
I’ve been a bad friend. I’ve switched teams, tried on different uniforms switched teams again and started over a few times, but some of you all are still there, and I still haven’t called.
I wonder if you’d let me visit. I don’t visit because I’m too broke to leave my own house, if I could I’d roadtrip my way to you just to hang out on your couch and quietly soak you into my system.
I’ve been a bad friend. Mostly, I don’t really know what any of you do for a living. I know you in a context outside of “work” but we know each other through a kind of work, be it creative or spiritual, or both, but we’ve probably never been shoulder to shoulder earning a paycheck together, braving the treachery of corporate objectives. Some of you I’ve know so long we met before work was something we had to do. For the record I don’t do anything worth talking about for a living, I assist thinkers so they can think and get that thinking synched through social media platforms, (which I find terrible). But I really love what I do, and I wish I knew how to make it pay me, which brings us back around to how well we know each other. What you think I do? So many people really don’t know, or you’re holding onto an idea of a previous version of me that’s long outdated? Does it even matter to you what I do? I’d like to know what you do so I can support you in your endeavors when you need to be shored up by friends.
But you know, if we passed on the street I’d enthusiastically hug you and suggest we hang out, get a drink, invite you to my studio to chill while I work, or suggest we go for a walk or get a beer or something. And I’d drop by your studio if I could. Maybe if we hung out, my arty-farty problems would be more relatable, we don’t have to talk about Foucault or Berger or Buchan or Butler, but I’ll circle the dance floor with them in our conversations.
I want to be in the same city as you, I want to be settled enough that I have a place that you can drop by to hang out, and I want that for you too. I want to sit around and plink away on the instruments we have laying about, sing silly songs and laugh at each other stories of blunders and successes. I’ve been so separated from that magic for so long, I really miss it.
I don’t know if it’s as uncomplicated as simply being in a different city, so many of you are at “home” and some have cast out and made new homes in other places, some of you are as transient as I am as we chase after degrees and ways to pay for said degrees. I think perhaps that smartphones (specifically), and social media have replaced actually being social. We feel kind of connected when we’re far afield because we’re all psychically connected through the world wide web. That was especially cool in 2005, but 10 years later I think what used to connect us now holds us all at arms length from each other, illuminated by the cool blue of mediated screens.
Some of you I think about all the time. Seriously all the time, and I have some notion that we’re good friends because that’s what I wish we were, even if we aren’t presently, even if that’s not how you think of me. If I had a transporter I’d visit Melissa who was my very best friend at a time that was very much like a birth of this self, and Neko… I honestly don’t care that you’re a household name, we were really actually good friends before, and I miss you. I hope you reflect fondly on our friendship occasionally too. If I had a transporter I’d visit Georgia, the person not the place. I have a bunch of pictures of Eric as a baby that are stupid cute and you should have them. I could scan them, true, but I’d rather hand them to you. If I had a transporter I’d visit Amani and Sara and Sarah and Donia and Willow and Roxanna and Becky and Krista and Kimmy and Brenna and Gibson and Ashley and the platonic dudefriends Andy, Eric, Lonny, Doug, Jim, Jon, Matt, David, Chris, Jess, Justin and Micah.
Where I’m at right now feels as if I don’t have a past. There are no lingerings of my previous self present here and it’s lonely. Do you mind if I call at three o’clock in the morning? I’m 2300 miles away from “home” as the crow flies, if I made home a compass point and made a 2300 mile radius circle around it, that diameter would include the Qikiqtaaluk Region of Nunavut Canada, Hawaiian Islands, Aleutians Islands, Mexico City, and would encompass most of the US and Canada. Durham North Carolina is as far away from home as Adak Alaska, and I’ve lived there too, I felt more connected to my Pacific Northwesterness living in the Aleutians, my Pacificness in particular if I consider my years in the Northern Marianas Islands. Here in central North Carolina, I’m about as far away from my roots as I’ve ever been, I felt more at home in the Netherlands, Germany or England than I do here. North Carolina is as culturally different as Mexico City is from my Pacific Northwesterness. These comments are about culture, the food, mannerisms, the particulars of society, familiarity and nothing more. North Carolina ias as exotic as New Orleans is to me, or the corn fields of middle Illinois. My people are different.
When I superimpose the same radius from a map point in the motherland, for example Liverpool (a known point of embarkation for my family), that map includes vast cultural diversity, nobody in their right mind would even think that someone from Liverpool wouldn’t be a little culture shocked trying to eat dinner in Kazakhstan. The 2300 mile radius includes Ireland, Scotland, Greenland, Iceland, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus, Russia, Moldova, Bulgaria, Greece, Serbia, Croatia, Slovakia, Austria, Czech Republic, Poland, Germany, France, Spain, Ukraine, Turkey, Italy, Georgia, Syria, Kazakhstan, Portugal, Morocco, Libya, Algeria, Mali and Western Sahara. I’m as out of place here as a Liverpudlian would be in Mali. What’s my point? I might still be in my home country, but I’m nowhere near home.
Sure I can make new friends, and I have, but that act doesn’t honor and respect or replace the friends who helped me become the person I am today.
I’ve certainly edited my friends, some of those edits have hurt, like pulling band-aids, but I think were necessary for personal development and enrichment of who I am as a person. By cutting some folks out I am a better person to, and for the people in my life, who I think are there for me too.
Good friend bad friend. I’m worried. I left home to go to school because my hometown didn’t have the school I needed. And the next school took me even further away. Neither city has felt like a place we want to stay. And now home has changed so much I’m afraid I can’t go back, and that the city has turned into a place I don’t want to return to with it’s problems and growing pains. I’m afraid my loving spouse wouldn't want to go to my hometown, I’m afraid I don’t want to go to my home town. I love my friends. I love my friends. I want to see people on the street or out at an opening or a show, I want to have dinner and welcome and be welcomed. We’ve talked about trying someplace completely new, and I really want to try it, and I’m afraid of that too. I’m afraid the effort will be lost to homesickness and missing my people. Even if the place we want to go will be good for me.