Monday, July 26, 2010

Why the meaning of life takes on a whole new meaning(less)

The Complete Idiot's* Guide to Being My Friend

Don't take yourself too seriously. (*Here's a quick litmus test: if you are offended by my use of the word "idiot," you are probably taking yourself too seriously.) Don't take life too seriously. I don't mean that in a let's-all-live-in-our-mama's-basement-and-smoke-pot kind of way. No. Get a job. Work hard. Be good to others. Be good to yourself. But recognize that whatever "it" is that is getting you down at the moment, "it" is probably not that important. You are probably not that important. You are almost certainly not as important as you think you are. So, make fun of yourself. Don't get angry at things that are ridiculous. Laugh at things that are ridiculous. (Blog about things that are ridiculous.) Life is long, and then short, then long again, and then at the end, very, very short. What if it turns out that life is meaningless? What if the point of life is to create your own meaning? What if, at the end of it all, your carefully constructed meaning then dissolves away like sand castles into the ocean? Well then, isn't that the ultimate joke? So laugh. Laugh! And find people who are in on the joke.

***
I started out writing this thinking that when I said you it didn't mean me, but now I am not so sure. Sometimes I wonder, if I weren't me, would I hang out with me?

But no, really, I can't stand it when people take themselves too seriously. Wait, what the...? Gah, plank, get out of my eye!!!!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Why misery loves company

Literally seconds after I hit publish on that last post, my phone rang.

"Hello?" I said.

"Oh hey, I didn't expect you to pick up so I had this elaborate message all planned out." 

"Sorry to disappoint. What was your message going to say?"

"I can't remember anymore." 

"Ah." 

"I thought you'd be out."

"Nope."

"Well I was supposed to go out. A friend of mine was having a party and she was supposed to text me about it but she never did. It's like, this stuff happens more and more..."

"I know what you mean," I said. "Today I heard these people from school talking about some movie they all went to see together."

"And you can't say anything about it either, right? Cause you don't want to be that guy... And I mean, eventually you just have to assume that it's because you're completely unlikeable, right? I mean, what other conclusion is there?"

"I know!" I laughed. "It is so weird that you say that, because I just wrote a blog post about it."

"It's like, you try to be friendly, right? You're a pleasant person. We're not terrible people."

"Really," I said, "this is so weird. I literally just posted about this, right before you called."

"Yeah? I'll have to check it out then."

"Meh. Probably don't bother."

"Why not? Maybe I'll get some good insights."

"You know you only like to read my blog when you think you might be in it."

"So do I get to be in it?"

"Well, I guess you'll have to say something good."

***
Lately we've been having reprises of the same conversation. A couple weeks ago we compared holiday weekends. "You know what I did on the 4th of July?" he said. "I watched a Netflix movie and drank champagne and made pancakes. I probably shouldn't even be telling you this."

"I watched a shitload of tv and ate apple pie and ice cream," I admitted.

"You know what it is? I think we're just getting old. People don't want to hang out anymore."

"Maybe. Or maybe we're just terrible people."

"Maybe. Tell me a story?"

And though I am quite possibly the world's worst teller of erotic bedtime stories, and though I usually manage to crack myself up in hysterical laughter in the process, for some reason he continues to request my stories, and he asks so nicely, and I get so much amusement out of the whole thing that I don't usually say no. 

How it usually goes is this: lots of build-up and setting of scene and descriptive detail, and then at the end, "Well, you know what happens next."

"No, tell me."

"I... they... you know."

"Well, I really appreciate all the detail you put in your stories, but they do tend to fall apart at the end there, don't they?"

"Yeah," I agreed.

"That's ok. Now let me ask you a question about women..."

"Ok," I said happily, switching my phone to the other ear and settling in for a long talk.

We might both be terrible people, but at least we are terrible people with unlimited night and weekend minutes. And sometimes when you're down, and nothing is going right and there is no more pie, if you're lucky your phone will ring at exactly the right moment, and it will be someone who, weirdly enough, sort of knows exactly how you feel.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Why one is the loneliest number

Whenever I haven't posted in a long time, you can rest assured it's not because I'm having so much fun. I will always find time to tell you about fun. Nonetheless, when anonymous commenters start throwing the words "blog" and "abandon" around, and I realize I haven't posted anything in ten days, mein gott, I figure it's probably about time to write something, whether it's fun or not.

Warning: This is a post about my loneliness. I know! Like, tell it to your Myspace page, right? Or, Livejournal called, it wants its post back. Mood: where is my frowny face emoticon?!

Right. You know what doesn't help? Watching indie movies about lonely outsiders who find that one other lonely outsider who is obviously perfect for them because they are both lonely and kind of messed up. Also not helping: sitting down with a bowl of popcorn in front of a Netflixed episode of Ally McBeal. Fade in to see... Ally sitting on the couch staring intently at the screen, munching on a bowl of popcorn. OH MY GOD, I AM A WALKING CLICHE. Although, if memory serves me Ally eventually gets to make out with Robert Downy Jr., whereas I am thinking that if I get to make out with anyone before the next presidential election it will be a minor miracle of sorts. Before the World Cup 2014? It's good to have goals. 

To file under other feelings of growing despair: the simultaneous realization that at some recent point unbeknownst to you seemingly everyone in your new grad program has Facebook friended each other, and sort of relatedly, they are all talking about some movie they went to see last night. And this is when all those murmuring voices in your head that like to try to convince you that you are inherently unlikeable (and let's not even get started on loveable; it would take a team of psychologists I think at this point, and each of those psychologists would need another back-up team of psychologists just to handle the overflow), this is when those voices start banging on pots and pans and blowing into those New Year's Eve noisemakers and saying "Ha! I told you so!" 

It is not a coincidence that I am posting at 11:00 p.m. on a Saturday night, is what I am saying. But there! I have posted! Are you happy?

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Why I want you to FAQ me

So, that went pretty much how I expected. Ultimately I had two takers on the D.C.-based meet up idea, both of whom are real-life friends of the decade-or-longer variety. Which leads me to one of two conclusions:
  1. I really need to work on my blog presence in the mid-Atlantic region.
  2. My habitual short-selling of myself and setting of low expectations worked a little too well. I said I am only marginally more awkward in real life, guys. What I failed to mention is that in certain situations, said awkwardness is inversely related to the amount of alcohol I have consumed, which correlates positively with significantly higher levels of fun. But I guess you'll just have to take my word for it.
Anyway, it was sort of a shot in the dark. I won't take the post down like I threatened to, though, because y'all, at least those of you not in the mid-Atlantic region, anyway, said such lovely, sweet things. (Those of you in the mid-Atlantic region, I can only assume, were backing slowly and quietly away, thankful for the relative anonymity of the Internet.) And on the plus side, if I ever find myself thirsty in Austin, Connecticut, Vancouver, Illinois, Singapore, New York City, or Pittsburgh, I know just who to look up. (And I mean that in the non-creepiest, I will come fiiiiiiiind you way possible.) You guys are the best!
 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
In other news, I am getting blog-antsy. I feel like changing things up a bit, and I'm looking at this new pages feature Blogger has. Like, maybe a FAQ page? What do you guys think? Do you have any burning questions you've been just dying to ask me? Or can you think of any specific topics I should address on a FAQ page? Ignoring for the moment my blatant misuse of the term FAQ, as QSPAMOABC (Questions Some People Asked Me Once After Being Coerced) doesn't have quite the same ring to it.

Let's do it. Come on and FAQ me, baby.      

Monday, July 5, 2010

Why D.C. is the place to be!

Happy long 4th of July weekend, everyone! I celebrated in the time-honored tradition of staying home all day, doing nothing and interacting with no one. This making friends thing is tricky. Every once in a while I do have a social life, but apparently not on national holidays.

And speaking of what an absolute social effing butterfly I am, here's a question for you: I hesitate to even bring this up, because the idea of it is quite frankly terrifying to me, but I will be home during the second or third week of August, and would anyone be interested in doing a D.C.-based meet up of some sort? I promise I am only marginally more awkward in real-life than I am in blog-form. Also, taller.

By the way, if no one responds I am totally pulling this post. What, me, invite people to a party that no one shows up to? Not me, and you can't prove anything!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Why without you, today's emotions would be but a hollow shell of those that came before

I will be the first to admit that I don't really understand Tumblr. What is it? Why do people do it? Why do people need a blog and Facebook and Twitter and a Tumblr? And hey, you kids--get off of my lawn! Damn kids... Now where was I, and where did I put my bifocals? Ah, yes. As I was saying, I don't get this whole Tumblr thing, but I'm feeling better and better about it, because apparently...I have been Tumblrd. Tumbled. Tumblred?

Look:
And not just Tumblred, but re-Tumblred:





I feel like the unknown writer in Amélie, who one day see his own words graffitied on a wall:


I guess the moral of this story is that if you keep writing, once every few years you might accidentally write something interesting. (One hundred monkeys and one hundred typewriters, and all that.)

Happy weekend, everyone!