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How to not make friends

In the kitchen there's a lightly-padded chair, used by anyone who's cooking and doesn't want to leave the room, or if someone's in the john and you're waiting your turn (weirdly, the door to the john is in the kitchen).

My flatmate Robert and I seem to wake up at around the same time, so it's not unusual to find him in that chair when I come out of the shower, or find me waiting in that chair when he comes out wet.

What is unusual is that lately Robert is in that chair quite often, even when he's not cooking anything, not waiting to use the toilet. He's just — in the chair. Sometimes he's scrolling through his phone, or reading a magazine, and other times he's simply sitting there doing nothing. Protecting the kitchen from the rats, I guess.

I didn't ask him what the hell. Seems like a personal question, and anyway, you know what the hell, and so do I: He wants someone to talk to.

Robert is old, like me. He has no friends that I'm aware of, no family within hundreds of miles. He never leaves the house except to go shopping. Before Dean started working again, those two often talked in the kitchen, but now Dean is gone most days, so Robert sits in the chair, hoping I'll walk by and he can talk to me. Or maybe he's hoping our usually-absent fourth flatmate L will make a rare appearance.

When Robert is in the chair and I'm passing by, I say hello, and sometimes we briefly talk, sometimes we don't. Unlike Dean, Robert doesn't demand conversation, so I'm not even complaining that his butt is always in the chair. It's amusing, not annoying, and it's kinda sad. Robert is normal, so he needs someone to talk to.

I'm not, and I don't. Some days I don't say a word to anyone on Earth, and those are good days.

♦ ♦ ♦ 

Just now I wasted a few minutes talking with Robert in the kitchen chair, and same as always, no matter what we were talking about, he steered the conversation to the Seahawks (local football team). That's a topic I have no knowledge of, no interest in, but Robert is a Seahawks fan. It defines him, apparently. Talking with Robert is talking about football.

Back in the joyous solitude of my own room, Robert's football talk has me thinking about friendship, what makes a friend and what makes someone emphatically not a friend...

♦ ♦ ♦ 

'Alone' isn't a scary word. I like spending time alone.

To be my friend, spending time with you has to be better than being alone. Nothing personal, but that's almost nobody, so it's very, very easy to not be my friend.

If you watch football, know who's the tight end and who's the loose end, that's OK. I don't hate Robert, even kinda like the guy, but if you talk about football every time we talk, we're not friends.

It's the same as someone who never stops finding ways to tell me that Christ is their Lord and Savior. Jesus, no. I've heard about Jesus all my life and don't want to hear any more. We're not friends.

Want to talk politics? I'll listen until you tell me you're a Republican or a rat bastard (but I repeat myself). That's an entire world-view built on falsehoods and cruelty and fear and hatred, values so warped that it defines you as my enemy, so fuck off.

And what I call "woo thinkers" — people who know the traits and dates of the signs of the zodiac, or fancy themselves 'skeptics' about Neil Armstrong walking on the moon or the value of vaccinations or the shape of the planet or what causes skyscrapers to burn? Enjoy your delusions of woo, but talk to yourself, not to me.

Absolute ixnay on talkity-talk-talkers, of course — people who enjoy talking but don't understand listening and don't value silence. Talkity-talk-talkers are not my friend, and can talk to someone else.

♦ ♦ ♦ 

It occurs to me that almost nobody in my family could be my friend, by these standards. I love 'em all in spite of it all, but with the exception of my sister Katrina, they're all talkity-talkers about Jesus or woo or Republican politics.

And this might be stupid or a prejudice, but I've never had a true friend who'd had a happy childhood. Or felt understood and accepted by their family. Or was physically beautiful, by society's standards. Much of who I am comes from feeling myself a misfit, being rejected and rejecting my rejectors, so I doubt even the possibility of friendship with any 'beautiful' or 'normal' person. Whatever would we have in common?

And the number one reason I'm damned near friendless? Nobody wants to be buddies with someone they don't like, and I make little or no effort to be likable. I'm not looking for friends, not trying to be friendly, which probably repels people.

All the above eliminates 99.9% of the population as potential friends, which is excellent. All through my life, no matter how many times I've said it nobody seems to understand, so let me explain once again before walking away:

I like spending time alone. I would rather be alone, than talking with someone tedious, stupid, Christian, Republican, talkity-talk-talkative, or full of woo.

7/15/2022  

itsdougholland.com
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4 comments:

  1. > Much of who I am comes from feeling myself a misfit, being rejected and rejecting my rejectors,

    just a passing line, but you nailed that one. That's how I feel, and why I've been reading your 'pathetic' since Reddit and everything on this site. It's us against the rejectors since kindergarten and the rejectors don't even know it, or if they do they don't ever give it any thought. They're blessed and they go through life expecting to be blessed and so surprised if the blessings ever end.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. yep, absolutely. reminds me of an annoying g-friend I had who complained endlessly how as she got older that guys no longer held the door open for her. I was like, "Welcome to my world."

      I knew guys who had the Kavorca (the lure of the animal to the non-Seinfeld fluent) and girls would stop their cars and offer them rides, agree to pay their rent, tell them it was OK if they wanted to see other girls as long as they were still in the mix. These guys were all loathsome creatures who'd think nothing of screwing anyone over at any point. They got girls pregnant and never paid for an abortion or even drove them to their appointments. Other suckers (not me, thankfully) did that.

      I'm sure some young ladies pulled the same but the ones I knew had more of a conscience. I suppose I was never allowed into the social circles of the female equivalents of these guys.

      In some ways, you can't fault the guys too much. They tried to get away with whatever girls would let them get away with and they succeeded. If someone says walk all over me and keep walking on me, someone will take them up on their offer. It amazed me, though, what certain body types with certain facial bone structures and favorable hair characteristics could get away with compared to the rest of us.

      I've never had the patience with such drama so I don't think I'd do well in those situations. But damn.

      Delete
    2. Abbreviated response due to tumb injury. I knew one guy well who had the kavorka. He screwed most of the women I knew including my sis who I tried to protect.

      He’s now old and needs caring for. He called sis last year looking for live-in help. She’s happily married and told him to bark up another tree. He’s all out of trees.

      Kavorka and beauty fade — genuine tenderness can last. Sis has a keeper —Mr K is all alone in SF because he pissed off all his friends and jumped from woman to woman.

      There is justice in the Court of the Crimson King.

      John

      Delete
  2. I watched a lot of Seinfeld but remember nothing of kavorka, yet I know exactly what you mean. I've known several, men and women, and because of my life pattern of swirling change I'm not sure how their lives ended up, but I sure hope it's been awful for them.

    Even people I've hated, and there's been some, I never treated as poorly as some of those bastards treated people they pretended to give a damn about.

    ReplyDelete

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