Tuesday, December 11, 2007

friendliness

Tonight I was going to try to write flash fiction about a bitter physicist who tries to take over the world, but I’m tired and apparently my personal life is much more popular blog fodder and I sort of tuned out on the physics front when we started learning about levers in seventh grade.

So instead I will ponder this: Am I everyone’s dead end friend?

Recently, a college friend whom I got back in touch with after a long hiatus told me she was pregnant. “I’m not supposed to tell anyone until the second trimester, but I can tell you because you’re a dead end friend, meaning you don’t talk to anyone else I know.”

Another friend told me about a newly acquired STD (one of the mild, treatable ones, luckily). The news was top secret, and although he didn’t say so, I assumed I was hearing about it because I barely know his boyfriend or his boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m enough of an Us Weekly reader that I like to learn about the various consequences of my friends’ sex lives, and more than that, I like to think of myself as someone people are comfortable confiding in.

But maybe it’s more that I’m harmless and tangential—not a part of anyone’s real everyday life. I’m 100 percent consequence-free, like a priest or a therapist.

I’ve long lamented that most of my friends don’t know each other. Maybe they meet once a year at my birthday party, but mostly I hang out with them individually and we fill each other in on our lives. So by definition, we must not exactly be part of each other’s lives, right?

It’s not that I’m some hermit who lacks meaningful relationships. It’s just that most of my see-‘em-every-week meaningful relationships are with people who wear some other crucial hat besides that of Friend. They are Girlfriend or Sister or Coworker. So I’m not always sure what counts.

Then I’m like, Maybe this is how modern urban people are. Connections are spread out. Fuck, I wrote a whole book based on that premise, and I tried to make it sound like it wasn’t a bad thing. But AK has a neat little group of friends who all know each other and all live no further west than West Hollywood and no further east than El Sereno. In L.A. that’s practically like living in the same apartment building.

Every once in a while I’ll meet someone who describes him or herself as flitting from group to group in high school: “I was friends with everyone—the jocks, the stoners, the drama kids. I’d eat with a different group everyday.” Sometimes I think the flitters must have been really awesome, wise-beyond-their-years kids. Other times I think they were just weird.

I guess I’m trying to figure out which I am, wise or weird. Or maybe I’m just trying to get a group together to go to the movies sometime.

12 comments:

yam said...

Dead end friends get all the gossip and none of the drama. Sign me up (but don't tell anyone.)

Prince Gomolvilas said...

Don't mix friends! Don't mix friends! No! No! No! Danger! Danger!

Tracy Kaply said...

Why can't you be both?

Cheryl said...

Okay, y'all got a point. I'll carry on as wise weirdo.

CC said...

I haven't thought of my friends as living all that close / being all that chummy. Even my friend Craig said, "You know what we need? We need a Saved by the Bell, 90210 group of friends who all know each other. I need to be Zach, and you can be Tiffany Amber-Thiesen."

Cheryl said...

Tiffany: I guess the grass is always greener on the other side of Cal U. What we really need is a Peach Pit where we can go anytime we want to be assured of running into everyone we know (and which we can avoid when we're feeling anti-social). And, of course, we need a Peach Pit After Dark where we can bump and grind to Jeremy Jordan.

Don Cummings said...

AH! In NY, most of my friends were and are separate from each other. Even the ones who went to High School together and remain friends with me have little to do with the others. Same with college friends, grad friends, etc. When I came to LA, I ended up in big groups. Big, full of people groups. I have contempt for both arrangements. The social structuring of beasts is ghastly. If I had to pick one form, I guess I'd choose the LA group thing. It makes for less neurosis (if you don't count paranoia).

Cheryl said...

Yeah, being part of a herd or a lone beast--neither is totally appealing. But at least in a herd you can huddle together for warmth.

Jamie said...

As a total introvert, I much prefer one-on-one friendships, although it's certainly nice when your friends hit if off with each other. Sometimes it's just a matter of bringing people together enough times, which can be a logistical nightmare. Just remember, work friendships count!

Cheryl said...

Good! I was hoping. :-)

Ms. Q said...

Everyone has to weigh in on this entry, I guess, because we're all implicated ;) Now that you know Miah I guess you're not a dead end for me. :) Too bad I guess now I can never tell you the good gossip again...

Cheryl said...

Dammit! This must be how Kevin Bacon feels.