Making Friends

I got talking for the first time with a new housemate who perhaps, I should have gotten to know better before I moved in with him. He’s five years older than me and the oldest in the house and strangely I got along better with him than perhaps I thought I would or so far, how I have been with housemates my own age. What he said made a lot of sense to me, in that being you never know who people truly are until you have to live with them in a student house. For the first time in a while, I was pleasantly surprised. I’m not sure whether it was that he was genuinely good conversation or that the lack of reliable internet or company that made his presence that much more meaningful – despite this being the second conversation we’ve actually had in person.

The hours of conversation have made me think about what we all expect from life and that ours differ so dramatically considering like me, he is going into his second year of university yet at twenty-four. He was speaking to me about children and how he’d like to settle down in ten years and start a family with a wife, a few kids and a white picket fence. Naturally, this made me think about my future as a family man and the thought of doing the school-run makes me want to hang myself. Yet despite fundamental differences in our envisions for the future, I’m feeling once again a sense of déjà vu: finding common ground amongst the things we both say ‘what the fuck’ at. This common theme with how I seem to bond with people makes me wonder if this is how we as humans, generally connect with people.

I know it’s strange since in the 21st Century we typically see and hear through various forms that love (whatever the fuck that means) brings us together whether it be to find common ground on political issues or humanitarian issues. Is the reality of it all far more cynical? I’m not particularly bothered if so, considering a good complain about people I don’t like or the current state of the political climate is becoming a pastime for me. Perhaps that is the greatest downfall of the modern world – our core belief that love will win the day and singing songs in unison at charity gigs will unite us all forever more. I’m not disputing the feel-good-factor and the buzz from those sorts of things but I don’t suppose the light bulb was invented because we loved candle. Complaining about things and being united in our shared annoyance or how put out we are has led to some of the greatest human advancements. Whinging about horses and how it takes too long to get from place to place led to the combustion engine and in turn, complaining about pollution has led to the UK banning the sale of diesel and petrol cars from 2040.

True, not all our advancements have come from healthy complaining considering a level of unhealthy complaining has led to many a war or skirmish stemming from the very fundamental line: ‘I don’t like that they believe in something different to us’. In a world of expanding atheism and nihilism that phrase is changing quickly to: ‘I don’t like that they believe’. Perhaps that’s a completely other rabbit hole to fall down some other time but my point is, whether we accept it or not, the foundation of human cooperation is based on bitching about things.

I for one, have never made a friend on holiday with a conversation not starting with a moan about the lack of available sun loungers or that the salad is off. Maybe this is just me and once again, I’m over generalising by a few thousand miles but today is a testament to the theory and I’d like to say, I’ve made a new friend.

Hooray for bitching.

Making Friends

Wishful Thinking

I wholeheartedly wish that I could believe in a religion. It’s a depressing thought that I like everyone else on the planet will end up in the cold ground whether it be in an overpriced, plush coffin or as a handful of dirt. If I were to be approached by the devil himself, I would be more pleasantly surprised by the confirmed existence of heaven than the sight of hell. Or perhaps when I kick the bucket through one too many takeaways, I reincarnate as a mayfly I would end up wasting the few precious hours of life that I would have shitting myself with laughter at the reality of it all.

Growing up it was either too little Catholicism and Protestantism or too much, with an Italian family and Church of England primary school. It was there I went to church every Tuesday hosted by the vicar from the Scottish Highlands that preached more about Braveheart and the Scottish National Party than Christ, our saviour. It was a sobering piece of satire to realise the godly men of cloth were more human than anything. At age six, it was when my first rejections of authority began to grumble underneath the small and chubby surface.

Since then, it has been hard for me to believe in anything to a point where unlike my peers, even the socialist dynamite, Jeremy Corbyn, sets my teeth on edge. It’s like the moment as a child discovering that Santa Claus was invented by Coca-Cola to boost winter season sales and the world of whimsy collapses. Mind you, don’t get me wrong, I’m not knocking religion and while I see it as whimsical and just another nice idea, it’s not that for everyone.

It’s a surprising comfort for billions from Jainism to Scientology, people are desperately searching for meaning in a world that seems to generate horrible scenarios like a cosmic, random number machine. While it’s becoming fashionable in the new world of scepticism to shit all over the faithful, people don’t seem to understand the enormous room for the supernatural in our lives. Personally, if I didn’t have a few unexplained ghost experiences under my belt, I would be laughing at the supposed nonsense of astrology like the rest of them.

The big bearded man in the sky isn’t for me but is for others and that’s okay. It’ll be a bit shit when my ambivalence lands me in a pit of sulphur but even then, I’d find some comfort in being wrong.

Wishful Thinking