Change?

A few weeks ago, I was writing about how much I missed old friends and that we are like a family. Today, after spending only a few days with them, I want to tear my eyes out like Sam Neill in Event Horizon. People in general should avoid making purposefully stupid decisions and also avoid people they don’t trust enough not to stop and think like The Office’s Dwight Schrute, ‘would an idiot do that?’ and ‘not do that thing’. It’s just another stark reminder to me and should be to everyone else, that the things that used to bother us at school will be the same at university and those at university will be the same later in life. Rose tinted glasses of nostalgia only go so far to hiding the fact that your friend is a complete liability when drunk or that another needs more attention than a Tamagotchi or will die as such.

Life’s too short for people to change.

That’s the truth. It’s a double-edged sword since we all don’t have the time to waste in our tiny lives, so little to make room for actual fucking character development only possible through sudden and unexpected dilemmas that were unbelievable even in Lost. It’s the cancerous little optimist in me, being choked on the smog of the reality of human nature, that always expects to be surprised when I come home for a few days. I always assume that I won’t notice the utter bollocks that’s thrown at me or if I do, I’ll be able to dodge it with an unwavering false smile – I was never a very good actor in the first place. My own unwillingness to change and accept is perhaps a perfect example of my point.

In York, I’m becoming sick of people the same way I was sick of the people here and it’s almost as if my own unrealistic expectations of what makes a half-way decent human being are far too high. They probably are as perhaps it’s a case of personal neuroticism that makes me so wishy-washy towards people. I fully understand anyone to has searched for pastures new and ended up in the same place they were before like demented infinity loop. It’s a daunting and horrible feeling in the gut because it makes me wonder, what if there isn’t a place I like with people I like? It’s the disconnection from the rest of the world that is a wholly lonely feeling.

Perhaps Mark Zuckerberg’s dream of a connected Earth is accidentally alienating further the disconnected. Life without internet in 2017 is an inconvenience at best and isn’t that the perfect metaphor for connectivity to a human being? Boiled down to clicking ‘like’ on a mildly funny Facebook post. Is the lack of a ‘dislike’ button more telling than the presence of a ‘like’? Maybe if we did have one, our self-destructive nature would see the ‘dislike’ turned into a declaration of war and those community notice boards on Facebook would turn into battlegrounds. Would poppies bloom from our screens out of the ruined soils of the digital no-mans-land?

That was possibly a bit of a tangent but the point still stands. Is it those who see people for who they really are the ones who end up alone? I for one don’t buy into the hopeful modern-day morality plays that Hollywood keeps pumping out. In our limited existences change is totally futile because the changes we make to ourselves or hope others will make have such an equally limited effect on the landscape of our own history, hell, even human history. Let’s all through away that totally misleading optimist in us and all that hope that leads to nothing but disappointment and subsequent frustration in people. We should all be able to stand up, and firmly say with confidence and absolution to those unchanging people: ‘you guys are fucking annoying’.

Change?

Ouija Boards

I’ve been tested today and I’m continuing to be tested and it seems no matter how much I try to help people, there will always be doubt surrounding my motives. As I’ve said before, that’s fine because human beings are fundamentally distrusting beings. Yet we endure, don’t we? We deal with it and move on always, like lions searching for a new pride on a never-ending journey through the savannah of literal shit. Right now, I’m at a crossroads being asked to choose either a friend’s happiness or my own. If it was any other person asking me I would say ‘fuck you,’ but it’s not. There’s no running from this and the choice is mine alone to make but the repercussions will perhaps ruin one-third of the valued relationships I hold.

Life being shit, is not a TellTale video game where you can reload and overwrite the save file if the outcome isn’t what’s wanted. The scenario is entirely reflective of the Doctor Who episode title ‘Truth and Consequence’ that being the truth is being confronted by my own selfish nature versus the consequences of making a friend feel trapped or marginalised or both. There are people out there who make careers out of being martyrs yet throwing myself on the sword is less appealing than anything I’ve ever known. Does that make me a coward? Does it make anyone in a similar situation? You could argue that not sacrificing yourself and living with the consequences is the braver choice having to see the face of a friend you know that you would have fucked over.

I was told by someone today that I’m not alone and that I’m valued by people more than I realise but here I am, pouring over the outcome of a situation that makes me feel more isolated than ever before. Maybe that’s another fundamental truth about human existence is that sacrifice is by-the-by when it comes to keeping hold of the things we have. All I have is those few friends and twice today it’s been called into contention over what I can only describe as territorial, relationship intrigue.

For the first time, I’ve left a post unfinished and went for a walk to think about it.

Now, some two hours on, I’ve come to realise that this one tiny event is microcosmic. It’s totally representative of my entire existence since I’ve been here, in this place, again and again. A constant reminder to why I don’t expose my feelings. Every damn time we open that door, we don’t know who will come in with our guest. My mother always told me not to play with a Ouija board because we don’t know what we’ll let in our house but you’re never told, as a child, to have the same policy with opening up to other human beings – with being close to someone. It just invites in disappointment and shitty situations again and again.

Fuck it.

I should get an actual Ouija board not just an analogical one. Maybe it’ll be far easier to wrestle with those unwanted guests than those who have already made themselves very fucking comfortable on my analogical sofa.

Ouija Boards

‘Family, In Italics’

Once again, the family – notice italics, obviously courtesy of mafia movies and for the gratuitous nod to Dan Harmon’s Community -, seems to be fractal. By family, I’m referring to my old group of friends from back home and being the natural alarmist that I am, the slightest shift in status quo has sent me into a bit of an unwarranted panic. It’s not like they haven’t or we haven’t argued or fought in the past but now, as we all drift into our own lives, I worry that perhaps that each fight is the last. Growing up in an Italian family (definitely not a family), where grudges are held onto for dear life like footholds in free-climbing, it seems to be my curse to notice the changing winds. In all fairness, it’s probable my recent avoidance of their birthdays isn’t helping.

It was always going to be a natural part of life to lose touch with friends from school and sixth form and happens all the time. Just today I was talking to someone who is only in contact with one person who went to their college back home which is something that seems somewhat alien to me. Obviously, there were people I didn’t like and haven’t bothered speaking to since leaving home and there are people I’m still unsure about nine years on within the family. We all bonded over things like Community – which by the way, is a comedy institution –  but the cracks in the foundations could and can never be fixed up. Yet, even though these people sometimes infuriate and irritate me, the troubled waters make me very fucking uneasy indeed.

Maybe it’s time I realise the unfortunate fact of life that so many have come to understand that most friends don’t stay friends forever. Hell, even Justice League Unlimited was cancelled which I’m still bitter about some eleven years on. While that insert may seem random, the point is that example, like the eventual death of what I have come to know as, The Group, is totally out of my control and will finally kill my childhood; much like Warner Bros. Animation did all those years ago. Yet, we’ve all got to grow up at some point, I get that, and I’ll just have to be happy with Ben Affleck rather than Kevin Conroy as Batman.

The fact of the matter is, all it will take is a rough night out to kick start an avalanche. We’ve already had three or so this year out of the five times we’ve all got together and to quote Ensign Kim of Star Trek: Voyager: ‘hull integrity is failing!’. This problem is definitely universal and a quite the gut punch. The nests we once knew are suddenly becoming too small for our lives and our dreams which is a reality no one takes into account until our bundle of twigs is an empty husk. Is it futile to try to keep everyone together, or is it just cruel to clip our wings for the sake of ourselves?

No matter what happens, based on all the slices of pizza I bought the family at break-times over the years, I better at least get an invite to a wedding or two. I sincerely believe that the world would be crushed under the sheer weight of all the passive aggression if not.

‘Family, In Italics’

Running

I missed a close friend’s birthday today. The excuse was being financially bankrupt yet perhaps the truth is that I’m more morally bankrupt as it wouldn’t have been a stretch to be there. It’s the second time in a month I’ve missed a birthday of a close friend for no reason at all other than perhaps selfishness or laziness or a fear of nostalgia. It’s also the second time the person has made efforts to make sure I was there. The party is ongoing right now and looking at Snapchat is like punching myself in a gut and I don’t know how I got here.

It makes me wonder do we lose touch with people by accident or accidentally on purpose? I mean I like these people and have a strange history with one of them but I find myself making less and less of an effort with them. It’s almost the same way people who promise to always remain friends after a relationship ends amicably (as rare or fictional as that may be) and they always drift apart despite good intentions. Still, I’m trying to work out how that applies to me considering it’s as almost as if I’m actively being apathetic. Which perhaps defeats the point of apathy entirely.

Perhaps I’m overthinking it and I’m just another cliché being protectionist and cagey with all that feelings bullshit and I’m too scared to look back. To look back and to go to these gatherings and make an effort would be to be confronted by the fact that I need these people as over the eight years I’ve known them they’ve become more family than friends. Obviously, it’s a dysfunctional and somewhat incestuous family like the cast of The Brady Bunch but family none the less. As I type these words I feel a reeling sense of nausea at this uncharacteristic exposé yet maybe my own very raw nerve is just damn typical.

Running from things that didn’t happen or did happen is incredibly tiring and I’m low on the number of excuses to throw around, maybe we all are. Yet for the first time in my life and perhaps, this is the same for everyone else, to stop is more difficult than keep moving. Hell, I moved one-hundred miles north to a place where I don’t know anyone just to prove a point to myself that I could. Now, I’m sat here alone in a shell of a house rather than actually enjoying myself with people I care about because I’m far too chicken shit to confront those goddamn roads not taken or those I did. Or perhaps it’s more than that and it’s a level of unwanted exposure being around people who know what I’m going to say before I say it.

Our entire society is driven towards moving on whether it be from a relationship or being turned down by an employer. It’s all about looking forward rather than back because constant self-analyses and mental exploration of what-ifs would drive anyone insane. I’m being driven insane right now and every time I sit down and think about the good old days that I failed to recognise and appreciate at the time. Yet maybe I and every other person with this uncomfortable feeling should grow some fucking balls and get that train to the birthday party.

Running

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

17:39

I’ve just woken up and it’s 17:39 to find once again, I have over slept by a few miles and missed out on a pre-planned trip to the cinema with people who are making it more and more obvious to me that the friendship is becoming less of a friendship and more like a neighbourly situation between a drag queen and an Anglican priest: be polite, be tolerant, let’s not get over excited.  The sleeping through the trip to see Wonder Woman may put some strain on that relationship, perhaps as much as going to see the movie before them with a woman I was hoping to sleep with despite the pre-arranged plans.

It took me a long time to realise that selfish behaviour isn’t as poisonous as every teen drama bullshit story line professes it to be. It allows your life to be a quiet island with a very protectionist foreign policy that while is inherently isolating, the day-to-day reads more like N.H.K. ni Yōkoso!  (featuring a lack of motivation to compromise leading to little to no actual friends rather than crippling shyness) rather than any Harry Potter book – magical and full of romanticised ideas of friendship that has created unrealistic expectations for children across the world. Those traitorous little novels even infected my own forty-four-year-old father and have perhaps skewed his world view more horrifically than anything on YouPorn ever could.

Through this, I found truth in the line from Californication (the smutty comedy series with David Duchovny not the world famous Red Hot Chilli Peppers song): ‘there is no right and wrong, only the consequences of your actions’.  Since the friends have returned from the cinema trip, the consequence has been very brief uncomfortable conversations and a faltering veil of politeness. For people who spend their time around me complaining how they wish I wasn’t around them, they’re taking it rather sorely. I had the same experience back home: a confusing knife edge between ‘fuck off’ and ‘where the fuck are you going’. It’s sadly nostalgic like Diane Abbott in a sweet shop.

17:39