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

Venice, LA

The idea of living in Venice, LA, is becoming more and more attractive to me. Obviously, it’s another pipe dream like working in Hong Kong or being able to exist on a diet of mozzarella and deli meats and simultaneously have the body of any of the pricks on Love Island. It’s the perfect place for me to exist in my desired style of Hawaiian shirts and tan pants in a socially and environmentally acceptable setting. Northern England is a bit of a stickler for lack of sunshine. Plus, there’s always more choice on Netflix in the US.

Grass is always greener somewhere else and I’m sure I’ll still end up doing the same things that make the patch of turf appear greyish. Perhaps that’s similar for other people who have chosen to move to be ‘happier’ but end up the same. No matter where you go you’ll always be somewhat greyish not because of the place or its faults but your own. I for one could be in that California sun still playing Stellaris on my laptop for literal days on end, existing on noodles and take-out. Change of scenery never makes a person happier, a change of self does the trick.

Fuck that, right? I could have as much money as Bill Gates and still be sat on a yacht in an Ibiza bay playing Stellaris by myself being served the fucking noodles. Which is my right, being a product of years of personal development from being that toddler who ate everything to now. It’s everyone’s right to choose to do what they want to do all day every day. A life coach is just a superficial title for someone who’s judgemental and wants to change the world to their image. I’m not saying to those people who are life coaches that they should quit their jobs and learn to accept people for who they are because like I say, it’s your right to do whatever the hell you want to do. I couldn’t do it; most of the time I’d probably be rolling my eyes at the client for the nonsense being thrown at me, and the expectation that I have the secret knowledge to remedy it all.

Knowing full well that moving to Venice, LA, will perhaps not improve my state of mind or ability to eat as much deli meat as I want to, I still want to do it. Unfortunately, being strapped for cash as well as having my grandfather’s disapproving voice in my head has killed many a dream. Yet here I am, at the conclusion that it doesn’t matter who you are or where you are, the grass will always be greener in your own head but fuck it, it doesn’t hurt to see anyway. It’s time for us all to listen to that Nike advert for once and ‘just do it’, but just don’t expect the different sky to give us a totally different outlook.

Venice, LA

The Future

I always thought I’d end up a writer. That washed out, unshaven neurotic prick on the convention circuit scribbling hollow words on the blank first page of a trashy fiction. What came with that fantastical lifestyle was a total lack of responsibility and a serious limp that would explain away the incredible chip on my shoulder while the truth would be it was an injury sustained during one of the many sexual escapades that I would have had.

The real truth is that writing a novel requires excessive patience and an incredible sense commitment – two qualities I don’t have which has led to the downfall of many friendships and relationships, as well as the reason I have a blog and not a trashy novel about a violent murder in university halls. Based on absolutely no evidence and experience, I whole heartedly expect authors to prove to be excellent partners and parental figures: patient, committed and full of that sweet shit that got them published. Not me, however; I much prefer the idea of drifting from place to place before disappearing entirely like a less talented and a far more drunken J.D. Salinger.

Surprisingly despite my own self-disgust for coming to the resolution, the most stable occupation for me seems set on being the thing I hate the most: an educator. For years my poor mother who, like any stereotypical Italian mother, has worried deeply about where my lack of talent and abundance of dry wit will take me. Yet she, and my equally worried grandmother, have always said ‘you hate kids enough to be a great teacher’. It’s true, I do despise children and the thought of having them so much that the pot of spare change for laundry has a quaint label: ‘Sterilisation Fund’. Naturally I would be eating my words the day a condom fails me. Who knows, maybe my entire outlook on the topic will change drastically if I ever have some of my own.

It’s become such a viable option to professionally dislike children, that it has become the most realistic career prospect after being taken on the glorious financially and emotionally expensive roller coaster that is higher education. If I had have been actually intelligent I would, like many of my peers, have picked a far more useful vocation rather than a subject which has become the joke of many school-based dramas: media. The realisation that the skills that I am acquiring for existential art films are being practised by thousands of famous thirteen-year-old YouTube ‘stars’ without them having to pay the nine-thousand-pound per year – for the lectures alone – fee cuts deep. I (like thousands of equally stupid media students across the world) am working in 720p while some squeaky American middle-schooler is flying high in 4K visuals with trimmings and all. The idea of breaking into the media industry and making a film or series that I want to make is far more fanciful than my dreams of being that smooth-talking, roaming novelist.

Education seems the way to go yet the idea of the travel has lingered too long not to look for work internationally. I’ll be holding out for that opening in Hong Kong for an inexplicably disgruntled, British media teacher. The only downside of the experience would be the kids and the responsibility which unfortunately, are the key elements of the occupation.

The Future