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Come On, Party People | 2010 | Recycling Party

01.07.10 10:01 a.m.

A writer needs loneliness and he gets his share of it. He needs love and he gets shared and also unshared love. He needs friendship. In fact, he needs the universe. To be a writer is, in a sense, to be a day-dreamer - to be living a kind of double life.A writer needs loneliness and he gets his share of it. He needs love and he gets shared and also unshared love. He needs friendship. In fact, he needs the universe. To be a writer is, in a sense, to be a day-dreamer - to be living a kind of double life.  

-Jorge Luis Borgès


Across the Universe

"I think I'll skip Movie Night tonight," I say.

"What? No! Why?" Melanie says.

"I'm feeling a little under the weather..."

"No, you have to go. Every time you see them, you establish yourself more as their friend!"

"So, I have to go tonight because you want to be besties with Ilana?" I ask, cutting the subtext.

There is a pause on the other end of the line. "Well, yes, but you need better friends anyway."

"I went to brunch with Tom. I think I am their friend."

"Fine, but go anyway."

Melanie feels, and I do not disagree, that I need to reinvigorate my social sphere thanks to the exodus of Stevehen and the apparent extinction of my friendship with Melissa. Others have left in the past and I have sought, too actively, to replace them (e.g., calling Jess the New Hannah when I hadn’t bothered to spend more than a dozen hours with her). Thing are more casual with Tom and Ilana, just happening because there is a symmetry in our personalities and a mutual extroversion.

It isn’t blameworthy to need new friends. Many relationships change or degrade as time goes on, and that is to be expected. People begin to want different things, whether they retreat into other relationships, addictions, or new lives. One must appreciate the relationships for what they were without discarding them in memory for the fact that they no longer are. And, as I have said before and will doubtless say again, there are only so many minutes in the day and only do much space in one’s life. If others need to exit, actively or passively, perhaps it is only so that others may then enter.

Ilana answers the door after I knock several times and call both her cell and home phone, informing me that half the people in the apartment are intoxicated and asking if I would like to be. I demur, but laugh a little drunkenly at this greeting.

I envy Ilana, which is hardly the worst foundation on which to build a friendship. She is a prodigious artist, making money that folds and getting written up in local publications for her skill. She travels often. She has a live-in relationship with her fiancé, who rightly adores her. She is the center of her universe while I feel like a comet in mine, coming into contact with massive objects and celestial bodies in hopes that one will have gravity enough to keep me in their orbit.

I have had people question some of my friendships, intimating that these people seemed understimulating, suggesting that congruence felt when I was nineteen might not translate to similarity now. As loyal as I am, I am also logical enough to see where these critics get such ideas.

Some people, one grows into. Tom has been a satellite of my social sphere since I was fifteen, as he was a friend of a few girls I dated then. I saw him at concerts and events at their school and we nodded recognition, but that was the extent of it until he invited me to a party a year and a half ago. Now that I have gotten to know him, I have vast appreciation that he has any place in my life.

We watch a French movie I have seen before, Delicatessen, so I can focus more on the company than the subtitles, and I am happy. I like being around wine and cheese, even when I do not partake. I like having friends that hold movie nights of foreign films. I like having situations in my life that I can relate proudly, instead of with a resigned shrug as the farce that is life.

Soon in Xenology: Maybe a job.

last watched: Arrested Development
reading: Guns, Germs, and Steel
listening: Fiona Apple

Come On, Party People | 2010 | Recycling Party

Thomm Quackenbush is an author and teacher in the Hudson Valley. Double Dragon publishes four novels in his Night's Dream series (We Shadows, Danse Macabre, and Artificial Gods, and Flies to Wanton Boys). He has sold jewelry in Victorian England, confused children as a mad scientist, filed away more books than anyone has ever read, and tried to inspire the learning disabled and gifted. He is capable of crossing one eye, raising one eyebrow, and once accidentally groped a ghost. When not writing, he can be found biking, hiking the Adirondacks, grazing on snacks at art openings, and keeping a straight face when listening to people tell him they are in touch with 164 species of interstellar beings. He likes when you comment.

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