Saturday, January 19, 2008

Going Back West

Well, honestly, it may or may not happen. We'll see.

A friend of mine from my San Diego days wants me to come visit. He's now in Long Beach - marginally better than San Diego, some may say. Others may just shake their heads knowingly and say softly "well... whatever."

The trip has nothing to do with wanting to visit SoCal. I can state categorically and without bitterness or rancor that I could die happily (far in the future, of course) without ever seeing the brown hills and fucked-up freeways of San Diego, Orange and LA Counties ever, ever again.

No, this trip is about friendship.

I am not a good friend. I don't say this as a way to fish for negating statements to the contrary. My friendships, few as they are, are even now tenuous, delicate things that may perish by way of wanton neglect or active sabotage. A few of my friends from San Diego (if they ever read this, which I doubt) know exactly what I'm talking about.

I've never been the kind of person who works hard at maintaining a friendship. Or a relationship of any kind, come to think of it. Maybe I'm just supremely self-involved, self-interested and selfish. Maybe I have one of those self-destructive personalities that can't believe that someone would actually want to be my friend and so, Q.E.D. cannot be a friend to another person.

I hope this is not true, as it would validate all of the negative feelings I've ever had towards myself. Vicious Cycle, anyone? Anyone?

But my friend is having a bad time. Not the kind of bad time you have when you end up at a movie theatre watching something that should've been cut up to make guitar picks the day before it was released. No, my friend is having a Seriously. Bad. Time.

I'm honestly not sure how to handle this. Do I pretend it's not happening? Do I try to joke and sarcasm my way through yet another challenge that life throws my way? Do I actually express my feelings and make myself vulnerable, let myself feel the anger and sadness and frustration and grief?

I dunno.

Sarcasm, irony and schadenfreude have been my go-tos for so long now that any other choice is waaaaay outside my comfort zone. To quote Shirley MacLaine in Steel Magnolias ...

"Are you high, Clairee?"


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