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"Friendships Bounce Off Me", an Essay
When I was younger, I moved a few times. Not a lot, like so many families these days, but enough to matter. Not so much that I never had any friends at all, but enough that I knew people just long enough to get to know them.
Hardly a rare thing. Other families move about quite often themselves. And, of course, the children go with them. So when it wasn't me that was moving, it was my friends. I lost some close friends that way. Either I moved across the ocean or they moved to another neighborhood or they transferred to another school.
Combine that with never really fitting into one large group of people, although taking part in social organizations, and you have yourself a person who's become quite the introvert, the person who has a wall around himself no one really dare touch for their instincts tell them (perhaps incorrectly) that this person does not want to be bothered by them.
The reality of course is quite different, although it depends on my moods. Sometimes there ARE people I DO want to get to know. But it's that wall that people perceive me to have. It's a wall of not really knowing where to begin with the person. You see him and he seems to have a whole separate world that he thinks in and lives in outside of the environment he's in, no matter where he is. I figure when people see me, they get the impression I'd rather be somewhere else. Ever know people like that? I've contemplated certain similar people to see what my impressions are of them. Those are my conclusions. Some people don't reveal the details of their lives at all, but you do feel as though they're being very open and sociable to you. People like me, though, can disclose everything about themselves and everyone thinks there's STILL something we're not telling.
So people I spent a great deal of time were separated from me, and I don't really remember feeling a burning sensation of absence. Maybe I am numb to it all. I don't miss Marlyce or Jeffrey or William or Will or Gino or anyone else I've forgotten about by now. For what it's worth, I don't miss Saori or Nina or Jude very much either. Well, maybe Nina. A bit.
There just came a point when what I took from the outside kept being cut off so many times when it grew deep that it probably scarred for good. Again, nothing new by any stretch of the imagination when compared with the millions of other people exactly like me.
This continued basically throughout school, but I only thought about it in my college years. Friendships just do not stick to me. Which is not to say I do not have the greatest friends one could ever ask for. Slavek, whom I've known since second grade and about two billion different schools and addresses, is the best friend I've ever had. (incomparable to the bestest friend I've ever had, Anna) It's the kind of friendship that regrettably suffers from differences in geographical location, but still remains at ease and timeless. I trust him completely. That's not easy to gain. From ANYONE.
Yassine, one of my earliest social teachers, I think. He always impressed me with how many different levels he could operate on and look like a pro at the same time. He moved away so many times it's not even funny -- but as it turns out, he's not far away from me now, geographically. I should write him. We had our differences at times, but we've endured. I learned so much from him.
George and Opal, two I met my freshman year of college. They're the sweetest couple and both have been beyond kind to me. They went the extra mile for me. It must be their nature, because I cannot fathom why they would do that for me.
Daniel, my roommate. I hated him in high school. Thought he was an obnoxious jerk. But we both needed a roommate at UT. So we agreed. And we've been suitemates for four years now. We get along great, and Daniel never makes assumptions and always catches me bullshitting. He made me rely on sound argument and careful planning before jumping in. Plus, he's a hardware dude and I would want to go into business with him should we have the opportunity.
Anna. Of course. Anna. Anna Anna Anna. There is nothing I wouldn't do for this woman. In all honesty, she's the only one I truly talk to. What others get is not the entire truth, only a superficial retelling of the stories and vignettes in my life. I love Anna and always will. I've thought about it and thought about it, and that's the only conclusion I've come to. No one knows how this will work out in the end. But I believe.
What can I say? I don't envision myself ever being surrounded by friends. There are tons of people I really enjoy talking to, naturally. They are the kind of people who don't judge me, and find conversation interesting with me, as I do them. Never a dull moment. Never a long moment, though. Anyway.
There was a time when I didn't believe it, but I was struggling whether I should find acceptance or not. Are friends worth it? Would I enjoy everything more? Etc. etc. Now I no longer care. People crowd around me in class, in the dorm, in restaurants, on the street, on planes, on IRC, on the Web, and, try as I might, I find myself not analyzing them to see whether I would like to know them. It's as if this huge gaping hole that so many people purport to have has been filled by something that makes me feel neither lonely nor wanted. It is a feeling as though there is nothing for me to gain here. It is that feeling I get when I think about things I no longer want to be involved in. It is the opposite of the feeling I get when I can't stop myself from looking at something, reading more about it or inspecting it further. It's opposite the feeling I get when I'm completely helpless to something's magnetism.
If someone has something useful for me, then I will communicate with them more. If not, then I tend not to be as communicative. It's on a needs-based relationship with most people. For communication, I've found the vast sea of millions of combined voices passing along terabytes upon terabytes of information to me no matter what hour of the day it is. If what I want is in their best interests too, then I get it. If not, then I don't. It works great, does it not?
I am an agent for myself.
No, dear reader, I am not looking for friends. I certainly could not avoid a true friend from growing on me, but it's not something I'm concerned about. It is something that happens on its own. And while I regret that I haven't kept up with the friends listed above, I do accept that it's natural, and always resolve to stay in touch with them. They are important to me and I am curious about their lives and futures. I wish them the best. They have shown me the best parts of humankind.
When I look into my future, for the most part I see only myself, and one other. That's it. I don't see whole groups of people, together. I don't see crowded rooms or areas. I see green trees and white sand and white-capped light-green mountains and blue sky and impure white clouds and turquoise water, and streaming data and flashy, fluctuating online worlds and bursts of autonomous agents reporting findings and infinite lists of tickers for every public object with any interest to me, and vast solar systems and blue-green planets and clear encapsulate throbbing biospheres and kalleidoscopic nebulae, but mainly I see monuments and castles and columns and skyviews and rivers and towers and piers and boats and planes and me and her, the two of us.
It all comes to me so fast, but I know I have the numbers right.
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