We’re headed into the third month now. I’d kind of been hoping that, much like Jesus on toast or Mother Teresa on a baby’s diaper or some old guy with huge, stone billboards that, let’s face it, he just never could have actually carried down that mountain but that’s a rant for another time, I’d get some kind of sign for how this month would go. (to recap for anybody who has just started reading this blog and, for some inconceivable reason, is reading it from the top down, month one was pretty much spent crying, sleeping during the day and wandering the streets naked and alone with a bottle of vodka and a My Little Pony during the night, where as month two has featured me mostly pretending I never had a relationship, never got left (let alone repeatedly!) or heartbroken and lunging at the “off” button on the radio whenever any of the many completely off-limits songs came on. Super-healthy stuff, yeah?) Anyway, month three.
I’ve checked online and there’s no answers there. Which is surprising! There are always, ALWAYS answers to every single question online! Even questions that you had no idea anybody was asking, like “average penis size for Asians?” or “how to tell if an orange has gone bad?” And yet this question I’m not getting any help on.
So I started thinking about where it is that I want to be when my proposed “getting over things” period is done. One of my big frustrations is now that I’m not spending hours and hours on Skype with someone every day I’ve got time on my hands. Also I’m no longer saving every single spare penny to pay for thousands of dollars of international plane tickets for other people, so I’ve got a little extra scratch. So I’ve got some $$$, and I’ve got some time – you’d think this would be good! Give me the chance to go out and have some fun, do some things, build a real life. Right? Wouldn’t you think that? I was totally thinking that.
Except what I don’t have more of than before is people with which to do stuff.
Don’t get me wrong: I have some wonderful friends and my most excellent family, all of whom I cherish and am so lucky to have. But my friends are either married with kids and bed times and the requirement to find someone else to take care of things like kids and bed times for them to be able to go do stuff or that awkward “rock/scissors/paper” decision for which of my two best friends (who happen to be married to each other) gets to go and do the stuff and have the fun OR they’re super-busy with school and work and the social life that they were building when I wasn’t available most of the time because I was spending time on skype. Oh irony, I hope you’re a dude because someday I so want to kick you straight in the nuts.
My family is mostly made up of the older generation, and I love them. But they’d be the first to tell you that they’re not up for rock climbing or going dancing or seeing the latest rock’em-sock’em-all ‘splosions, all the time summer blockbuster movie. And also, and I hope I don’t come off as a douche by saying this ‘out loud,’ but though I love my family and know how amazing lucky it is to be part of a group of people who actually, genuinely enjoy spending time together, I don’t want my entire social life to be my family. I want friends. I’m a friendly person. I think I can be entertaining. I can quote the entire script for Ghostbusters, Caddyshack and Star Wars. I make balloon animals, for the love of god! I should be able to make friends.
Except that making friends is just hard.
First you need to meet people with whom you’d like to be friends, and who want to be friends with you. You already know how very successful my online attempts have been, in that they have not. I’ve also been checking out groups of people who get together regularly and do things that I might like to do.
A few months ago, while I was still hoping that T.E and I might have one more summer together, I found a local LARP group. (tangent: for those normal people who have lives and understand that a LARP is the social pariah equivalent of dropping your pants and shitting in the kiddie pool I won’t bother to explain. For those who are blissfully unaware here’s the $.05 explanation: it’s like playing Dungeons and Dragons, but you dress up as your character, go to a place with other people dressed up like their characters and you act out the game. If it’s a medieval one then you say “forsooth” and “what ho” in the English accent and you woogy-woogy your fingers at people to show you’re working your magic on them or you have a (I kid you not) big, soft sword that you use to act out your fighting.
The LARP I checked out was a local version of one that T.E. had been playing in the UK. I admit it sounded like it could be cool – in this LARP everybody is pretending to be a kind of vampire. You have personalities and attitudes and powers and other things, and the acting out appealed to me because I my favorite game forever and ever when I was a kid was Make Believe, and that’s just what this is. It’s Make Believe for kids. At first I liked it well enough, but I found the ENTIRE BOOK of rules to be overwhelming. Then again I had that reaction with D&D too, so I figured I’d get there eventually. The pretending was fun, and I thought things would get interesting as I understood the players and the dynamics better.
I just recently decided to stop going, and the reasons were two: First, the rules never got easier to grok. So many rules! Just the rules for combat where ridiculously dense: First you check your multi-page character-sheet-thingie to see how many of this and that you have. Then you check three other levels of things. Then there’s abilities of others, and there’s the order in which you go, and on and on and on. I could never make it all work, so any combat I was in I was just along for the ride. And how is that Make Believe? In Make Believe all you need to know is who’s the bad guy and who’s the good guy, and the bad guy always loses in the end. Thus endeth all Make Believe rules.
The other reason was I was hoping to make friends with these folks, and it became clear that wasn’t going to happen. This group seemed to be made up of two types of people: those so completely geeky that even I was embarrassed to talk to them (the guy with a beard finely sculpted into a long point, the girl who has no idea how far her voice carries in a fairly busy all-night diner as she’s screaming about her next character who will be a whore, whore, W-H-O-R-E… I knew that these might be the folks I met. But I wasn’t expecting the other group: the ones who were completely disconcerting because they play the game for the love of screwing people over, and when the game is done they bemoan how they can’t do more of that in real life. I’m sorry, what? You’re bummed because real life requires that you don’t shiv somebody at the buffet? Yeah, you I don’t need to make any friends with…
Tonight I checked out a local Comedy Improv group that started meeting about a month ago. I was hoping to meet likeminded individuals who were funny and liked other funny people. Instead I found ChicagoDan – a guy who has never performed Improv in front of other people, but figures he’s the guy to start the coolest Improv group this town has ever seen. Now he’s setting the bar low to be sure, but his hubris has to be balanced against the fact that I’m the only person who showed up for the group tonight. Me and ChicagoDan, comparing the lengths of our Improv dicks to see who’s the improviest of them all.
(It was me)
I’ll check out the Improv group one more time just in case tonight, and ChicagoDan, were flukes. But so far my goal for Month three of building the life I’d like to have is… well… it’s a turd floating in the kiddie pool.