Hadn't thought about them in a long while, those conversations I used to have with M. We were always competing against one another for who could seem the more doomed for life. It's weird, to be 18 and talk so incessantly about being finished, over and done with, to claim that you won't ever have another relationship because who would ever notice you, anyway? It's even weirder to have this kind of conversation with someone who you are theoretically, abstractly, impossibly entangled with. I remember being alone again after a relationship that felt like a year long experiment, and M. had said something like See? You were wrong. You have a chance. We were always talking to each other like that. As if we were a pair of invalids or characters in a Beckett play instead of just a couple of lonely kids.
I guess there are weirder ways to spend your night after work, but reading these old teenaged notes and then systematically splicing them up into tiny, tiny pieces has to be one of the stranger pastimes. But when you accidentally find high school relics, what else can you really do with them? One set consisted of notes I had written back and forth to a girl who sat across from me in an English class. Another was from a friend who (in retrospect) seemed to write exclusively about potentially flattering hairstyles for herself and which boys found her attractive. The last set, the ones I actually spent time really rereading, were from the best, best friend who wrote of anything and everything, whose notes were hilarious and ridiculous and smart and affectionante and cruel. When I was younger I had always thought I would someday grow up nd have this really solid group of friends, a karass or something, but there have only ever been a couple of moments where it felt like this could happen, was happening, and then so quickly it'd fall apart, never for ordinary, manageable reasons, but because someone dropped out or had a breakdown or became a junkie or got pregnant.
It occurred to me today that I'm technically too old for this business, at this point, no one in their early 20s thinks this much about making or keeping or losing friends, do they? It seems like people are maybe more worried about finding partners, pairing off.
While I was in Berkeley I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what my problem was, how I could feel lonesome yet remain so ambivalent about meeting people, especially ones I'm technically supposed to have things in common with. Did I find these people boring, or was I worried that I maybe bored them? I spent most of my time with a girl whom I had a class with. She talked about Persian culture as if she were sort of madly in love with it; I liked the way she said my name.
Sometimes it is so easy to feel sorry for myself about it, to think about how much I really want a best girl friend, how much I really miss having one and how impossible it seems in this age and moment to find anything close to that. And then always, it strikes me: let's not get greedy.