March 16th, 2003

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02:08 am - 'Scuse me, while I goth this out
Would you lose all respect for me if I told you that I could occasionally be found, late at night, drinking coffee in a Waffle House finishing a paperback and blinking a quiet tear or two out of my eye that (probably) nobody else can see?

That wasn't exactly the plan tonight - Waffle House, sure, paperback, mmm hm... quiet tears? Well, those aren't exactly something you plan. But the older I get, the more likely I seem to be to get that lump in the throat, that faint brimming. I suppose it's a weird sort of karmic balance that with the extra years also comes the emotional judo that keeps the sort of raw sobbing that I so hated as a child and a teenager from ever happening, even if there's a far more appropriate reason for it than a touching moment in a paperback novel.

But what I found myself thinking on the drive home was - why? Why am I so much more vulnerable emotionally to silly things like that now - and what, precisely, is it that I'm vulnerable to? Why am I more likely to shed a tear at a children's movie than a bonafide "tearjerker", which rarely affect me unless they nauseate me?

The answer to all of the above, and whatever it is that I'm emotionally vulnerable to moments of, can probably be summed up with a single word - but damned if I can think of that word right now. So I'll dance around it with tightly orbiting satellites: Friendship. Loyalty. Trustworthiness. Honor. Nobility.

That's the sort of Moment, well depicted, which can get me to tear up. Because goddamnit, there's not enough of it in this world. I've never really been the sort of person to have a lot of friends - or a lot of fairweather friends. I'm the sort of person who has a few friends, but cherishes them dearly - and who stands by those friends, and knows that they will stand by him.

And as for being more emotionally vulnerable to depictions of that sort of thing now than I was when I was younger... well, an easy answer would be that, frankly, I don't have as many real friends as I did then. Particularly in day-to-day real life. Oh, there are the usual fairweather friends, of course. But not the sort that, without needing to think about it, you know that you can rely on. Even if it's not easy. Even if they have to go out of their way. Because, dammit, you're friends, and friendship is an obligation as well as a pleasure, and one to be taken seriously.

But my own personal and immediate deficit of Real Friends isn't the only answer to the increase in emotional vulnerability, and I think possibly it's not even the major one. When I was younger, I moved in different circles - lower-income circles. And I took the number of people who took friendship seriously - as opposed to the "fairweather friends" - for granted. A little later in life, moving up the economic ladder, I've observed some rather distinct differences in the Haves and the Have-Nots, though.

It was a hell of a lot easier to find truly trustworthy people among the Have-Nots.

Don't get me wrong - snakes and dirtbags, as well as the ethically simply mediocre, are everywhere. But the more people I know in the upper-middle-class-and-up income brackets, the more I realize that the truly successful are far more likely to be the truly opportunistic than the truly dedicated. Which makes sense, really - this is a capitalistic society, of course, which ultimately means that the folks looking out for the bottom line are the folks that are the most likely to wind up on top.

But that doesn't make it much easier to stomach the realization that most of the personal traits that you genuinely like, in yourself and in others, are traits corresponding strongly with... if not failure, then a lack of success.

Growing up hurts.

Current Mood: sad
Current Music: MC 900 Foot Jesus - Adventures In Failure

(3 comments | Leave a comment)


From: cpf
Date: March 16th, 2003 - 12:52 pm
Well la-ti-da Mr. Moneybags!

Just kidding. I can barely stand to hang around the vacant yuppie pinks that I work with at the office, much less outside the office. There are days when I consider quitting my job over that fact alone.

Then again, I have lived with a few no-income types who completely took advantage of my trust in them.

I think part of the problem is to reach a more successful level in most arenas, a person must change themselves to fit the mold. This means getting the right car, pursuing the right leisure activities, and even having the right wife and kids. This doesn't leave a lot of free time to go camping with your stoner buddies or partying into the wee hours.

[User Picture] From: discogravy
Date: March 16th, 2003 - 05:26 pm
I am sometimes saddened at the memory of being dirt poor driving around south miami at like 4 am in my beat up old clunker with two or three friends laughing hysterically. I wish I could do some of that again; or something like it. I don't miss being poor, but I miss having no responsibilities.

[User Picture] From: keithmcnally
Date: March 17th, 2003 - 11:08 am
"The answer to all of the above, and whatever it is that I'm emotionally vulnerable to moments of, can probably be summed up with a single word - but damned if I can think of that word right now. So I'll dance around it with tightly orbiting satellites: Friendship. Loyalty. Trustworthiness. Honor. Nobility."

I was thinking yesterday of how my reply was gonna go, but I think all it can really come down to is "I hear you, brother." The thing that suprises me is how out of the blue it can be, I'll be walking around all stoic for a few weeks and then blam, something hits me out of nowhere, and it's like being shot by an arrow. Half of the amazement isn't from the actual feeling itself, but from how suddenly and how deeply I got hit.

I can't remember if I ever pushed this one on you, but there's a comic series called Preacher that's collected into 8 or 9 volumes, and it's the best comic ever. About a third of the way in, Jesse and Cassidy, the two main guys, get in a fight and go their seperate ways. A little while later Cassidy gets into some trouble with this group called the Grail, and Jesse goes to help him. When his girlfriend asks him why he's doing it, he tells her that maybe it was because of how he was raised, or maybe it's because he watched too many cowboy movies, but god dammit, that's what friends do. It's so fucking cowboy that Jesse even hallucinates that he's talking to John Wayne.

I've still got my comic shop connection and I can get them on the cheap, so email me or drop me a Speakeasy message with your current address and I'll send you the first couple volumes. Of course, you'll almost certainly get hooked and have to track down the rest, so be prepared to have some money sucked out of your pocket. I got one guy to start reading it and he got up to book 5, and then I didn't see him for a couple months. One day he burst through the doors and told me he hadn't been in because he had no money, but the night before he'd had a dream that he bought vol. 6 and when he woke up without it, he couldn't stand waiting anymore. So he ate macaroni for a week and bought it. That's how excellent it is.

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