It was a friend’s birthday party yesterday, and we all got on a mini bus and went up into the hills to Grumpy’s Brewhouse for pizza and beer. I was a bit jumpy about it, frankly. There’ve been a few hiccups in the group in question, none of which directly involve me, but in which I am firmly on a ‘side’ – in terms of who I am closer friends with, not necessarily who I think has acted in the most appropriate manner. That’s a tougher one. I was a bit worried that one of the people involved in that mini schism would say something to which I might have to respond defensively for one of the absent parties.
Thankfully, that didn’t happen. It was a lovely day of sun and beer and company and food. Until we got back to Adelaide, and there were only a handful of us left. Some comments were made that had exactly the effect I was concerned about of putting me in a horrible, defensive position – from completely unexpected people, and not about any of the topics I was feeling defensive about.
It was nothing major, but it really upset me – to the point where I cried on the way home because, really, is it supposed to be this hard? It seems like everywhere there are friendships fading away, falling apart, imploding. People reacting badly to all of those phenomenons. People backstabbing, bitching, alliances forming against others, falling apart, reforming. You have to remember who likes who, who dislikes who, who’s slept with or has a crush on who… it’s exhausting. I can’t handle the swirling tides of personal politics for more than a few hours without feeling like I’m drowning in them. I did think of Sara and her lovely post about handmade love – the panda hat I sent her on impulse because it had to be hers, among other things (isn’t it lovely to have something you spent time and love on appreciated? I don’t know that many other things are as validating) which made me feel better. But that feels like a cop out – Sara and I, like most of my bloggy friends, don’t have to see each other fail at life’s little tests of character day in and day out. What would it be like if we knew each other in person? Would the Use By Date on our friendships move closer, then? Because, you know, tout passe, tout casse, tout lasse, there’s no avoiding that. But still, does entropy have to win so obviously?
The comments made last night were fair, if (in my opinion) too vehemently put. But the fact that I am good friends with the person in question left me in a horrible position – do I defend them against reasonable criticism, or sit in silence, feeling complicit and two faced? I don’t mind what was said – I think it’s important to be able to see and understand your friend’s failings or character ‘flaws’, although that is different from bitching, which was what happened then – just that it was said in front of me, involved me in the atmosphere of picking apart people’s personalities. Not that I don’t do that myself, I’m only human, after all (besides being as bitchy as the best of them, when I get a good run up to it) but I do try not to do it in front of people who will be offended by it. Is that better, or worse? Anyhow, I felt that it was rude to ME to say those (admittedly minor) things in front of me.
In retrospect I got quite sunburnt and that, in combination with a day soaked in beer, left me dehydrated and probably with minor heatstroke – which goes to explain my extreme tiredness and emotional vulnerability. Also, the whole day I sort of felt like I was fending off people’s personalities, being buffeted by them – do you like what I like, dislike what I like, have the same opinions, tastes, preferences. Someone did this thing, isn’t that horrible? What, you don’t agree? You must be horrible too!
I know I am exaggerating most of this in my head. Making it more complicated, harder. I’m not very good at large groups of people, I find it easier to get along when it’s small groups or one on one. I’ve not ever had a very large group of friends before, which means when there are schisms, I don’t really know what to do. In the past, if it’s turned out that I dislike someone, I just stop seeing them. Now, I see people all the time who I have decided are not my cup of tea – and I feel like a hypocrite for pretending to be great friends with them. But isn’t that how society works? Grin and get along?
I don’t know. All I know is that yesterday left me with a sense of sadness that was hard to shake. Why, why, why are people so pettily horrible to each other, such minor nastinesses? It’s like being pecked to death by ducks.
Phew. That was cathartic. I’ve been chewing that over, but I think I just need to let it go and move on. It’s nice to get it out of my head.
Although, while I’m venting, can I just say: people who complain about the weather. It’s boring. There’s a difference between saying ‘jeez, it’s hot, eh?’ on the fifth day over thirty, and being miserable whatever the weather is. After a certain point, it just makes everyone else glum, too. I’m not saying I ENJOY 40 degree heatwaves, or weeks of rainy grey days… only, sometimes, I do! There’s something about every season I enjoy, whether it’s sitting cosily inside watching rain chase itself down the windows, or bright blue skies that go on forever. And when people only ever talk about the bad bits (hot, humid, sweaty, grey, cloudy, depressing) then it makes it harder to see the good things.
As Tom Robbins said in Fierce Invalids Home From Hot Climates, ‘Weather should either be celebrated or ignored’.
Thus endeth today’s rant.