stories of friends project – episode 1

i had a really, really great time seeing my high school friends over thanksgiving, and i hope that christmas will be the same.  despite not being able to/not wanting to keep in touch (let’s be real), we all have enough shared history that we all still care about each other, can share personal stories, and root for each other.  and i love rooting for people, and the idea of being rooted for, especially when the relationship is ostensibly stagnant.  warms my cynical heart.

i digress.  we have all changed a little to a lot since high school in so many different dimensions, be it personality-wise or occupationally or spiritually or physically or socially or politically or maturity or relationship-wise or life experience, the list is endless.  and i was chatting with trevor, and he was sharing with me that his current passion in life was hearing people’s stories.  just talking to strangers and hearing about the diversity and wealth of experience and perspectives that the collective american conscious has, which was very cool.  “what is it like coming out, especially going to a christian high school?”

so, just wanted to start writing various fun short or long anecdotes that i just wanted to record.  very this-american-life-y, i suppose.  four very short, love-related vignettes. 

odd pairing.  met this couple at a mixer.  young-ish, fairly attractive; very cute together. there was a photobooth sort of thing, and they took a photo of them kissing, which was quite sweet and jealousy-inducing.  i was chatting with one of them, and it came up that both of them worked from home, and i was like “oh, that must be nice!” and he goes “yeah, we pretty much just cuddle and fuck all day.” it made me feel this odd, perhaps impossible combination of “that’s really fucking cute” and “that’s really fucking hot”, which i think i have only ever felt when watching the soldier-coming-out video on youtube. 

i know him because he sold me a bike on craigslist. was stalking someone on facebook, but there was a sufficient photoessay to catalog the events of the night (supplemented with captions).  it was his birthday, and his boyfriend needed to buy a bike on craigslist.  they were meeting up with the guy with the bike, but it turns out it was a surprise party with his closest friends at a restaurant!  there is a photo of him giving a speech, presumably saying how much his friends and boyfriend means to him and how lucky he is.  his boyfriend baked him a cake the shape of a plane because, well, he enjoys flying planes.  they later headed back to the car, it was filled to the ceiling with balloons.  they drove to the city, went clubbing (“music is way better than bootie”), and there’s a photo of him, exhausted, satisfied, in the car on the way back.  “mission accomplished.” 

make me feel stupid.  was talking to a friend who is normally fairly mum about his personal life, but apparently he was quasi dating this girl long distance for two years, when suddenly, out of the blue, she told him that she had also been dating someone else locally and that she wanted to start seeing local dude exclusively.  my friend was heartbroken!  how much he had to learn, how much he liked her, how much he was hurting.  now, this friend is probably one of the top five people i have met in my life in terms of intelligence, and he was telling me how smart this girl was, and he did this really dramatic pause, and he looks into my eyes and goes, “james, she is the only girl who has ever made me feel stupid.” fuck. (my friend was also extremely, extremely drunk and remembered close to nothing the day after.)

problem with paris. i was chatting with a friend about travelling (ugh), and he was saying how he wanted to go back to paris, but he said that he was worried that it might not be the same, that the magic might be gone. pish posh, i said, how can a city possibly be so magical?!  and he went through this story of going to paris, meeting someone, and walking down paris-lit streets and discovering new corners of the city and listening to accordions while holding hands.  and thus i will coin the phrase “problem with paris”, which is, experiencing something that is so epic that you are afraid of trying it again for fear of staining your original image of that something. 

some people (okay, fine, one person mentioned it casually) say that it can be dangerous to have sex when on drugs, especially those that mess with your pleasure hormones because there is a chance that once you have sex while high, you will never be able to enjoy normal sex again because you won’t be able to experience the same high.  yes, that is the metaphor that i would use to describe a romantic fling in paris. 


two tangentially related things.

highlight of my yesterday. high school friend.  thank goodness for google voice transcription. (okay, let’s be real, i would have transcribed it for all eternity anyway)

This is Nick, I was just calling to tell you that I’m back in Atlanta and I’m looking forward to seeing you, I’m hoping that we can set something up. And also have a bit of disappointing news, which is that I’m not gonna be in Atlanta for new years. I’m gonna be in New York. Because, there’s this whole, there’s like a whole thing where we went to a wedding and we agreed to do this new york thing and there’s like a whole set of things but… that doesn’t mean that I don’t want to have a fantastic time with you. I want that very much. So I just hope that we can work something out, and I’ll get a chance to see you and hopefully some other people. But, you know you’re my favorite. So anyways, just call me back when you get this and we’ll figure something out. Alright, bye bye.

hahaha, so ridiculous.  so heartwarming.  fine, fine.  he actually does say bye bye in real life!!!!!!  man, i miss him. 

he said she said.  via angeles.  basically someone writes in because she is having difficulty deciding between her career and the love of her life.  thought there were a couple of really nice perspectives on life, in one of those perhaps overly simplistic, empty metaphors perhaps:

two sense – should i move to africa for the love of my life

He Said: You aren’t making a mistake. You are making a decision. And in relationships, decisions come with tradeoffs. You can expect there will be times when you wonder if you made the right choice or even believe you made the wrong one. But you must trust that by taking your best shot at major decisions and then accepting them, you can make a great life.

Life is not a highway: If we take an exit we don’t like, we can’t get off at the next exit and return to where we started. Instead, we are boating on a delta where the water itself is shifting, and there is little sense in trying to fight the current. Often, we can only keep moving and make a new way forward. Do what your heart says, and then go forth confidently.

She Said: Of all the self-help advice I’ve ever read, one of the very best nuggets said, “There is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ decision. There is only Path A, which contains certain lessons and benefits, and Path B, which contains other equally valuable lessons and benefits.” This is not New Age gobbledygook. It’s damn true.

In your case, Path A would entail marrying the love of your life (though honestly, I think we each have a handful of those) and moving your career to Africa or bringing his here to SF. These challenges would be interesting, build character, and make you each stronger—if you choose to let them. Path B means breaking up with a wonderful partner, dedicating yourself to the field you’ve chosen, letting yourself grieve the loss, and then taking new risks in love and dating. You may someday find an even better partner or learn to be happy alone. These challenges would also be 
character-building and interesting. Go with your gut, and then give it your all.

commenters really rooting for love:

Worst advice I ever saw published. Do either of those people know how rarely a deep love comes along in your life? Do either of those people know how careers also come and go — but love is why and what we are here to experience?


I agree with Anonymous. Terrible advice. She asked a direct question and He and She, gave a half-baked, politically correct answer. Come on, jam the flag on the floor and claim your life. Not everyone is lucky to find the kind of relationship you describe. Go with the love of your life and make your career whenever he is. It’s just a career and you seem smart, you can always find other life passion to make or help your career in your chosen field.

Look, at the end of the day, when you’re old and infirm, your career or your boss won’t be there holding your hands, the love of your life will. If you decide to go, make sure he marries you first because your life will be much easier and smoother if you go as a married couple, for practicalities sake. I know because I have been in your shoes before. We almost almost went to Africa but his company decided to send us to Europe instead. Besides by marrying you, he will be also showing that he wants to commit his life to you. Best of luck to you girl.

i think of boating on a delta all the time now.  love it. 


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