If I want a friend, I’ll get a dog.

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Maybe I’m just getting cynical in my middle age but like a successful doctor who’s practice is closed to new patients, I find myself increasingly indifferent to the idea of cultivating new friendships of the human persuasion. It’s not that I don’t like people. In social situations I am invariably outgoing and charming, or so I am told, and I can hold my own in conversations covering a variety of subject matter. It’s just that after the banter and small talk involved in initially meeting someone, I seem to have developed a stutter regarding the next step of  “hey, let’s get together at my place, or yours, and do whatever it is people do to become friends”.

I suppose some of that has to do with the fact that my somewhat libertine attitude of being pretty much A-OK with whatever blows your skirt leads people in my neck of the woods to assume that I am just another garden variety Seattle Prog, and I grow somewhat weary of their reaction when they discover that, horror of horror’s, I am a card carrying member of the vast right wing conspiracy. I have lately actually come to rather enjoy their reaction when after agreeing whole hearted on issues from my indifference to gay marriage to the legalization of drugs they will take me for one of their own and start gushing over the Obamamesiah only to have me refer to him as a proto-fascist. A hooked bullhead tossed on a hot sidewalk never looked so speechless. It is endlessly amusing but not particularly conducive to  deep, long lasting friendships.

With rare exceptions these days, the old friends that I have made over the years seem to suffice for now. We all have evolved politically over the years, some growing more conservative, some more liberal, but we have seen and heard enough of each other to know that we are all full of shit and that makes the difference.

The picture is of my best friend for the last 15 years and a few newer ones. She is all I need…they are all I want.

Don’t tell her that I said she is full of shit.

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8 responses to “If I want a friend, I’ll get a dog.

  1. I get where you are coming from. On politics I tend to wind up both sides equally which can be interesting. And my passion around some topics is equally understood or misunderstood. You know what they say though, in polite/good company never discuss sex politics or religion. In most social circles I wind up staying stumm, sipping a drink slowly and going with the flow, preferring the giggles. Unless someone really piques my fascination I don’t bother with pressing a friendship further than that. But if I do I’ll be loyal as hell. When politics gets thrown in I wind up feeling like I’m holding court. Closer friends know when to reign me in 😉

    Lovely pic and sentiment generally. Pretty woman aside obviously, that’s ample furry friends you have there! Have a good weekend.

  2. I vote ‘more cynical’. The pie chart regarding teacher abilities is a prime example of applying the broadest of brushes, the grossest generalizations which often characterize cynicism.

    And Alison, ‘both’ sides?

    There’s always more than two

    Woof!

  3. I’ll cop to using a broad brush on the chart Arthur. I had just recieved the news and was feeling more than a little hacked off. As I mentioned in a previous comment most teachers are doing fine work laboring under union and school district rules and guidelines that sometimes seem specifically designed to undermine a sound learning environment. My beef is mostly with the public education system rather than the teachers individually. Like all government run beauracracies you’ve got to work it hard to make it work for you. Frustrating sometimes but just the way it is.

  4. It’s funny. So much of this stuff is cyclical. It swings like a pendulum.

    Sometimes I’m very cynical. Sometimes far less. My politics are more liberal than when I was younger but I am a bit more conservative culturally. Events tend to emphasize components of my behavior as well. Certainly an episode such as the one you described regarding your son ending his school year on a distinctly out of tune note is irritating and I very likely could have made a nastier chart than you. Ha!

    Certainly a big part is getting older and more set in my ways. That’s a battle I fight every waking moment it seems. I don’t want to be like the ‘geezers’ who drove me nuts when I was younger. Of course now that I am one myself it makes the job that much more difficult.

    I am marginally more patient these days than I used to be and I am better at keeping my big mouth shut (or my fingers off the keyboard) than I once was. Not good at it mind you. Just a bit better.

    Is that your house pictured? My wife is an architect with a deep and abiding love for modernist design.

  5. I’m trying not to become a curmudgeon but like you say we become set in our ways. Seeing the same old things that haven’t worked in the past being presented over and over as original ideas, it’s hard to fight the cynicism off sometimes. I try to keep an open mind and remind myself that events determine history and things seldom turn out like people think they will.
    That’s my place. Designed in ’65 by William Bain Jr. at NBBJ for a crazy doctor name of Carl Heller who’s job description entailed performing experiments of a nuclear nature on inmates of the Oregon penal system for the old Atomic Energy Commision. The things they could get away with in the 60’s! It was a wreck when we found it six years ago and have been slowly restoring it.

  6. I’m with you on the same old same old packaged as new and improved.
    Though politically we likely would disagree on just what those things might be.

    As for not becoming a curmudgeon, I say give into it when the time comes. At your age you’re just grumpy.

  7. I know exactly where you are coming from. My friends from high school and I grew apart as everyone got families, husbands, etc. My friends from college were a volatile lot and we all split up after divorces, fallings out, and people moving away. I have about 3 people who I have evolved with politically and in matters of interest, education, etc. There are a couple of others who fade in and out of the coterie as well.

    But I can’t say I have a best friend except for my husband. I don’t mind that – in fact, I think it’s great. But he doesn’t so much like to do craft and art fair looking, spa days, etc. I have had a huge problem finding a female friend that I click with enough and feel comfortable enough opening up to to have a female “best friend.” I had a gal at my old office that was mostly compatible, but being a coworker, I don’t feel very open to sharing a lot like you would with a good friend.

    I started checking Craigslist platonic listing just to see if there might be a girl or even a couple that might suit me or us. I know, how freakin sad is that? Looking online to meet a friend. But anyway, to begin with, 90% of the people posting in Platonic have no idea what that word means. And more than that, when I have occasionally seen a good possibility, I just can’t make myself actually invest the time to get to know the person. Like you, I am fine in social situations that involve small talk and casual banter. But I am apparently too much of a curmudgeon to want to really go to the trouble of becoming more than an acquaintance to someone new.

    My old friends suffice for the most part. If only one of them would get a girlfriend I like or develop an interest in art fairs and spas. 😛

  8. I think it’s natural for us to become set in our ways as we age. Part of that is finding the people that we truly enjoy being around. When I was young, I had numerous friends, based on the shared interests of women and drinking. While those interests have not necessarily diminished with age, they have been supplanted by more intellectual interests, requiring a little more discerning attitude towards friendship.

    I can now count the number of people I consider to be true friends on one hand (with fingers to spare). These are the people who really matter to me, and with whom I can share anything, without fear of judgement.

    The other aspect, for me at least, is keeping friend induced drama to a minimum. I no longer have tolerance for those whose lives are a constant drama, and the more people one introduces to the “inner circle” the greater the chance of it.

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