The Fiery One and I spent the weekend up in Cosmopolis, thanks to the kindness of Batty and his abuse of his mother's gas card. Due to certain circumstances, the Fiery One and I could not afford to pay the bus fare both ways, so Batty, Curly, and Starcat drove for three hours to pick us up in Cityville and then we all drove for three hours back. You know people are your friends when they are willing to drive six hours out of their way through heavy fog in the dark just so they can drink pints with you in a pub.
Either that, or you know that these people are desperately lonely alcoholics who think nothing of financially abusing their elderly mothers.
They bugged me throughout the weekend for my sharp-tongued humour. I denied it at the time, but now that I write it down, I can kind of see what they were talking about. Still, though, I think I'm funny, so tough titties, folks.
There was much drinking in the pub, because that is what is done of a weekend in Cosmopolis. There was also much catching up with friends that I don't get to see often enough, such as Curly and Tam and Frances. (Don't feel ignored Batty and Starcat. I'm talking about the ladies in this one).
Curly and I talked poetry and travel and relationships, and she sat patiently through my photographs from Costa Rica. Every time she fingered the conclusion of one of her wavy locks and ran it along the edge of her lip, I was thrown back nine and ten years, when she and I and our extended group of misfits would sit at coffee for hours discussing literature and philosophy and dreams. I like the way she says Husserl, stretching out the last half of his name as she lowers her voice, curling the L around her tongue, tacking on a comma.
Tam was freaking delightful, because every last second feels like it's filled with a spontaneous act. We change direction several times a minute, surprising ourselves repeatedly with sharp wit and coarse humour. She told me a story about a mutual friend who, since I last saw her, was diagnosed with breast cancer, underwent a mastectomy, won a lottery shortly afterward, and then moved to England. It made me feel a sense of loss to be too far away from this place, and that I have to rely on movie-of-the-week retellings. I always feel that I have missed too much, like I am losing something bit by bit every time I visit that city.
And then there was Frances. My dear Frances is now six months pregnant, and I have never seen her look so healthy and happy. She's all up with the stereotypical glowing thing. Her skin is clear, her eyes sparkle, and her belly is fantastic. She let me press on it, and when I pushed in twice, the gaffer inside knocked back. I have never felt much natural excitement about the birth of a baby, but in this case, I am thrilled. Somehow, this one is real. As soon as I finish the purse I am currently knitting, I am going to start on the softest baby blanket imaginable, because, omigod, I am going to be called aunt, and some little person might drag that blanket around until it's grey and sticky. Fan-fucking-tastic.
As wonderful and grounding as it was to see these women and catch up on our lives, I could not help but feel my old and familiar longing for time to stop. I have known Tam for nineteen years. I have this kneejerk reaction to try and list my accomplishments since first knowing someone when I add up the years of our friendship. I am not sure where this comes from, but I suddenly find myself struggling to mentally fill a blank piece of paper with a list of personal successes, and it looks blanker and blanker and whiter and whiter, and then I find myself wishing that I had not been such a depressive, self-reflective, passive doorknob when I was younger. Then I realize that I am still doing exactly that as long as I hold up my blank accomplishment list in my head every time I hang out with the people I love.
And then I realize that I SHOULD GIVE IT A BREAK ALREADY. I AM HAPPY THAT I AM GOING TO BE AN AUNT, AND ALL THESE FRIENDS ROCK SO HARD THAT THEY WILL DRIVE SIX HOURS TO HAVE DRINKS WITH ME, AND IT IS RIDICULOUS TO TURN SUCCESSFUL AND LONG-RUNNING FRIENDSHIPS INTO AN EXCUSE FOR DEPRESSIVE INTROSPECTION AND SELF-LOATHING, YOU SELF-INVOLVED TWIT.
Part of the reason this nostalgia-tinged regret takes over my brain is that I remember how I used to dream of fame and fortune. I imagined that I would publish books and take many lovers and meet fantastic people and travel and be crafty and intelligent. When I get into that irrational funk and start thinking that I have not achieved anything, I somehow miss the fact that most of that, aside from the book publishing and the fame and the fortune, is my life already. Fame and fortune sounded nice ten years ago, but realistically speaking, I am an introverted spendthrift, and as far book-publishing goes, that is not an impossibility unless I end up in a vegetative coma, and even then someone could publish me posthumously.
Looking at my life through a couple of pints of beer in January while fighting off a sinus cold = woeful regret extracted from an unfounded rose-coloured nostalgia when confronted with faces from my past
Today, I have replaced the pints of beer with BeniIyn 1 to battle the dreaded sinus cold, so I have pretty much screwed my ability to deal with my emotions rationally. I am still somehow certain that I am a complete and utter failure at everything, despite my obvious success, even if in small doses, at the things I love.
I take myself entirely too seriously when I have a sinus cold, am constipated, have started the monthly bloat, am stuck under nasty fluorescent lights, am drugged up on a medication that renders me semi-catatonic, and it's a dreary Saskatchewan January.
Remember when I said earlier that it was "...wonderful and grounding... to see these women..."? Yeah. I'll remember that when I remove the BeniIlyn 1/sinus cold/mid-winter goggles. Until then, I will go and successfully knit a purse and successfully post to this weblog and successfully write a decent poem and successfully hang out with a fantastic person, the Fiery One.