The thing with Nolan is, I rarely get to see him socially.
There are really only two types of such occasions: a party at
WolfDaddy's house (who's a mutual friend), or the rare times that
he needs a ride home after work.
Warning: What follows may be considered angsty, and contains more than one
excessively long parenthetical comment....
I like seeing him at the parties, because hanging out with a small
group is my preferred way to be with friends; I don't generally stay
until the wee hours, and neither do he and his girlfriend (unlike at
the other parties he attends -- the kind which apparently revolve
around drink, and stronger (or at least different) psychoactive
substances, and others even stronger -- but that I do not). And when
I give him a ride home, maybe once or twice in four months, it often
turns out that we hang out there together for a few hours, which is
just grand. (Not always though, and that's generally when his girlfriend
isn't home, which is presumably related to why he needs a ride anyway.
Twice in the last month, I drove him home; both times, not only was she
at home, but the car was there, too. I'm still happy to do him the favor,
but I can spell being taken advantage of.)
But what I really miss, and I've told him this, is doing other kinds of
things: sports, other outdoor activities, etc. This is really
rare. In fact, despite regular entreaties which I stopped
making over a year ago, the only one was a weekend camping trip (which
was stupendously wonderful), and that was way back before I fell in love
with him. There was a company party at the beach almost a year ago, when
we were playing Frisbee on the sand, and later bocci, and I was,
dare I say, deliriously happy. I realized later that I had been
playing, in the sense that a child does and that I basically
never do. It is that that I so want to share with him.
The Bad News
About two months ago, he got into kite flying, presumably influenced by
another guy at the office who's an enthusiast. At least one, and
possibly both, of his officemates got into it also, and they go out
occasionally to indulge. A few weeks ago, I told him that I would like
to join him in that. He said, Sure!.
Last Thursday, he came to my office in the morning, said
he'd be flying his kite that day, and invited me along, which I accepted
immediately. When I came back from lunch, I saw that he and both of his
officemates were out. I saw him that afternoon on a work issue, and then,
at about 5:15, I saw them all gone again. I almost screamed. I was so
hurt, and angry at him.
Now, maybe it turned out that he didn't go after all, or maybe he went
after work, or during lunch. (I never asked him, which I'm ashamed of
because that constitutes a failing of the friendship test.) The thing
is, it's terrible either way. Obviously if he did go (scenario 1), he
just went without me. If he went at lunch (scenario 1a), not only did
he go without me, but he didn't mention later that he had already done
so. And if he didn't go at all (scenario 2), then he didn't care enough
to let me know that it wasn't going to happen (and he knows
how important it was to me).
This is the latest, and darn strong, support for my theory: I know his
friendship for me is sincere, but I think that quite often, if I'm not
in the same room with him, I just don't exist. Now, it goes without
saying that I would be very sad if he just plain didn't like me, but
of course it can be the case that a person you greatly enjoy has no
desire to be your friend. But apathy from a friend...
well, that might hurt even more. I spent that entire night playing over
the day in my head, and crying a lot of the time. I told myself that
maybe I really should just put him aside, even to the extent of moving
away from here. Friday, I was
struggling with myself as to whether I should bring it up with him; besides
being afraid to, I was afraid that I would let my voice become accusatory,
and I didn't want that. So I didn't. My thoughts continued on that way
throughout the weekend, but then Sunday evening I found
myself calling him and asking if he and his girlfriend would come over
to my place and hang for a while; something I virtually never do. He
declined, saying that he was about to go to bed, having been up almost
all the previous night. I was saying okay and trying to get off the phone,
but he didn't seem to want to leave it at that, and finally suggested
that maybe later in the week that could happen. I didn't know for sure
if that (phoning him) constituted an act of excessive need, but I was leaning toward
"yes" on that question, and that didn't make me feel any better.
The Good News
Well, I had a great time this evening, because I was out on the beach
with him after work, watching and learning about this kite flying deal.
And while he did ask me along, I think it likely that that was only because I happened
to be in his office at 5:00 when the guy who started him on kites came in to
get him (as it had been planned earlier that they would go).
Those kites were sure different than the paper ones I flew
when I was a kid! Whereas most of the time then was spent trying
to get the thing into the air, and have some fun for ten minutes before
a tree ripped it to shreds, these are made of vinyl or some such, with
plastic or fiberglass ribs, and they want to fly.
And if you happen to crash them into the ground, they probably won't
hold it against you, and will leap back into the sky at the lightest tug.
Our progenitor in this activity, who is not in the office most days,
gave me one of his kites so I could go out with Nolan next time.
Other Good News
All was not terrible for the last week, though. panamaus spent two
days in town, visting with me and WolfDaddy, during his
jaunt through California, and that was fun. Be sure to ask him his opinion
of Isla Vista, a small non-incorporated enclave bordering the campus of
UCSB, where you can't buy anything with a traveler's check,
there are often plenty of shirtless college guys, and a dog's hair grows backwards.
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