Hanging out with old friends is a lot like eating at Jollibee. The products are nowhere nearly as good as advertised, and the service is not just slow, but at times absolutely blows. There was a time that eating at that place was a throughly big deal for everyone, but as is the case with most people, the novelty just fades with every passing year. One good thing about it, though, is the consistency. You always get what you expect to get (shitty service included). Sometimes even, given the right circumstances, the specific needs, you get pleasantly surprised.
Last week, I was given a chance to enjoy the company of old friends, and see a new perspective on some of them, even rediscovering some of the ouch parts of a situation I haven't been in in a long time. Considering my condition all year, any sort of feeling is good, and with that in mind, I can say it has been a good week.
Quiet Start to the Week. Before I started on any sort of work of any kind for the week, I had coffee with Jo F'n Regis right in front of his school. I've been shopping around for schools I might enroll in come June of next year, provided I survive my 30th birthday, and Bizarro World, the name I'm calling Jo's school, is probably on the top of that list. We didn't talk about anything new, we rarely do, nor did we get down on anything deep. We didn't even spend that much time together. But a short hour of coffee and small talk is one good way to kick off any week.
I've never really expressed any thoughts I've had on the prospect of Jo finally graduating, because I never really acclimated myself to the idea of it actually happening. That's not a knock on Jo, at all. It's just that, I met him in college, and he has always been a student overtime we hung out. There was a time when he was out working for a year or so, but we never really hung out during that time. I'm a bit dismayed about the fact that he and I wont be sharing a campus again, but still. He's finally growing up, and I hope nothing but the best for him.
I don't know if people in my life has noticed, but there are a vast majority of friends of mine that I can only hang out with for extended periods of time as long as I'm carrying anything alcoholic. Only a select few have been able to keep me interested for long periods of time sober.Some I can't even share lunch with without a shot or two. Jo has always been one of my coffee buddies. The Therapist also falls under that category. And you know what, I'm kinda hard-pressed trying to think of others who I can say the same thing about.
Love and Shit Like That. The section above is a little misleading, as i didn't really start the week off hanging out with Mr. Regis. I also had a short meeting with the giro I keep bitching about in these posts. I'm guessing that's why I've been in a rather cheery mood all week. But, of course, it hasn't been painless. She and I have met a couple of times or so last week, and It has been difficult. I'm in a "so close, but oh so far" scenario that it runs amuck with the whole manic depression thing.
Most of our encounters revolve around her complaining about how she really wants to have a boyfriend, and how the guy she likes isn't paying ay attention to he anymore, and how she's not all that into the guy she's dating, and of course, the coup de grace, her asking me not just to attend her future wedding, but to promise to serve as her "man of honor".
Motherfucker. Thank goodness for the alcohol. I literally drank alone before heading off to the Big Man's project that night. It feels like youth in a bottle.
The Big Blah. Friday morning, I watched "Fight Club" in full for the first time in my life. I've seen different portions of it in different times before, but never really took the time to sit down and watch. People who understand the core of the film and have a little working knowledge of how I think can guess what I was feeling that day. But I had to go to Ortigas on a Friday night (which is more or less Hell on Earth) for the "Avengers'" first night out as colleagues. I was supposed to bow out, making up some excuse like I was broke to ditch the whole thing. After all, I didn't really have to go, I wasn't leading the team, and the manager wasn't really showing any indication that I was needed. However, the mighty Thor called me and pretty much bugged me into going. That would not have been enough if I didn't know what she was going through. If the person I loved was in some sort of medical trouble, I'd need all the distractions I could get as well.
All the right elements was there for a good time, but I don't know, it just wasn't clicking for me.I put a lot of stock on the first night out with any work colleagues. It usually is my basis if the relationship was strictly professional (not really a good thing for me) or if these are people that I could actually care about.
The people from Purgatory nailed it completely. The Part Timers as well, producing long time companions from a mere 3 month stint. When I was teaching, or when I was working for TV, it was always about work with my respective co-workers.
A few weeks ago I went ranting about how the MakeUp Artist brought her issues to the table the night's festivities to a screeching halt in one fluid motion. On this first journey into team bonding, the same kind of attention monopoly, in my opinion, hurt the overall intention of the outing. True, there were laughs, particularly when Van Dyne got drunk off her ass, but most of the night was devoted to talking out things that can be talked about in a more proper setting with the actual people concerned. Hell, the Thunder God had a lover nearly suffer a stroke just a couple of days prior, she wasn't bitching about it at all. I'll just say it again, when you're out with a group, don't bring make the night all about you. There's a time, place, and specific people for that.
The night wasn't all bad, I just didn't feel that all that team-y afterwards.
From a professional standpoint, the project is still in its adjustment period. To me, my role on the team is to not just put numbers on the scoreboard. Of course, that's expected at some point, but any schmuck can do that. When an old friend asks you to join him on a project, it's because he knows of a specific thing that you'll be providing, ideally. The Big Man specifically asked for my help, and that's what I intended on giving. Unfortunately, he rejected my offer to talk about the night's discoveries and the potential solutions for any problems that may arise from those discoveries, so I'm just assuming my services are not required anymore, or at least not in the same capacity and degree. With that said, I'll just finish the year with the team probably, and if it goes well, stay on. If not, I've already got three alternative courses of action. I'm labeling this project as a subplot for the rest of the year.
Scooby-fest. I actually forgot that the weekend was devoted to the Scoobies, had it not been for Marvi's last minute reminder. We were to celebrate Nikki's birthday in the same way we celebrate our respective birthdays together. Drinks, food and stories at Marvi's place. It was the perfect offset to the less-than-spectacular Avengers night.
It wasn't extraordinary, but that's always been the thing with the Scoobies, taking the ordinary and making it special. I have recounted the story of my involvement with this particular group several times before. As I may have stated, my joining the group was mostly about timing. The Gadgeteer, SosoJeff, Li, and everyone from my batch from all courses had just graduated and I took some time off from my vaunted Hidalgo Boys. They had just lost a guy friend because of a girl. At the time I was hanging out with a bunch of artist wannabes and they were far too normal for me to spend time with. We were put in a school together, and I goto to know them, and to this day, they're still the only normal people I actually like. Marvi, with her sharp tongue and surprisingly caring nature. Nikki, with her loud mouth and undeniable vanity that serve as a facade for her gentle vulnerability. Shelly, with her penchant for troubled relationships and her overall courage and lightheartedness to survive. Nats, with his simple-mind but kind heart. Weng, MA and Nino, who're rarely there but when they are their presence make an absolute difference. Of all the people in my life, they're the ones who've never made me feel bad about who I am, a fact that I have stated several times now, and I think it's because they're the only ones in my life who feel absolutely comfy with who they are. (The people who cut you down are usually the people who aren't happy with themselves, and believe that making others look and feel bad increases their value.)
Together, we have survived annoying teachers, "acts of gross disrespect", really shitty exes, money problems, weddings, births, infidelities, and a whole slew of other crap, and there we were, on a Sunday night, getting drunk and taking pictures like it was 2004 again.
I've got big plans for my week long celebration of my 30th birthday, and they're the first group I've confirmed to be included. Not that it's a big honor, mind you, but I've been picky about who to spend those days with. I'm looking at it as my last days on Earth, and only those near and dear get to play a part. These people made my final year of college, still the best time of my life so far, special.
Aftermath. After staying over at Marvi's I went walking around for some much-needed alone time. Everything a little clearer now, and I have found a temporary state of peace. I have big plans for the rest of the month, including a social experiment by month's end, and I feel comfortable enough pursuing it. When the Big Man asked for my help, I knew that it was a bad idea, since working old friends rarely is. I think it only works if you actually meet people at work and befriend them, not the other way around. But no matter what happens in that aspect of my life, whatever the consequence, at the end of the day, I am not one who turns away people when they ask for assistance. While everything is fine as of now, at the very least, it's not as fun as I expected it to be. Of course, the reflexive and rather shortsighted response to that is "jobs are not supposed to be fun". People with cancer aren't supposed to be cured, but that doesn't stop people from finding ways. I just hope no one hits me with the "you don't have a child or anyone to support" argument, cause that's just stupid. I live alone. I fuck up and don't earn money, I become homeless.
Other old friends of mine are managing to stay close by, like the aforementioned fast-food joint, despite any and all major changes, and my current romantic pursuit's effects on my life remains minimal.
What I see now, after the week that I've had, is a need that requires fulfillment. I think I have a solution for that. I just need to hammer out the details.
The rest of the year looks exciting, if I plan it right.
"I regarded the world as such a sad sightUntil I viewed it in black and white
Then I reviewed every frame and basic shape
And sealed the exits with caution tape
Don't refocus your eyes in the darkness
And don't remember this place unless
I describe all the things that you cannot see
And we'll unravel the mystery" - Owl City, "Dear Vienna"