Recent news story. A man was found dead in the woods. It appears that he was living in a tent in the woods for some time. The media quoted someone described as the dead man's best friend. The friend said the dead man was like a brother to him. The friend said he had not known the dead man was living in a tent, and he was shocked that he had just gone to live in the tent, and not reached out to friends and family for help. The friend said the last time he had seen the now dead man was in December, and that at that time, he had been fine and not living in the woods.
He's your best friend, and you haven't talked to him since December? That brings up again something I've been puzzled about all my adult life. Grownups don't have friends.
In high school and college, our lives revolve around our peers. Then we go off and get careers, spouses, kids, and houses. We don't have time any more for friends.
Grownups talk to their coworkers. Grownups talk to the parents of their children's playmates. Grownups get together with friends for dinner every few months. Grownups stop and chat when they see each other at the farmer's market. To me, those are not friends. Those are acquaintances. Sometimes these people introduce me to other people as their friend, and it seems odd to me that they call me that.
I'm still think of the definition of friend that I had when I was college. I thought of friends as adopted family members. If they needed something, I'd do it for them. I realize this is not what other people think of when they talk about friends. I realize that the guy who refers to someone he hasn't seen since December as his closest friend is a normal person. I realize I'm out of step with most people in many ways. Every day I see people behaving in ways that seem so strange to me. It's strange to me the way people walk down the street yelling profanities in the middle of the night loud enough to wake me up when I'm inside with windows closed. It's strange to me that women think it's nice to say to other women, "You've lost weight." To me, that's rude because 1) it implies you thought the person was fat before, and 2) you're not supposed to talk about people's bodies. It's strange to me that people think it's appropriate to go up to complete strangers on the street and ask, "Is that your natural hair color?" It's strange to me that people go up to pregnant women who are complete strangers to them and want to touch their bellies. It's strange to me the way men will be friends with me for a while, always calling me and asking me to do things with me, and then all of a sudden they'll stop, and they say the reason they are not comfortable with me any more is because I want too much from them. It's as if they completely forget that they were the ones who were always asking me to do stuff. It's strange to me that when women see photos of babies, they make noises that sound as if they are wailing in pain, because they think that the babies are so cute. It's strange to me that people seem to believe that the best way to get others to do what they want is to try to act intimidating and threatening.
So, all these things and more seem very bizarre to me, and yet, they are apparently widespread practices. Therefore, I realize that I'm actually the strange one. I don't really blame anyone for acting in these ways. I know they are just doing what normal people do. I'm just glad I'm rich enough to be able to live by msyelf, so I can go home and listen to music and escape from all the bizarreness around me.