Living Vicariously

I wish I could be.. British?

Random Observation/Comment #238: I congregate with such an odd lot of friends. My crew would probably be on the cover of some diversity poster at NYU.  Maybe I just like the phrases we make up. Wordlife.

It was the day after St. Patty’s Day. One of my best friends and I were sitting at McSorely’s drinking a pair of Darks, when all of a sudden, a pretty girl sits next to us and starts a random conversation.  Of course, we all chat and give the 2-minute well-practiced glimpse into our little complex lives, but then she finally speaks of her underlying motive.  What she wanted to know was how these two (handsome) men on the opposite spectrum can sit together and enjoy a beer together.

On one side, she saw an artistic adventurist; glistening with a new tattoo slightly covered by his tight white t-shirt.  The skinny jeans, huge steel-tipped boots, and freshly shaven head told a different story from when he expressed his perspectives on Applied Psychology.  Somehow he spoke about his subjects with such passion and interest that the whole room seemed to listen intently.

On the other side, there was a quiet thinker; wearing a sweater-vest and rimless glasses with his carefully chosen words and tendencies to drift off into semi-intelligent tangents.  He told stories about traveling, but he had spoken of these times as if they were from a different life – not much could be done as this new phase has taken over his purpose (or lack-thereof).  He seemed interesting in his own way, but only because he would probably do your math homework if you asked him to (and definitely get you an A).

At the time, we deflected the question with the answer: “We go after different women and different women come after us, so there’s really no conflict of interest.”  This is very true – in a random line-up of diverse and pretty women, our tastes would never overlap.  I tend to go after the intellectuals with quirky personalities, while my friends would prefer typical blonde-haired blue eyes or skinny artistic girls.  It’s convenient, but just because we like different women, doesn’t mean we’re best friends – it’s not like we’re always chasing after tails – What? I said always.

It could be our similarities.  I like beer.  They like beer.  We drink beer.  Fair enough – we have a good pastime, but then again, we can’t always be drinking beers.  Maybe it’s our sense of humors?  Sometimes there’s no other knee slapper like someone else’s misfortunes.  It sounds mean (and it definitely is) but I can’t help but laugh if a guy gets hit in the groin or if a clown falls down the stairs and makes squeaky sounds on the way down.  That’s just funny.  Plus, I hate clowns.

It must have started when I was younger. I hung out with kids who weren’t exactly bad – I mean, how bad can a kid be in elementary school? – But they weren’t exactly straight-A students, or considered “good influences.”  He was (and still is) one of my best friends, but our differences in childhood and circumstances has always fascinated me.  In many ways, he was the adventure side of my childhood.  I listened to my parents and studied, but also went against their rules and played in the dirt with friends that may or may not upturn all of their hard work.  Now that I’ve grown up a little, I can see how dangerous this influence could have been to me.  If I had followed a similar path to his, I would have wound up in a different life.  There would have been some jail-time here and there, and probably a few children lying around (not that it happened).

In another light, although he was indeed a bad influence on me; I was actually a good influence on him.  I can’t imagine how much more trouble he would have gotten into without my conscience stopping us – well, I still thought digging a hole for a swimming pool was a great idea too.  It’s not like I’m doing some charity work or letting them use me; we’re all friends – and damn good friends.  If I ever needed them, I could call and depend on them to be there for me.  As I tell them stories about my past adventures, current endeavors, and plans ahead, I expect them to be brutally honest and tell me their true perspective without sugar-coating it too much.  They know when to pick me up with a few comforting words, and they know when to push me with some tough love.  I guess the best way for me to explain it is that we’re just best friends.  We do the same thing that good parents do for each other, but we’re the same age and our advice is not considered “out-of-date.”

My friends and I always say, “With our powers combined, we could get any girl out there.”  In a more general sense, we all provide a crucial piece to the puzzle.  Honestly, I’m not going to fool myself in believing that I could do everything (actually there are many situations that I would definitely avoid), but at least I can be friends with people that have walked that path – I can live that story of life without going through all of it.  It’s all a complicated adventure where we influence each other’s decisions and branch off into our own developed-story.  Although we’re an odd lot, it works for us and I wouldn’t trade this community for anything.

~See Lemons Thankful for Friends