i try to express something, and fail, but luckily this post is about celebrating failure.
i was sitting and brooding* in the dark last night when the phone rang. my Very Dear Friend was calling. he was in india all summer—studying jain maharashtri prakrit. the voice of austerity. also really the only person who knows anything about me, i often feel. i mean—he knew me before i went to grad school, while i was in grad school, and now. and he always found me worth knowing. he wants me to come out to seattle to visit him sometime this fall. of course i don’t have the money for that, but i imagine i could con frequent flyer miles out of my mother on some pretext. it would be so good to see VDF. and i haven’t left baltimore this whole year—except for a trip to hanover, pennsylvania. seattle sounds like heaven. mist, weed, and being with someone you don’t have to explain yourself to.**
i don’t know if VDF would be making the invitation if he knew i spent my weekend slutting around. not that i’m in any way his property, but. he doesn’t approve of such things. he thinks plain online dating is creepy. he’s horrified by the idea that i might drive for uber. his relationships develop slowly, honorably, profoundly in person. he is definitely too good a man for these disgusting times. (oddly i am reminded of henry esmond.)
having said that, the whole first year of our acquaintance, i thought he was a surly jerk. (he was so quiet and anti-social.) he will leave the country without telling you. and once when he visited me in chicago he went on a spur-of-the-moment fast—behavior which was never really explained. it’s not like he doesn’t have issues. (i am working on not idealizing people….) he’s just a peculiar species of old bachelor, i guess. last night he was speaking a little sharply about his best friend’s serial monogamy. ‘one of those people who always needs to be a relationship,’ he disparaged. for VDF’s entanglements are few and far-between. i can’t imagine what he would think if he ever found this blog—whose contents i was just reviewing and even i am shocked to discover that it’s mostly about sex and boys. he does not have the compulsion to confess. to put it mildly. when i told him about my Procedure last year—(i don’t remember what exactly prompted that!)—i thought there was a real possibility he’d never speak to me again.
he was essentially horrified but he was polite about it. ‘i didn’t really mind hearing about it. but it was so—it was so clinical.’ ‘well it was a medical procedure.’ ‘right but you know what i mean. i mean—there’s just some things you don’t want to know. there should be some mystery.’
i absolutely agree. but—bear with me as i formulate—i’ve been thinking about this a lot recently—there’s a lot to be said for talking about what happens to you, particularly the stuff that people don’t typically talk about. the stranger more shameful stuff. i think there might be inherent value in it. because if you’re talking about it, you’re not ashamed. and then other people don’t have to feel ashamed either. i know someone has expressed this thought in one precise sentence somewhere. anyway. society needs somebody to write the confessions. (for the record, i feel just as strongly about the value of talking about extremely mundane things; things usually classed as ‘forgettable.’) i guess i feel like collectively we must learn to cherish error and mediocrity.
* about everything in general. and maybe, slightly, just a little bit, about Bachelor #2.
** ‘those were good times,’ i said. ‘they were. but there will be more good times. better times. the best times are yet to come!’ he said. ‘it is a nice thought. i am trying to believe that.’ i said, vaguely—though i was sort of anxious to know what sort of ‘best times’ he was envisioning.