A Nice Hard Slap – Friendship is Not À La Carte.

For
a while we had a really robust circle of friends populated almost
entirely of folks who met each other in Atlanta because of CHUD.com.
Amazing stuff. Now, while most of those people are still friends of the
highest order, the CHUD.com aspect has fallen away. Many have kids,
have gotten married, have experienced massive priority changes, and
other assorted minutia. Most don’t really participate in the CHUD.com
community much at all anymore. Some do, which is great.

It’s
both an amazing feat that a site like this could create so many
lifelong friendships and kind of bittersweet that the site kind of has
fallen by the wayside to many of them. Some have said it’s because the
staff and how “serious” and “negative” it has gotten here and others
gave up on using the web as a communications tool outside of the more
individual-centric sites like MySpace and Facebook. Because at the end
of the day, everyone loves talking about themselves more than reading
shit like… well this.

I’m
really proud of the friendships that have come out of the site though
my own involvement in this community has fluctuated for varieties of
reasons, not the least of which the pride and weight I hold friendship
in and how personally I take it when it’s abused. It gets me into a lot
of trouble and it’s lead to friendships still going strong after twenty
years. Everyone’s time is valuable. Time is not something to fuck with,
which is why I cringe when I hear that people willingly do stuff like
watch reality TV or game shows or soap operas or the like. Not because
there’s not a value to brain dead entertainment you can zone out and
recharge to but because there’s stuff that you can accomplish the same
results with and not have to witness the lowest moments in the
interaction of human beings. Time is something you don’t steal or abuse
from people.

It’s why I truly do appreciate the folks who come to this site. The ones without the ad blocks at least…

Recently
the cost/reward part of maintaining friendships has become a morass.
Some of my friends who I assumed were lifelong… weren’t. When you’re
young you have less criteria for maintaining friendships.

When
I was kid all you had to do was be able to play Wiffle Ball after
school and be available for Nintendo or Sega 8-Bit mayhem on the
weekends. When I was a teenager you had to be available to go to the
movies or the mall and be able to either drive or have the flexibility
to be driven without parental interference. You also had to be able to
play pick-up baseball on the weekends. When I was in my twenties you
had to be creative and willing to hang out, see movies, make camcorder
movies and preferably not be too into drugs or alcohol. You had to be
as far away from the “Frat Boy” mindset as possible.

Now
that I’ve crested 36, most of that still applies but the people who I
befriended in my youth don’t really seem to really fit the mold
anymore. Then again I wouldn’t want to be the friend of the 13 year old
me, the 16 year old me, and the 21 year old me either.

Somehow
people think that getting married and having kids is supposed to
shitcan the dreams, activities, and hobbies that made you the person
you were when you got all growed up. I must have gotten the wrong
wedding band, because it didn’t serve as Krytonite to my ambition. A
lot of the folks I was clsoe with as a younger man had more talent than
me. They had more potential. Yet, they gave up… or their priorities
changed.

I
personally believe that if you have something special you need to share
it and while I appreciate some people feeling that having a crappy day
job and a happy family life is serviceable I can’t not feel that
eventually a weight is going to come crashing down and realization will
sink in. By then who knows? Maybe the instrument will be out of whack
and the thing they were good at won’t be good anymore. I’m offended
when people have a skill and they abandon it. I knew a girl who was a
virtuoso on the piano. Amazing. The kind of skill that could generate a
crowd. She gave it up. Cold turkey. Why? Because she was bored. I knew
a lot of people like that and it’s hard not to try and push them to use
it. A talent can’t just be a conversation piece, like when a co-worker
pulls out a guitar at a party and blows your mind. That’s all well and
good but why be a junior account executive at a shitty company when you
can be touring with the London Symphony Orchestra?

Then
again, I don’t exist to coach my friends to the limelight. I can’t find
the damn thing myself. Bottom line is: If you choose to be friends with
someone it’s not something to take for granted. You have to challenge
each other to be better. You have to communicate. You have to let them
know when you’re proud of them and when you’re disappointed. You have
to treat it like you would any relationship, though most people tend to
let friendships atrophy once they meet their special someone.

Personally
I’d like to know that shit in advance because why waste the time with
someone knowing that they’ll disappear once they find a spouse?

Friendship
isn’t À La Carte. It’s casual to a point but it’s not the
kind of thing you do wantonly without regard. You don’t reneg or be
indifferent or sleepwalk through it and assume everything will be
alright on the back end. There’s a fine line between assuming
friendship is this giant safety net you can always count on regardless
of the situation and being a total asshole. I have a guy I used to be
really close with who I’d see five days a week and be inseperable with.
Until he met a girl and then I’d see him five days a year. If I was
lucky.

Time is the ultimate commodity. It’s not to be trifled with and it’s extremely finite.

This
past weekend I was treated to a barrage of what I consider abuses of my
time and it made me wonder why I bother to get excited about how that
time is spent. It makes we wonder if not everyone feels that friendship
is such a great gift we have as human beings and rather something they
can pick and choose when to make an effort to foster it.

It
may not be a commitment like a marriage or a familial obligation but
it’s not À La Carte either. Use that time well, people.

-
Nick Nunziata expects too much of people.

Before
I go, here’s the latest thing I’m adding to the blog. Each day I blog I’ll
have a song, a piece of artwork, a photo, a Mary Worth, or something to
further justify your click and to give the trolls a little more ammo. Today, an ART JAM in progress, the SEGMENTED BEAST: