Monday, October 03, 2005
There is something extremely unsettling about the month of October. Unsettling because it is a time of transition where nothing will be the same come one or two weeks time. The shortening of the days, the cold bite in the air, the finality of summer. The season finale of Battlestar Galactica. All this change makes you feel extremely conscious of being alive, though more in that extremely terrifying way like being strapped to an electric chair can make you super conscious of living.
Every time the school year begins, I have painful flashbacks to when I first started college, a time of debilitating anxiety and fear. A time when you make friends with the first person to say "hi" to you. That's how I became friends with two people on the first day of orientation who not only stayed my friends until graduation but whom I then proceeded to excise from my life almost immediately thereafter. My best friend, Nancy, was one of those "beautiful people". So beautiful in fact that most girls would not want to hang out with her because her flawlessly glowing skin and glossy hair would make the average co-ed look like a rat's ass. Though she quickly had a slew of men totally smitten with her from afar, she had trouble making friends. The reason I ended up being friends with her was because I just didn't know any better. I don't think I realized how pretty she was because I was too busy going to frat parties to get drunk. All I wanted from her was someone to make sure I found my way back to my dorm at the end of the day. She did a fair enough job. My other friend, Eric, was a big goofball, with looks and mannerisms that were an exact cross between Hugh Grant and Gomer Pyle. He also happened to have the physique of a Greek god, which was not a bad thing considering how often Nancy and I saw him come out of the shower. Of course, most of the people on his floor thought the three of us had some perverse menage-a-trois going on, something which we didn't really dispute, but in fact we were, allof us, pretty sexually inexperienced and generally just gosh-darn innocent. We balanced each other very well as a trio. He was the approachable everyman, she represented sobriety and elegance, and I was the no-holds-barred party animal. We were a sort of social sandwich, self-contained but went well with everything.
For reasons that are not totally clear to me to this day, I dropped them from my life and never looked back. The last I saw of Eric and Nancy was at Eric's wedding when he got married to Aerin Lauder, the next in line to the Estee Lauder empire. It was one of those ridiculous affairs with 400 guests, comprised of a motley assortment of famous people (Oscar de la Renta, Dr. Quinn medicine woman, Liz Hurley and yes, Eric's bizarro world twin, Hugh Grant) that marked a major turning point in our relationship, a point from which there was no return. From that time on Eric, as the goofy friend from college that I knew and loved, was dead to me. May he rest in peace. He now exists almost exclusively as a charity event escort and sperm donor. And my friendship with Nancy didn't survive a phase I went through where I thought she was just too materialistic for buying $300 shoes.
Since then, I have bought my share of $300 shoes and every time I do so I have to cringe with regret at losing what was once a very good friend. You'd think this would either make me call Nancy up and see how she's doing or at least stop buying expensive shoes. But to no avail. Instead, I sit here, thinking of her at this time of year, when the deepening of fall reminds me of things and people I have lost along the way. Living in LA generally deprives you of this sense of the passing of time. While many people glory in the monotony of southern California weather, I personally hate it. There is something to be said for nostalgia, for clinging desperately to the summer, for experiencing the sadness of having something slip out of your fingers irrevocably out of reach that more than anything reminds you of your own mortality.
Posted by babibi at 11:36 PM