Happy cats make for happy homes

adolescence Alabama beliefs blogging calm change Chicago crisis crushes dreams family fear flint hills food friends happiness health being a hippie holiday home internship kids loss love magic memories money music parties perfection plants projects relationships relaxation reminiscing ritual school social work issues spirits sports stress style the South violence weather weather worries writing



Go now. Go.

There’s something about Sunday night
that really makes you want to kill yourself
Subscribe to this blog
for e-mail updates

Monday, August 13, 2007

Getting to know you

When I was a freshman in college, I was hanging out a lot with a guy named Tony who got a new roommate halfway through the first semester, Gene. Tony spent a lot of time away from the room, because he didn't know the guy--thought he was weird. One night I went over there when both of them were home, and instead of going out, I had both of them settle in, and I gave Gene the third degree. For the next few hours, he talked about himself and answered every question I could think to ask. (It was fairly easy; I quickly discovered Gene really liked to talk about himself.) By the end of the evening, Tony knew Gene inside and out, and Gene was my new best friend.

College was conducive to getting to know people. Everyone seemed eager to throw everything they were at everyone they met, "this is me, this is me!". I remember hours and hours of bad poetry (most of it mine), shared in cramped dorm rooms. For a long time, that's how I began relationships (what did I know? Then I was a novice.)--by reading all my tortured poetry, and listening to theirs. Once an entire (albeit shortlived) relationship revolved around sharing Jim Morrison lyrics.

I felt I'd miss out on friendship and relationship opportunities if I didn't spill everything. Or that there couldn't be any secrets; someone couldn't really get to know me unless they knew everything.

The older I get, the less comfortable I am with that. Who I really am is a protective layer, and I feel too exposed to share it all too soon. Thus, I am somewhat taken aback by people who share (what I think is) too much, who become friends too quickly. Sometimes I find people with whom I am immediately comfortable. I talk and talk, and while I should take that as a sign that I've met a compatible soul, later, I'm still a little embarrassed, to realize how much I've revealed.

I'm drawn to the quieter, more reticent people. (It's a trap I fell into all too easily when dating, believing it was the shy boys who held the real mystery. My friend Bob said, "maybe they're just boring," but I always believed I was the one to whom they'd open up.) It does seem more exciting, finding things out slowly, and infinitely more satisfying. It's getting to gradually form an entire picture bit by bit in your mind yourself, rather than being presented at once with the entire thing.

But sometimes it makes for surprises. I have a friend from school whom I adore. It's taken a while to get to know her, but now we are fairly close. The only thing about her that I can't reconcile is that she hates cats and dogs. The idea I have in my head of her, the one that's been constructed by slowly getting to know her (and other friends agree) is that she most definitely would be a cat lover. It baffles me that my assessment was wrong. But I suppose that's the interesting part of it, too, reconfiguring who I believe she is.

Labels: , ,


Blogger Lesley said...

I always think it's funny that most people told me I would meet all my life-friends at college. With the exception of Topher (a sort of obvious exception!), I can't think of anyone from ESU I still keep in touch with, not even my two roommates that I adored. (Of course, I'm not counting you and others who went there from Marion) I do remember college being all about the all-night bare your soul kinds of conversations... I sort of enjoyed it then, when there was time and energy. But now, those who give up too much too soon really does freak me out, too. Makes me feel as though I've been forced closer to them -- and maybe I don't want to be. Plus, I also like seeing what people reveal slowly over time and what is surprising or different from first impression.

7:34 AM  
Blogger cilee said...

This is so me. Sometimes I wonder how you say exactly what is in my heart.

9:56 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger.
Get awesome blog templates like this one from BlogSkins.com