Thursday, September 9, 2010

Obsessed at First Sight: A Cautionary Tale

Now that I’ve earned your trust and become someone you look to for guidance in all areas of life, I think it’s high time I start handing out some free advice.

Today I’d like to share a little piece of wisdom that I wish someone had told me earlier in life: Tread carefully when making new friends. Maybe just stick your toes in at first to see how the water feels...then wait a full 48 hours before diving in, just in case you have an allergic reaction or there are waterborne amoebas in there, invisible to the naked eye.

Let me go ahead and make a preemptive disclaimer here: if you and I have recently become friends, don’t worry, I’m not talking about you. Probably.

Now I’m going to present a scenario that is totally made up and not real. It most certainly did not happen to me in the spring of 2005 while I was attending Collin County Community College.

Let’s say you meet someone and you seem to hit it off instantly. You both love to sing! You both think smiling is good! You’re both embarrassed that you go to a community college because you know you’re smart enough for a real university, but lack the drive and stick-to-itiveness to pick a freaking major already! YOU WERE MEANT TO BE BESTIES!!!

But as time goes on and you start spending way too much time together, you start to notice little things that you don't love as much as you expected. You do have a lot in common...but something’s not quite right. Then one day it hits you: the only things you have in common are all the most annoying parts of yourself. You  introduce her to your other friends to get their opinions, and all your suspicions are confirmed. This chick is possibly the most annoying person on the planet. Overzealousy strikes again! (Yes, I just made that word up using the grammatical rules one would usually apply to the same form of the word jealousy.) Your eagerness to get out there and have the “college experience” even though you don’t go to a real college has completely backfired, and now you have to dispose of her somehow. (Tangent: Where exactly you got the idea that strangers were automatically going to be better than the friends you already had, I’ll never know. I can only assume you read it in a college catalog, right underneath that paragraph where they told you how important it is to pay thousands of dollars for a piece of paper that would “open doors to the career of your dreams.” You’ll later find out that even though you decided to quit school after three and a half years because you realized just in the nick of time that being an elementary school teacher was likely the quickest way to land you in a mental institution and that you were really sick of not being married to Gary Gray, you’ll still make the same amount of money for doing the same job as the girl with the very expensive engineering degree next to you, but the difference is that she will be paying off those student loans for the rest of her life and YOU will be rich. Not really. But you won’t be suffocated by crushing debt. Probably.)

The situation is made stickier by the fact that when you met her other friends, you actually got along with them, so not only are you trying to figure out ways to hang out with her friends without her actually being there; you are now being forced to face the fact that you are operating inside one of two possible realities:

1. This girl is an expert at tricking cool people into being friends with her, or

2. You are just as annoying as she is, if not more so.

In an effort to make yourself feel better, you add “make sure you’re cool and not lame” to the pile of things you’re trying to accomplish. You ask your much cooler younger sister if she’d mind burning you a couple CDs with some of her cool kid indie music on them so you can try to pass yourself off as a normal and non-annoying person, but this only causes you to feel less cool and more lame because you had to ask someone for tips on how to act cool and are now listening to some dude whose voice reminds you of a whiny sheep who, from the sound of things, is in the process of dying a slow and painful death.

Eventually you become disgusted with yourself for trying so hard, and it becomes clear what you have to do. You have to break it off, and you have to do it now.

Friendvorce is always messy, but this one proves to be particularly gruesome because you forgot to take into account that you lent her 10 of your favorite CDs a couple weeks ago. You hold a quiet memorial service for your Ace of Base CD in your bedroom, because you’re so Young and Proud that you just can’t bring yourself to talk to this girl on the phone ever again.

Don’t despair; the healing will come – it just takes time. Some day you’ll pirate back each and every song on those lost CDs and won’t even feel bad about it because you know you paid for them at one time. And then one day, perhaps about five years later, you’ll be in a place where you can talk about it again, and at that time you’ll be able to use your tragic story to help others.

The moral of this story: Downloading music on LimeWire is ok if you have purchased those songs at some point in your life but lost them as a result of committing to a friendship with too little consideration for the fact that the friend in question might have the capacity to destroy your reputation for life.

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