Over the last few weeks i've been asking myself if i'm perhaps borderline psychopathic. The term came into common, everyday use with the episodes of Dexter (what a show, right?!?), but these days i find myself looking inward quite a bit. The thing is - i don't feel much of any emotion really. Yes, i have cried tears while watching a film - mostly about peoples' solitude and its various expressions - because somewhere it obviously touches a chord. And ofcourse i feel irritation and anger, and i find humour in situations. But it's all 'in the moment'.. as in, i don't think there's any... sentimentality?.. linked to the people or the occasion. Sometimes i think that maybe because i'm so acutely aware of my aloneness is why i may have gone to the other extreme and shut off my sensory valves.
It all came to a head one day when i decided to watch a favorite band play. I invited about 8 people to come along. ALL of them cancelled, and mostly for perfectly legitimate reasons too. One wasn't well, two were out of town, one's friend had recently died, one was at work. But there were a few who were just out of line (or maybe i felt that way because i so really wanted to go for the show and i hardly ever impose on my friends to do anything!) - one who forgot to return a phonecall to confirm his attendance and the other - Vinter - with whom the conversation went something like this:
Vinter: Just got back home
Me: Great. I'm still at my edit, So why don't i see you directly at the venue..?
Vinter: Oh.. umm.. by what time will you be done?
Me: I'm almost done, it'll just take me a really long time to get back home, pick you up and then head out...
Vinter: Oh.. you know the traffic is a nightmare..
Me: Yeah i know, i'll be facing it too
Vinter: Umm.. You've got company right? Apart from me?
Me: But listen, if you're not upto it, it's fine..
Vinter: Really? If you want i'll come
Me: Yes ofcourse i want you to come (that's why i invited you a week ago, right?) but if you don't want to, then that's ok..
Vinter: Well, if you're giving me an out, i'll take it
Me: ofcourse you will.. allrighty, gotta go.
And I used to count her among my closer friends. Notice the past tense? I figure if a friend takes an out that is there, then what makes her any different from the thousand of other acquaintances i have?
Lately, i find myself referring to a few other close friends as 'acquaintances'. Sony Mony who, through her own admission, was using me for my 'talents and contacts' to further the reach of her business. Her exact words were, "Have i chosen the wrong person to ask to do something for me?" To put this in some kind of context - I was helping Sony Mony create written material for her business - ideas, presentations, workshops, etc. It was mostly as a favor. Then, when i'd forgotten to mail her something, she called me out of the blue and went on the offensive. Not good. When Baz Luhrmann said about some unexpected things coming at you at 4 pm on a tuesday afternoon - this is what he meant. After 2 weeks of the silent treatment, i finally broke and asked her if she ever wanted to discuss what had happened that afternoon of her unprovoked outburst and she said, 'Really? I hadn't even noticed that anything had happened." Well, if i haven't been missed, then i guess i'm not that important. Why make someone a priority when you're just an option, right? So, that's another "good friendship" that got tossed out.
The thing is - apart from a mild irritation (like a burr in the bonnet) and a sense of injury - i don't really miss either of them. They hail me every now and then and i'm always polite, but... it's gone. On good days i figure that it's just deadwood that's been sloughed off - people who treat you badly do not deserve the consideration that they have been receiving. On other days, i wonder if i'm a psychopath - unfeeling, untouched, destined to be alone forever - and maybe just a little too stringent in my standards of friendship.
And then i wonder, if the true mark of a fulfilled life is how you are, how you love, how you treat yourself and the people around you, then am i screwing up irredeemably?