A friend of mine stopped by the other day with a cigar and some 12 year aged bourbon. We lived together for five years and I’d forgotten how I missed our evening chats. It’s funny how, sometimes, you don’t miss someone until they suddenly stand before you.
It makes me wonder how much I would miss Male if he could suddenly show up at my door with a cigar and bourbon. Then, I think that every neuron, neutron and quark of the meatsack that is me already misses him as much as it possibly can.
Eventually, I won’t even remember what his face looked like without the aid of pictures. The entirety of Male is already fading. I can picture his lips, hands, chest and eyes with utter clarity as if he’s in front of me, but the whole of his meatsack is a little blurrier. I can’t remember his feet or ears.
My friend and I got to discussing another friend of ours whom we’ve both known since she was a teenager, or at the very least, since her early 20s. That is to say, he’s known her since she was a teenager, but I came later. I’ve only been in this group of friends, Male’s group of friends, for about fifteen years since I moved to Los Angeles.
The friend we were discussing used to be cool. She was fearless and fun and didn’t mind fun being poked in her direction. When I met her, she was a virgin. She lost her virginity in film school and she changed. I’m not sure if it was the loss of virginity, the film school or some combination thereof that did it, but she changed.
She became someone who harped on and on about whatever thing she was into without any regard for whether or not her audience cared. She became one of those film school types, a phrase that makes utter sense to anyone who has lived in Los Angeles for more than a minute, but doesn’t mean a lot to the rest of the world.
A film school type is not dissimilar to any other type of person who goes to school–this predominantly applies to post-graduate study, but not exclusively–for one obscure thing they’re really into that the rest of the world doesn’t much care about.
For example, I’ve run into quite a few philosophy major types. They talk a lot about philosophy. I like philosophy as much as the next guy and I’m rather well-steeped in it for an autodidact, but I prefer making my own, not picking a store-bought one from the shelf. I’d rather read an autobiography than a biography.
You’re probably thinking, well, I like films. I even like talking about films. Film talk doesn’t sound as boring as philosophy talk. And, while it’s true that most people prefer moving pictures to philosophy, film school types take it to the extreme. They don’t talk about films like the rest of us, e.g. I like David Fincher movies; they talk about films in technobabble that I can’t even replicate with any degree of accuracy, because it tends to go out the other ear. There is a vast difference between movies and films.
They will point out flaws in your favorite movies so that you also notice those flaws. They will ruin your favorite movie for you. They always have obscure, but awful choices of movies “you need to see.” The movies they like are technically correct, but terrible to watch for anyone who isn’t also a film student. Do not watch a film-student recommended movie unless you are also a film student, in which case, I won’t watch anything you recommend.
My friend with the bourbon and I were discussing our film school friend. He and another friend have given her a new title: The Patron Saint of Butthurt. I laughed, but then I thought about it, and it’s perfect. Film school friend is perpetually butthurt about something or other. A breakup, the destruction of some archival film print, the state of bicycling in LA, the fact that I never call her… there’s always something to be butthurt about in her world.
He said, “We decided that she just isn’t built for LA. She would do much better in some small town somewhere, preferably with lots of film festivals.”
I said, “I’m beginning to think that maybe I’m not built for LA either.” Unintentionally, all the hurt over Male’s death spilled out into my voice.
He ineffectually tried to collect it in his old fashioned glass, “Perhaps that’s true, but I can’t see you in a small town. You need a city.”
“Perhaps a small city. I should light a candle to The Patron Saint of Butthurt for guidance.”
What was unsaid spoke volumes. He and I both know that a change of venue won’t help anything. I’ve tried that twice before. That old adage, “wherever you go, there you are” is entirely too true. No matter where I go, the hurt will follow. The only difference is that there won’t be anyone to try to collect it for me.