Monday, May 11, 2009

Being (passive) agressive

What exactly is friendship?

No, don't balk just yet, I promise some of this will be funny, as I find it hard to ever be serious while writing, unless I'm in a mood (and on a complaint-letter roll), talking books literature, or tequila.

I've unfortunately had to reconsider attributing the nomenclature 'friend' to some of the participants in my real life relationships lately. I've had to, for my own sanity's sake, begin thinking of some folks as awesome drinking buddies (one can never have enough on several different continents), hospitable natives, and cool occasional hang-out acquaintances (and perhaps even put some others away in the 'better off without them'-locker). I've had to realize that I don't exactly have friends in South Africa.

This is unfortunate I know, and something that hits an expatriate without any other network, hard, but at least I have all you lovely peeps to be friends with, 'cos I feel I really am. Friends. With you. And like B, I really can't be bothered any longer with trying to avoid the web. I drink too much, I eat too much, why not add to the list: hang out in the web too much. Zambia's already making it very hard to have the blogosphere as a full time occupation, and the country is actually enabling me to read a book while I surf (yup. takes that long to load anything), so why beat myself up about it.

I feel better now. About my addiction(s) that is, still brooding over the other issue.

So what exactly makes me so gloomy about real world people (as in peeps outside of this here laptop)?

Well (and this might come off as tad cryptic, but I'm trying to explain this stuff to myself as I write), first of all, I don't need pity company. I'd like to have real friends who want to hang out with me because of my 'glorious' (even I'm not conceited enough to leave the apostrophes out) personality, not people who feel they have to drag me along, because the hubby is away. I have always been extremely good at entertaining myself, and quite happy to do so. I am, after all, a very efficient part-time hermit. This aspect of my (bordering on multiplicitous) personality makes it possible for us to lead the country-hopping life we lead, makes it possible for us to not see our families more than once a year, and makes it possible for me to ignore my friends back in Finland, Denmark, USA, and Mexico for months (sometimes years) only to suddenly re-enter into their lives as if no time has passed (okay. I realize this might not work for them, but this is all about me, me, ME). However, the people who will let me do this will have my undying love and loyalty. You know who you are.

Secondly, I can't bring myself to completely embrace people whose views on life are totally opposite to mine, or perhaps even offensive to me. I welcome a good discussion and can agree to disagree (not really) with the best of them, but there are opinions and then there is hatred. And I tend to object to hatred. I know I have mentioned this before: sometimes opinions in South Africa wear me out. Really wear me out.

Thirdly, my barrenness is nobody's business but mine (and perhaps the hubby's). I don't need pity (clearly not big on pity) and I'm having a fairly easy time dealing with this specific issue. Children are not be all end all. If I hear one more person who is not supposed to know, since I for sure have not said anything to them, say "when if you have children" I will permanently relocate into the blogosphere and only come out for wine and coffee (hubby will be forced to come with me) and the occasional non-virtual blog camp. I don't need to discuss my barrenness. Also, I wish people would stop justifying them hurting their children by saying that we, the poor childless freaks that we are, will surely change our tune once we have our own. There are so many levels of wrong to this that I won't even respond. Corporal punishment is illegal where I come from, and rightly so.

Fourthly, regardless of the copious upon copious amounts of alcohol I am capable of consuming on a daily (not to mention weekly) basis I also like to engage in other activities. I don't mind the occasional drunken discussion about weird ways of trying to lose weight, or how someone's husband got caught cheating, but what I would really appreciate would be an elaborate, rather academic discussion on literature. I have been dying to yab over the significance of societal rules in Cunningham's The Hours, or the concept of happiness in Nemirovsky's Fire in the Blood. This is why I have been putting together a book club for months. But somehow, even though there have been numerous planned and unplanned occasions for drinking that everyone has been able to attend, none of the members have ever been able to make it to a book club meeting. 

Lastly, I don't need to be accepted. If people don't like me, they don't have to hang out with me.

I'm not sure I should post this, but I feel like being honest. Completely honest regardless of how misunderstood this all will get. But that's where I am right now - so beyond caring that I have effectually exiled myself.

Okay, maybe the funny really was missing today.


Anandi said...

Don't worry about posting this. I think it'll actually win you more friends, 'genuine' acquaintences and drinking budies who actually want to be with you rather than alienate anyone.

Extranjera said...

Anandi - Thanks so much. I hope you're right.

Polly said...

That was actually very funny, as usual. And on 50% of the points - I know how you feel. I'm slowly getting to the stage where I'm thinking it's either blogging or real-time friends, can't have both, because there is no time for both! And I seem to be spending more and more and more time in the virtual world. It does seem better most of the time.

And if you do start that book club let me know! I'd love to academically discuss The Hours. After all I am an academic (albeit in a slightly different field)


Jelica said...

I like your way of thinking, perhaps because it is the same as mine. But not wanting to make a compromise with your views and values sometimes (most of the time) comes at a price, and that's loneliness (in real life, at least, if not in blogosphere).

And, by the way, I like your blog very much--such sense of humor!

Pattern and Perspective said...

Hey, Extranjera:

I rarely compromise on my beliefs either; however, I typically internalize them - It's particularly irritating when people voice their political & religious beliefs on others. I think life comes first, all that other stuff comes second. Being a good human being with a high standard of morals is the best course in life, for me.

People certainly would like to have good friends to drink with, talk with, etc; but sometimes, real life friends converse about such mundane issues. Who has the time or energy to talk about dull matters ie the weather? Not me...I don't have many real life friends, besides the bf, because my dad was in the military for 28 years. I moved so much, that my early years consisted of gaining friends and losing them, gaining friends and losing them, and so forth. Oh, well. That's life. You live with it.

I hear you on the kid thing. I'm 33...other mothers like to ram that crap down my throat. I have this disease which has caused much pain over the last 7 years. (It can be debilitating, but it's not like I'll die - I deal) I don't think I want anymore pain, nor do I want a flabby belly (sorry that just grosses me out!). I don't know what I want -- I don't like being bogged down. The hairdresser told me recently ... "if you don't have kids, who will take care of you when your old". Who has kids for this reason? I am quite sure if I had one, the child would be near perfection, but I always worry about the what ifs? Plus, my bf is 41...he'll be like Dave Letterman with a kid (okay, a bit younger)

M.J. said...

I definitely have "friends" of different levels. Like you said, some people are great party-partners, but not necessarily people you'd call for advice. Others are super nice and good trying-new-restaurant type friends, but really have little in common with you. People have their place--it's not cynical to admit it.

dutchbaby said...

My sister and brother-in-law chose to be childless and they've had to field comments for decades.

I loved Nemirovsky's "Suite Francaise"; is "Fire in the Blood" as compelling? Would be happy to discuss "Suite Francaise" ad infinitum.

iasa said...

I think Anandi is right.

Anyone interested in a virtual book club? I realise it may be somewhat like chess by mail but ....

Extranjera said...

Polly - Thanks. Perhaps we can start some sort of virtual book club thing? Things just don't seem to be panning out here on the ground, so why not try cyberspace.

Jelica - Unfortunately I already feel I've been doing quite a lot of compromising, more than i would like to actually. I really am drawing the line at unabashed hatred: racism, sexism, anti-semitism, and corporal punishment.

P & P - at least you have your bf! I'm lucky to have the hubby. And exactly, since when did my uterus become something other people can converse on. I hear you ('cept, for the flabby belly - already have one, made of wine probably, and am very comfortable with it).

MJ - Thanks for putting stuff into perspective for me!

dutchbaby - Unfortunately Suite Francaise wins hands down, but Fire in the Blood has it's own attraction. It is extremely calm and straight forward on the surface, but comes with an elaborate array of potential readings. An intelligent read if there ever was one. (I realize I'm giving myself a huge pat on the back, but hey, who else would?)

Extranjera said...

iasa - I'm in. I'm like running to get there!!! Love ya!

julochka said...

i hereby solemnly swear that no one at blog camp will make a single reference to your barrenness (unless it's in admiration), because that shit just ain't anyone else's business and frankly, it means one has to cut back on coffee and cut out the drinking, so it's not really all it's cracked up to be (don't get me wrong, i wouldn't trade S for the world, but you don't see me havin' another).

i too am getting quite a bit of my friend fix virtually, but i think that's quite ok. tho' a need to hang out and discuss books and drink together in person (rather than via twitter) was what prompted the whole blog camp thing.

not to toot my own horn (goodness knows it's practically worn out), but i have a theory on this friendship thing...and you are a cat love person. (you can read it here:

different people need different things from friendship, but i totally hear you on deep literary discussions (tho' The Hours wasn't on my list..i'm willing to read and discuss..but what about murakami, can we go there...maybe we could go down adjacent wells and just IM in the literary discussion....)

ok, getting silly now. must go refill glass of l'avenir chenin blanc...i'm in the lounge, after all.

marathoner81 said...

I love your serious comes from a very honest sincere place which makes me love your blog all the more. AND I love that you can drink copious amounts of alcohol one day and then engage in a kick ass discussion on literature the next.

Extranjera said...

julochka - you have found my achilles' heel: admiration (and free wine). And I agree, me without coffee and wine should never happen. To me or to any one in contact with me. I can go a little bonkers, especially if there is no coffee in the morning.

I am so looking forward to blog camp. You have no idea. It'll be awesome and it'll also take care of this issue for a while (although, how will I reconcile you being a virtual and a real live person... have to ponder this more...over wine)

Will have to catch up on my Murakami - only have one under my belt (and will now look on goodreads, since can't remember the name of it, it's the one where a runaway falls in love with the arrested self of a librarian?).

Happy travels and toot away (have not stumbled on the cat post bf)!

marathoner - Thanks. I can also multitask involving copious amounts of alcohol and talking of literature simultaneously. I have a dissertation to prove it (which I can never read again, lest I want to scare myself sober).

remember moments said...

I too, have friends on many different levels and even believe that I do not have a "best" friend. It is SO hard to make friends sometimes too, you just never know people anymore...oh and I have trust issues, so maybe that's an obstacle for me. LOL!!

Maybe if I got out more and started drinking I'd make more friends.

Cyndy said...

Just posted a comment that appears to have disappeared into cyberspace. Probably just as well, for it was too long. So here's the short version: virtual friends are better; promise, absolutely, to never refer to your uterus or from this point on to even use the word; my kids are my passion, but would never impose that on anyone else, unless they are looking for chaos. Really wish I could drink wine without falling asleep...

Vancouver's Enviro Girl said...

Once again confirming that we are sharing the same brain - it is really getting rather spooky. I could have written this myself and in fact am feeling the same today.

I have few friends outside of the blogosphere and used to feel bad about this, but no longer. I am also "barren" by choice and get EXTREMELY FRUSTRATED at having to deal with the flak and outrage of others at my choice not to have children. Like it's their business anyway, but I have yet to have anyone give me a satisfactory answer on why I SHOULD have children that is not selfish or about how wonderful they are. These are the same people I see with glazed over looks at the grocery store while their children scream at such a high frequency that dogs come running.

I think that I am officially in love with you and want to be your bloggy friend. And discuss books and subjects that don't involve inanities (though inanities are great too)

An Open Heart said...

Bravo! I, too, have been hounded with the kid question and often wondered why anyone would think it okay to ask such questions....and, am currently going through an assesement of what makes a friend and if finding out my 'friendship' was just an experiment on social opposites could be considered a friendship. Reaching out can be so complicated and often times's no wonder the internet is so popular!

I really enjoy you blog.

B said...

Extranjera, I can relate to so many of these things and I really appreciate you being so honest.
I'm learning to be more choosy when it comes to friendships, and like you, I don't want pity company, or don't want to hang out with someone if we don't have anything in common apart from the the fact that our partners are friends.
I think we connect with people in the blogosphere because we're likely to meet people with our same interests and sense of humour, we actually search for this people and stick around when we find them. We're not tied in through the past or social commitments, we actually choose to hang out with each other...
OK, this is too long already, but I'm also looking forward to blog camp but cannot imagine any of you as "real people".

Betty Noire said...

1) I think a virtual book club is a crap idea because we'll be drinking alone.

2) I think point 2 is in point 1 somewhere.

3) I have some friends.

Extranjera said...

remember moments - I think I'm lucky to not have alienated all of my blog peeps (bleeps?!?!) because of my drinking, and in the real world all that ever got me were some rather dodgy 'boyfriends' (pre-hubby), one very dodgy fiance (also pre-hubby), and heaps of drinking buddies. Studying lit. and book club brought me my best friends ever though... But you're right, it's tough making real friends!

Cyndy - blogging on my blog is allowed! I love kids, but can't really see myself as a mother at this point in my life. And truthfully doubt whether the drinking would provide a good environment (hubby doesn't drink though...). It's just that one kind of question that goes something like "what is wrong with you for not having children" that I have to object to.

VEG - Wavelength dude. Eerie. You know exactly what I'm thinking at this minute, right?

An open heart - I recommend putting it out there and finding out why you hang out with the people you hang out with and whether it's doing you any good. The opposite of me, ended up repelling rather than attracting...

B - Exactly! And i am seriously glad we'll all be meeting each other (how ever weird it will be to begin with...) at blog camp.

Vancouver's Enviro Girl said...

You are thinking, yes I think I will eat that chocolate on my hubby's pillow and save him the trouble of eating it himself. Or you are wondering if anyone spit in your latte today.

Extranjera said...

Betty -
1) I already drink alone.
2) Could be.
3) Me too, just not in South Africa.

VEG - I already ate it (who was I kidding), and yes spit is on my mind...

Cyndy said...

I'm beginning to think that people are just downright rude and have nothing better to do than to comment about our lives. I get the other end of the spectrum comments: 5 children?!? What were you thinking? Haven't you heard of over population? It's my taxes who pay for people like you! (please note we have never had used welfare of any sort, even when broke) What, are you Catholic? Yeah, real nice. On the other hand, many enjoying visiting with my kids--and they are even happier when they go home and finally get peace and quiet!

Extranjera said...

Cyndy - and sometimes people mean well and have no idea of the beehive they just stepped into ;o) My current concern is also about the fact that since I discussed something with one 'friend' it seems that my life became a sort of free-for-all and everyone I've ever met in South Africa is aware of my 'situation' and feels they all of sudden 'rank above me' in a number of discussions ... I hear you on the 'what were you thinking' flip side of the coin. Totally!

Cyndy said...

In my comment that disappeared into cyberspace I suggested that our "best friends" are our virtual friends because in the blogging world we like to talk about ideas, not about other people. I loathe gossip, which is a favorite pastime here in my little valley. It is stewed until thickened and then served generously to all with a side of cheap beer. The next day it takes a form of its own and spreads like wildfire. Sounds like you have a similar dish in South Africa, served often by your "friend."

Kirsi said...

If you're either couple without children or a single girl, everybody thinks your life is their business and all you've been needing is their intelligent advice!!! And those advices, they just keep on coming... Hate it, hate it! Love your honesty, you be you and never change! Love you.

Mrs.Rotty said...

sometimes a good gut honest post is like a snot rag for the soul. Sometimes you just need to blow. lol.

Fidgeting Gidget said...

I love your honesty. I can totally commiserate with you too...although I'm not sure I can spell commiserate correctly. Being in Canada away from family in the US has taught me a lot about who my REAL friends are versus my friends that claim to be real friends, but in reality are friends of convenience, meaning that they used to hang out with me because there was something in it for them, but now that I'm hours and expensive phone calls away, they've forgotten my name and what I look like and the only way I see them any more is if I make the effort. My friends in Canada are nice, but they don't know the real me and I, too, often feel like they drag me along because they feel "bad" for me.

I'm with you, I'd like to sit around and drink all day. It's much less complicated.

And the fact that you read while your blogs load is awesome. Annoying, I'm sure, but you're totally a multi-tasker. Especially if you have a drink in the other hand.

My name is Erin. said...

I once worked with a woman who had been married for 7 years and had no children. I was 17 at the time and just a "baby" myself. I asked her if she and her husband ever planned on having kids. She said that she was fairly certain that she would be an abusive parent and she loved her unborn children enough to never put them in that situation. I thought it was one of the most honest, loving things I'd ever heard a person say. I respected her so much for her stance and I still do. I've told this story many times over the years.

It's so ridiculous to expect children to complete ones life. It rarely works out that way. I love being a mother (like 92% of the time), but sometimes I really, really miss reading away a whole day, binge drinking martinis until 4 am and then sleeping in until noon, only to get up, drink some coffee, eat something greasy and go back to bed until 3 or 4. Not that I've given this fantasy much thought or anything..... *sigh*.

I was a complete person, before my children and I liked who I was. I am a complete person now and I like who I am. But everything has changed now. If I didn't have them, I would no longer be complete. And that scares me.

So yeah... fok anyone who wants to get all up in yo bidness! Word.

(that was my first official use of the spelling "fok". It felt good.)

Pattern and Perspective said...

Wow, I came back to read through the comments again, because this post was actually one I really understood. (Sometimes, I can't tell if you are serious about the drinking thing or not..? I just don't know...I am one who takes things literally so I have a bit of a hard time reading people. I digress...are you serious?)

It seems there are a few of your readers without little ones. Some make a choice; some do not.
Mine is more the latter I think, but disease has ruined my brain and the whole thought process on the matter of bearing any -- the thought process actually doesn't occur anymore.

Oh, well. I have a dog & 2 cats, who don't yell at me or talk back so I'm good!

The new book blog project seems promising.

Extranjera said...

Cyndy - I guess that's what a lot of people like, also when not that much else is going on. I just wish not everything was fair game.

Kirsi - Thanks! I know you understand exactly what I'm talking about. Love you right back!

Mrs. Rotty - blowing my nose like nobody's business ;o)

Fidgeting Gidget - Thanks! I really do detest feeling
like I'm being invited because someone feels bad for me - I just want to shout that I don't need that kind of pity and they wouldn't be my first choices for friends had i had proper choice. A bit cruel but true.

Erin - Word! And an awesome story.

P & P - Don't worry. Sometimes I'm not sure whether I'm serious or not myself...

spiros said...

Reading your latest entry has started making my think about the baby thing! Three of my closest friends are pregnant and they are really upset with me when i told them i dont want kids for many many reasons. All, I can say is that 80% of the people I know who have kids are the most boring people in the world. They never talk about anything else but the baby ate, shat, pissed Elaine in "Seinfeld" said " THE DINGO ATE YOUR BABY!". I think there are many beauties in the world, and tons of things to experience and yes having children is one of them but it is not the only one! My experience with parents is always that of boredom. I feel like parents many times get brainwashed and all they talk about is babies, babies, babies and guilt trips about not doing your biological goal (yes i have been told that) and for breaking my parents heart (and yes i have been told that too!)...that is why i avoid breeders as much as i can!

Extranjera said...

spiros - I do love a parent who can also be something besides. Definitely give you that!

Just Jules said...

goodness sakes - what a bit of commenting going on....

I understand the blog love you are getting though. At the top of my blog notebook (given to me by julochka - thank you) is "how does one make friends when they are an adult, it's not like our mommies will or should make play dates for us(God forbid!)"

I have only two "real" friends and that is because I have upped the anty on friendship - if you are not a genuine, good person, who is only seeking friendship I don't want you around. There are few left in my roster...sigh. But so it goes.

I am at home most often - people don't just knock on the door and ask to be friends - creepy thought. Plus, if you meet someone it's not like a bar where you can ask for their number to go to the movies... double sigh

Ok too late, don't want to get into this funk - to bed!

Extranjera said...

Jules - I'm with you. Unfortunately it seems that that is the way the world works. Wish it wasn't...
Thank Zeus for the blogosphere.