Quote of the day: “I like my shit clean. My house is clean, I’m a Nelly. If the Pschys wanna call me Obsessive Compulsive they can dig their dead grandmothers up and fuck them in the asses.”
That’s courtesy of my 73-year-old friend Pete. Most people don’t understand our relationship. Basically, he’s a crotchety, lonely septuagenarian with a penchant for long legs and cuss words and I’m his 30-year-old link to the world of laptop computers and grad-school cook-outs and other forms of technology. We met at The ArtsCenter when he loudly cursed me out for not knowing the name of the band playing at a club in the next town.
“You call yourselves a fuckin AwtsCentuh?”
“Yeah, we do,” I said, “The CARRBORO ArtsCenter, not the Chapel Hill ArtsCenter. Hey, is that a Preservation Hall hat? Are you from New Orleans?”
And that was that. He and I both came to North Carolina from New Orleans and based on this one common trait, we have been friends for over a year. He comes to family holidays and my dad bought him a computer and a television with a DVD player built in. Pete writes my mom Get Well cards when she doesn’t feel good and he spends every other day telling me I’m shit, then immediately apologizing for it. He’s alienated lots of people in his life, but we ignore that because he’s just living how he knows, and we get that. He’s interesting, and I don’t really have the energy to expound on that at the moment.
I wonder what Pete will do this Thanksgiving? We’re pretty much all he’s got. I suppose I can have Thanksgiving dinner at my house this year, if my oven ever gets fixed. (It won’t.) My parents split up a few weeks ago after thirty years of marriage and I’m hella resentful, as if it’s about me. I’m only putting it here because I know they don’t read this blog and I feel like shouting it out somewhere. I can’t yell about it on the Spacebook because I swear they’re both logged in to their profiles constantly.
It’s not important for me to bitch about it. That’s not what I need. What I need is to know that it’s okay to want to eschew all immediate relationships in favor of just sitting around wondering where my role models went. It’s okay to cultivate long-distance relationships because there’s no lingering obligation. It’s okay to become completely obsessed with hanging out with people with whom I share no mutual attraction just because it’s easier. I need to know that when I am 73, I will have friends. I need to know that when my dad is 73, he will have friends other than me. I’m pretty sure that they’re not getting back together, and that scares me because we all deserve three things in life: A Pretty Dress that Fits, A Chair with a Back on it, and Someone to Grow Old With. He’s only got one. My mom has two. But we can’t only rely on clothes and furniture.
I’m not swearing off relationships by any stretch. I just don’t know what I’m working towards anymore. My parents have scared me. I feel weird and unpredictable and that’s a terrifying feeling because if you’re unpredictable even to yourself, then what CAN you rely on? I’m too old to want to do anything sexually frivolous. I’m too disorganized to start a family. I recently got dumped by someone eight years my junior, whose main reason was that he didn’t like my goals. (My goals are: buy a bar, buy a house, buy an ironing board, in whichever order.)
It’s like that Jeff Buckley lyric, “Too young to hold on, too old to just break free and run.”
I gotta go to work. Since my AC is broken, I have started to sweat through my second outfit today, so I have to go change clothes. I can’t stand that feeling of sweat. If you wanna call me Obsessive Compulsive, that’s fine. Go find your grandma. You know what to do.