Thursday, August 7, 2008
I'm obsessed with you. No, not you, handsome male celebrity with well-defined jawline and prominent chin cleft. And not you either, starlet with perfect eyebrows and remarkable lack of body fat. Certainly not you, tight pants wearing rock star. Or you, bestselling author. No, I'm actually talking to you, person who is my friend. Hi. I'm your number one fan.
But before you think I'm a typewriter-wielding psychopath who might lock you up in a mountain cabin and cut off your feet, let me just add...
When I was about 11 years old, my mother was convinced that I would never have friends and therefore pushed me to make plans with random people.
"Ask so-and-so if she wants to go for a Coke after school," or "That so-and-so is a nice person. And smart too! If you ever wanted to hang out with her on a weekend and go to a movie, you don't have to ask my permission. Just go." Some of them were people I had never even talked to before. I could only imagine approaching someone and saying, "Hey, want to go get a Coke after school? No? How about some coleslaw? No?"
Let's face it. I wasn't the most desirable person to hang out with. My interests involved repeated reading of the same Nancy Drew books, poking mysterious things with sticks, and repeating my dad's snake killing stories. I had unicorn posters. I listened to old records and performed bedroom karaoke to Crystal Gayle. Most of the things I said started with the words, "Wanna hear something gross?"
Of course, my mom meant well with her pushing. She didn't want me to spend my entire life totally friendless. Friendless people amount to one of two things in life: serial killing and dressing their cats up like people.
I never bothered with creating social events for myself because I was entirely convinced that everyone hated me and would really rather not. Blame it on one too many forgotten birthday invites or being picked last at kickball or whatever. I thought I was a repellent loser and had an "EVERYBODY HATES ME" complex fifteen miles long. Even today, when people RSVP yes to my birthday parties, it confuses me a little bit. Like maybe they're only saying yes so they can show up and pelt me with my own cupcakes.
You see, I lived out in the middle of nowhere as a kid, literally 16 miles from the closest town or person close to my age. And I was terrified of using the phone. (Because what if I said something dumb? What if my friend's dad answered, didn't know who I was, and hung up on me?) And since I was so lonely and apparently friendless, I would have long conversations with our horse, the sky, a dog, myself, and my imaginary best friend D.J. Tanner.
That's right. D.J. Tanner. From Full House. No one in the world understood me the way that she and Lady--our 15-year-old, overweight, fat, and lazy quarter horse--did. D.J. Tanner didn't care that I talked to trees and animals. She thought it made me interesting and unique. And Lady knew when I was having a bad day. She would stand right next to the gate so that I could sit on her back and talk for as long as I wanted.
So now that I've vented all my repressed childhood friendlessness, I'll get to the point.
I eventually made some actual friends (and got over my fear of the telephone). And sometimes I talk about them obsessively. Chances are, if you have spent five minutes with me, I have spent 15 minutes telling someone else about how much fun we had.
A co-worker once interrupted me in the middle of a hilarious anecdote involving my friend T to tell me that I spend way too much time talking about T. (I suspect that he was just jealous that I would never tell a hilarious anecdote about him.) It made me think to myself, "Huh, do I talk about people too much? Is that wrong? It is abnormal? Am I a freak?" So I attempted to corral my anecdotes. But it didn't last long. And then I realized how much I hated hanging out with my asshole co-workers anyway. Lesson learned: you don't have to be friends with everybody.
I think I obsess because, deep down, I want people to know that I now have the ability to make friends. That I'm not that dork out leaning over the gate having a conversation with my best equine pal or dreaming up an 80s dance party with D.J. Tanner. In short, I just want people to like me, unicorn posters and all. Therefore, I obsess. I tell stories. I bake you cookies. I take care of your cat when you go on vacation. I email you every single day. I make myself into a royal pain in the butt so that you never forget that we're friends. And if you don't like it, that's just too bad. Because when you become friends with me, we're friends foreeeeever. I'll be on you like caramel on apples for the rest of our mutual lives. So.....
Want to get a Coke later?