Monday, March 22, 2010

Foxes and shooting stars

I have the best patio ever.

Sure, it's loaded with all sorts of grit, filth and crap, but it's classy crap, mind you. Bourgeois things like potting soil and empty flower troughs and plant experiments and liquor bottles and ashtrays and overflowing shopping bags full of patio garbage, plus three mismatched chairs and a rickety card table. Our apartment is on the ground floor, so the view from there is spectacular. For example, I can watch my neighbors' torsos as they cook--or erm, cut--or erm, do something in the kitchen, and I know when they go for a shower or a shit, and I know how long their children stay awake.

Since the arctic permafrost settled in some six months ago, I haven't been using the patio for anything much really, much less spying on my boring neighbors. It was too cold to smoke, too cold to sit, too cold to stand. The only thing it's been good for since October is keeping beverages cold (hence the liquor bottles). But in the last few days, the temperature has been so humane that we've been sitting out there of an evening and enjoying a non-alcoholic beverage or three.

Night before last, the 'Stoph and I were sitting out there, solving the problems of religion, politics, ethics and the world and gazing into the heavens when the longest, shiniest, sparkliest shooting star you've ever seen bisected the sky. It was so long that we had to actually move our necks as if we were watching a tennis ball being volleyed across a court. There was something magical about sharing that moment, since all the shooting stars I've ever seen have been too short for anyone else to have seen them, unless they'd been looking at the exact same place at the exact same time I was, which has never happened.

Of course, in reality, all we watched was a particularly large and stubborn space-turd entering the Earth's atmosphere at the wrong angle (idiot!) but it did seem to be special at the time.

Last night, I was out there with a book and a Club Maté and a cigarette when out of the corner of my eye I spotted something larger than a cat and smaller than a dog with a longish tail clumsily creeping around on the other side of the lawn. After having seen several of them and even gotten close enough to touch one, I'm not sure why I'm always so surprised to see foxes in our courtyard, but it never fails to catch me off-guard. A mix of fascination and fear compels me to first whistle and click at the fox, then prepare myself for flight in case he decides to charge. Naturally, this has never been the case, as, for whatever reason, foxes do not seem to be aggressive toward humans, at least not in the city.

So the fox and I had a pleasant little stare-down, me clicking and whistling, and he pausing every few seconds to see who the hell was making stupid noises in his courtyard, and me wondering how high he could jump (some of them can even jump over the moon) and whether or not I could slip indoors before he came to chew my scalp off. Then he got down on his belly, out of the floodlight that illuminates the pedestrian path, and slunk off into the moonlit night.

I should really savor and appreciate these sightings while they last, as, in a few months, the most interesting things I'll be seeing in the courtyard are drunkards pissing on our bushes and teenagers fucking, without condoms, in the trees.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Why do you have to make this weird?

Have you ever been in love with a friend, or had a friend be in love with you? Maybe (hopefully) you were in 10th grade, and although your friend had a boy- or girlfriend, you still hoped beyond hope that one day they would see that their significant other was not really quite as well suited to them as you were. And you fantasized about the day it would happen, the day they would look deep into your eyes and tell you that really, they did know all the time, but they were so terrified of the intimacy that would follow if they acted upon their true feelings, because they've never opened up to anyone the way they've opened up to you, and although you are overweight and not very attractive and have not so many friends and do not drive a car and must be picked up after band practice in your father's 78 Chevy with the red door and the puke green body and there is usually a strange and pungent aroma wafting up from your shoes they find you the most beautiful thing they've ever seen. And then they lean in, and you lean in, and at first you just brush lips, and then your bodies melt into one another's and blah blah blah happily ever after the end Amen.

Hopefully, though, unless you happen to be 14 at the moment, you have moved past such silliness. The friend NEVER leaves his/her girlfriend/boyfriend for you. In fact, it is likely that the friend will go through several relationships during the course of your infatuation and never even once think to look in your general direction for physical intimacy. S/he never thinks you are all that beautiful, and although s/he enjoys your company, s/he really does notice the smell coming from your shoes. For these, and multiple other reasons--the most important being that you two are friends and nothing more--you will never get with the friend.

Friend zone is a very stable place. Unless the two people involved are both wildly, madly in love or hate with one another, friend zone is so constant that any changes undergone are too subtle to be noticed at once. For example, you may grow closer and closer to a friend and find that they are now one of your best friends, while not long ago they were a mere acquaintance. What is not likely to happen is that one day, you turn around and find that you are head-over-heels in love with your friend.

As I say, friend zone is a stable place, so it's only the dreamers, hippies, and other unwashed creative types who believe they can drastically alter its borders or rules.

But what about a good friend, who loves you, and thinks you may cheat, and nudges you and attempts to tempt you into cheating, although you are married? And have been in the same relationship for going on five years?

Is that actually a friend... at all?

I'm starting to wonder if there is a false friend here with me in friend zone.