I ended up in the exurbs the other night, strange to be among immaculate lawns and corporate parks and long roads. One of my friends plays bass at a church out there and invited me to come out and hang with them, it's one of those groups for older young people which isn't called a singles group but could function as such.
I'm a little skittish around large groups of clean-cut people, I joke, but no one here seems to mind my black t-shirts and strange sense of humor. I'm so used to being around working-classers and underemployed liberal arts graduates that I go into a little bit of culture shock in a world where the girls are way more dressed up, and have accessories of affluence, really nice watches and whatnot, the cars in the parking lot make my beater with the broken fender look out of place, the guys are wearing things I never see in the city like the occasional chinos and topsiders and polos in pastel colors.
But everyone I talked to seemed very nice, and it was kind of refreshing to be somewhere full of people my age who aren't sporting any ironic affectation. You know you're sick of hipster accoutrements when you find a strange comfort in middle American normality. But it was the friendliness that got me, and the message that night wasn't intellectually vapid, so I might come back. If anything, meeting some nice girls and not running into anyone that seemed like future soulmate material made it easier. And I also talked to homie's roommate and we might be starting a band soon, since we like the same music and live near each other.
It's funny, we dress exactly alike, he says. And we do. Jeans and converse sneakers and t-shirts of bands we like. I'm way more girly than I once was, but I'm conscious of the lack of difference still. I drive home through the hot summer night listening to Nothing's Shocking and wonder how all the social anxiety I used to feel completely seemed to dissolve itself. There's still social situations that turn me into mush, but fewer and fewer do.
And yet last night I was driving home and feeling stupid for other things, for feeling things that are normal and human, of unrequition, of cynical sour grapes (it wouldn't work out anyway), of what-could-have-beens and it-was-never-meant-to-bes. The feelings of deep affection for my friends both male and female are probably more intense than some, but that's different than this. Absence maybe doesn't make the heart grow fonder, but it masks the inconvenience of seeing those day to day things that would render someone more human and less attractive, and sometimes it's worse to see them again and feel all of those emotions shuttered so carefully away bubble to the surface once more. I could blame the hormones, and maybe that's all it is, but it's a terrible feeling.