Posts tagged ennui
It’s been a little while since I posted – a few things have happened, and I’ll do a more detailed and thrilling exposé shortly, I promise. Right now though, I want to tell a brief story.
Those of you who stalk my daily life on Facebook may have noticed on Saturday just gone I posted the following as a status update:
What a fracking odd day so far. Slept in which was nice, breakfast at gastronome which was delicious and ran into a patient whose baby I delivered a month or two ago which was lovely, coffee at elephant boy which started well until… well, ran into someone very unexpected, then went to Dick Smith and bought DVDs to master MedRevue and found out that they didn’t work in my burner, returned them and… same damn problem with another brand & kind, so that’s irritating as all hell, and now I’m sitting at home feeling trifled with.
Now, some people know a little of the story, some people none at all, and in a way I’d wanted to keep it at that. It’s something that I’ve exorcised in various ways in the past, but as I found myself fuming down the pavement on the way home, a line from my on-again-off-again novel elohim came to mind – “no more ghosts.” Thus, this post.
When I was studying creative arts I made a group of very good friends, all amazingly wonderful people. One of them in particular at the time, I was taken with for quite an extended period. We did the good friends thing, the flirt thing, the coffee thing, lunch, etc. Everything was, how you say, “on track” until Something Happened.
Something? Yes. What? Who knows, honestly. To use a crude term that I write infrequently – I have no fucking idea what happened. We went from being very close, kind of dating, etc, and then boom, I was suddenly figure of contempt number one. I shrugged and tried to move on as best I could, but it got worse – all of a sudden any comment I made in a class, regardless, was punctuated by very interesting facial expressions and occasional vocal disparagement. I began to be excluded from social events, initially that she was organising, and gradually fell off the radar. By the end of the degree, I think a year had gone by where we’d have been lucky to exchange words half a dozen times – going from multiple emails/texts in a day to a wall of silence was something rather dramatic, as it seems.
At any rate, I did shrug and move on. I was seeing someone else, life was going very well, medicine was starting up, etc. She continued at the uni but I encountered her at a distance maybe once or twice – and by this point I’d given up on building that bridge and was now simply in a “forget, forgive” mode.
I attended the launch of the creative arts student magazine in 2009 then – some two years after we’d exchanged words. Facebook told me a few hours before that she would be there, but hey. I’d moved past any rancour, and I figured apart from a few pleasantries I’d spend the night chatting with other friends – and I tried. I did get a cold shoulder though… to the extent that I was physically ignored, and it spread from her to another friend as well. That was… disconcerting. After all, those that know me know that I tend to get along well with people – almost anyone, as a matter of fact. All part of the personal charisma, as Miles puts it. This situation though, with my creative arts ‘friend’, was a shock to the system.
Fast forward almost exactly two years and I’m sitting in Bowral in my favourite café, having a coffee and reading on my eReader, when a voice from the past says “hello Ben!”. No, not her, but a mutual friend who’s engaged to one of my other creative arts friends. We chatted briefly, and then she told me – oh yes, I’m here with so and so and such and such. Come and say hi! We’re right next to the door.”
My internal monologue at that point was something explicit. That said… I did it. I ordered a second coffee to go, and went and said hello/goodbye. I actually got acknowledged, too, which was interesting, even if it was a smile and a nod that still had a flavour of contempt about them.
At this point, I left the café and wandered back home, eventually, semi-fuming and semi-upset. It’s hard to quantify why, she’s about the only person in the world who can make me feel like that. I suppose it’s a bit of dehumanisation – I wouldn’t look at a piece of garbage that way – and also the whole “what the fuck happened again?” that inevitably crops up when this goes through my mind. Maybe it’s because, unlike other infjs, I don’t really doorslam – and I feel that’s what’s happened here to me.
Anyway, I went home and started playing around, did the Facebook status – and within thirty seconds someone messaged me online saying “it was X wasn’t it.” We then had a very cathartic conversation – as my confidant knows me very well and knew the situation at the time, hell, we started dating at the end of it and were together for a few years. Anyway, she helped me feel a lot better about the whole thing, which is something I’m thankful for – I seem to have gotten a good friend back. So that, at least, ended the day on a positive note.
Names? You want names? Sure. Ask me in person. Otherwise, well, I leave you with a song by Gotye – it’s called “Somebody that I used to know.”
Sadly, or not, sometimes that’s all we get out of it. Actually – yeah. definitely not. And nowadays, that’s just fine.
So the last entry here was… melodramatic? Perhaps. It’s not often I use an ellipsis to title things these days except perhaps as an expression of “i am lost for words.”
I was lost then. In some ways, I still am now, but at least I’m being semi-verbose around the issues. Ah, life.
This evening had a surprising event contained within. I was sitting in front of the gas heater in Merrigang, watching my eyes in the mirrored glass, and found myself telling that reflection, “I just wish I wasn’t alive right now.” That was a slightly disconcerting moment – I assure the gentle reader that I am in no sense suicidal, so please do not immediately leap for the telephone, but there was just an incredible detachment there, as if it didn’t matter.
The weekend however has been full of ‘stuff that matters’. I was part of the production crew and cast for MedRevue, which was a hell of a lot of fun – as I told Miles, I love theatre and I hate theatre, the hate being the five minutes before and five seconds after I walk onto the stage, the love being everything else ever about it. The show was fantastic, the cast were really amazing – we have some wonderful talent. True, there were a few moments where I was ready to tear my hair out from stress, but (for you, Jessie), a friend called ScarfGirl was perfectly placed with a few words, a smile and a hug that just made the stress melt.
A pity that… ah. No. Not tonight – to continue:
Right up until open, of course, but when the audience burst into laughter we had them. The second night was tougher, but the show was tight and once a seductive parody of an Irish neurologist swaggered onto the stage I knew we had them for the second time, and we were golden. Afterwards, we broke down the pieces and went to my absolute favourite of venues, being a bar, where I had a single drink (of the non-alcoholic type), chatted in the corner with a few people, and then left reeking of cigarette smoke.
Interestingly, I was shadowed most of the evening there by my poetry swapping Miss Butterfly friend. I’m not sure what’s going on there at this point.
Anyway, went home, had a few hours sleep – I’m close to nine hours in three days now, hoorah – and then attended a gathering of my mother’s family today, catching up with cousins, including some second/third cousins I haven’t seen since I was, oh, not old enough to recall. That was… the easiest difficult thing. Actually, I met (again) my mother’s cousin, Phoebe, and it was an interesting moment. I walked through my grandmother’s kitchen door (between the kitchen and the dining room and she just stood up, her face went a little pale, and she just mouthed “oh my God, that’s Ben.”
I didn’t have a beard the last time and I would have been in my primary school years – sure, there’s some resemblance, but no, more the fact that she was best friends with my mother I think. All in the eyes, I told her later, and she said that, the carriage, the slightly twisted/curved lip-smile, and just a certain indefinable something – a je ne sais quoi, perhaps.
I suppose that’s part of the contemplatory part of the evening, there. I love my family dearly, and I don’t see them often, especially the extended extendeds, and that, I think, is something I shall have to rectify in the future. I am a trifle uncomfortable with it all, I must admit – there are certain subjects I avoid and don’t discuss often, although I’m getting a few digital (scanned) photos in the next few days from cousin Phoebe, which is something I didn’t really think I’d want, so… that will be interesting. Possibly difficult to deal with, but as yet, I am unsure.
Lord. Lady troubles, death, family and theatre. I was going to talk medicine as well, but I don’t know that I can tonight. I need to go and read some fiction and then just fall to sleeps, I think. It will be nice, I can sleep in tomorrow without any issues due to the magic of schedule-free day (although I pay for it with a Fuck-you Tuesday!), and I should be receiving my new computer in the mail tomorrow… yay for new technology!
I wrote another letter to Jessica this evening. It was hard. I tried to write a poem. It was impossible. Too many issues with ‘X-Girls’ to pick one, too many fragments, too many memories, uncertainties, and just too much damn feeling.
No more ghosts.
Sometimes it’s a mistake. Sometimes it’s not. And sometimes, just sometimes, it’s both at once. I’m talking at the moment about people and how they come into and out of our lives and how it can be hard to know when they’re really gone. The past week or so has been a little like that for me – if there’s anyone who’s read through my archive here, they may recall my first entry of the year where I summed up 2010; it’s here if you want to read – that’s cool, I’ll wait for you to finish.
A big part of 2010 was getting over a very serious relationship and as events of the past week have proven, that was a difficult thing, largely as I reconnected with said ex-partner which was overall a positive experience. It was good to talk and such, and although it may not have been a smart thing to do I’m glad it happened. What it has also taught me is that bonds are sometimes harder to break than we realise, but that they can be broken in ways you didn’t think they could be. It also reminded me of a lot of things about both her and myself that I missed – and a lot of things that, truth to tell, I don’t like to recall. I’m hopeful that we can move forward as friends and perhaps life will fold that back in without too much insane difficulty. There are of course issues there that may make it not smooth and easy, but life never is. At any rate – I feel, oddly, that I have a lot more closure on the past relationship now in multiple ways. What happens moving forward, well, let’s wait and see.
Touching, isn’t it?
For those following my travails, I’ll put a brief note in here that the lady formerly known as Miss Butterfly isn’t particularly so a few weeks later, but that’s okay in its own way – prepare for the fall, and believe in the shatterstorm potential. It’s odd how you can sometimes talk with someone more after an event has occurred than before or during. How’s that for cryptic, Jessie?
I spent a chunk of the past week at Global Health Conference (GHC) at UNSW in Sydney, which was both interesting and stimulating, while also being boring and uninspiring. Sadly, there was a lot of backslapping going on (self-administered) that seemed out of character, much of the workshop/skill material was not geared at someone with multiple years of medical knowledge and training, and there were quite a few agendas hanging out for the world to see, and being relatively blatantly misrepresented. Add in the fact that for the one social night I decided to attend I was trapped on a boat for four hours where I was feeling like curling up in a ball and hiding for a good two of them, and… well. I’ll give it an overall positive grade for a conference, but I probably enjoyed around 60% of the time.
The boat mentioned just then… I’ve never been on a harbour cruise before. That was fun. The fireworks on Darling Harbour were lovely until everyone rushed outside to watch them and took over my little hidey-space. There were a few people I adore on the boat that it was nice to chat with and spend time with. I met a very interesting young lady from Deakin who had the most insanely captivating accent (Denmark, moved to Australia ten years ago, a subtle blending) who had a former life in HR before med and was a stimulating conversationalist. So, I’d have to say that I did have fun… but let me share a message thread (via SMS) between myself and another GHC attendee who skipped out on the evening:
Me: I always forget how much being introverted sucks when trapped with crowds of people!
Them: And that’s why you should adopt my strategy of just avoiding places that would put you in said situations
Me: Well, the speech is entertaining enough, and there were fireworks. Still, I need to get away and am stuck for hours to come. Ah, life.
I’ve been called a social butterfly. I’ve been told I ‘act like I need people’. I’ve been told I ‘must be an extravert because you get on with people so well’. Maybe it comes across that way, but well, as the ‘extraverted introvert’, I can safely say that the past two days of no people have been entirely and absolutely crucial to my wellbeing.
Time off from people? I love you but please. Go away.
Otherwise, I started moving up to Bowral today, have my house key, have my room picked out, left a chunk of clothing and bedding there (to be fixed on Friday after the carpet cleaner comes tomorrow), had a delicious pie and coffee, and tried to visit my sister and niece only to find the roads were still cut off due to excessively speedy winds and fallen trees and suchlike. Tomorrow, I’m thinking of making a roast dinner and maybe reading some Stephen Donaldson. Perhaps.
Need to work on some fiction too, but that’s another story – pun fully intended.