I have decided to write The Great Friendship Manifesto
It is this:
Trust no one (completely.)
Your trust is like a cookie. You can give it all away and then you are shit fucked with no cookie, or you can hoarde that shit all for yourself and never have any friends because nobody wants a loser friend who won’t share their cookie.
I’ve met plenty of folks on both sides of the board–those who trust too much, too easily; and those who claim to trust no one. The caveat is that there aren’t really two sides: those who trust too easily are those most likely to claim to trust no one. Those who actually trust no one probably wouldn’t trust anyone enough to get into that level of discussion in the first place, so we can only guess at who those depraved nihilists are 😉
Perhaps I am an overly trusting person. Let’s be honest, if I’ve known you for a 24-hour period then I’m good to pop a squat in your front lawn in broad daylight if the bathroom’s busy. I will tell you all my secrets, because I don’t have any secrets, because there is no story I won’t tell, nothing I won’t talk about openly to they who will listen. I figure it doesn’t serve me to keep all my stories and shit to myself; does it save face, really, to act and then live in silence about acting?
Why should I care about saving face, anyway? From whom? Am I afraid The Public won’t love me? Fuck the public. I save face for my mom, who I do not wish to destroy emotionally, and for my dad, who I already have. Certain things are implied or inferred in our conversations; there are certain facts of my life that we never confirm nor deny. That is fine, I’ll do that for them. But not for you.
Posting a smutty photo that I know you’ll see, pissing on your lawn, sleeping on your couch, recounting to you that time in Denmark where I woke up with my underwear missing, memory black and a video of someone’s flaccid cock wearing sunglasses on my phone — none of that is really an act of trust, for me. I’ll do that shit with anyone, provided they’ve got a couch to sleep on or a dick that wears sunglasses. I believe acts of true trust run deeper than stories; they run to emotions and to physical acts, sex, sleep, relapse, bleeding, sobbing, screaming. If I can fight with you then you know I must trust you, although I may also want to murder you..? Oh well. We’re not trying to figure me out. I don’t recommend undertaking that endeavour and I’m beginning to figure that pretty much everyone else agrees with me.
Feeling free to feel freely with people is a lovely thing, but don’t delude yourself. By no means does it signify you’ve got a confidante to rely on for anything — especially the painful or inconvenient things. All people want for themselves and for their clans, and very few will welcome you into their clan with open arms and no fine print. If someone does, be wary. People lie. People act out of accordance with their true desires and beliefs in order to save face, out of guilt or social pressure, or to serve their own means and ends. Everyone has their limits of how much they can love you. There is no boundless love the way we are taught to believe, there is only delusion and an internal battle to balance self vs. us vs. them. And as we all know, them is not us. And rarely does us reach the importance level of “self”. Only when another is considered part of the self do we see that real, authentic bond of trust.
If someone says they would die for you, do not believe them. Jump in front of a bus and see if it’s true. Jump so you won’t need to need anyone anymore. There is no way they will not let you down, no way you won’t hurt them. There is no one but your mother that will love you forever, and no one on this earth who merits your unfailing trust.
Eric wants to know about teaching English. He has a lot of questions about his new career and can sense that am a minefield of answers. He is correct, but he is also a white boy with a ponytail and I don’t feel like educating another one of those right now.
We’re sitting on the floor of the Malaga airport, right in the way of everyone crossing Arrivals. He squats flat-footed and I’m sat atop my rucksack, chatting because I can, because my bus is a ways out, and because I must keep my mind active or risk prompt collapse from jetlag.
“This airport is evil. See the benches?” I gesture so Eric can see. “They put the bars on there to prevent sleepers. You gotta sleep underneath on the granite. I like it though, you can put your luggage there as a sort of guard wall. Block the masturbators.”
Eric is astounded that I have said “masturbators” aloud. He is from the East Coast of the United States and he moves pianos for a living. His ears are gauged, like mine. I assumed he would understand these things for some reason, a rookie mistake. “Masturbators? In the airport?”
“Oh, they’re everywhere, airports included,” I nod with affliction. “But that time I was out in the open, on the ground behind a cement column. The masturbator was facing me, sat on the bench. I woke up to him there watching me sleep. There was an airport worker down the way, saw the whole thing. Didn’t do shit though.”
“Wow,” says Aaron. “I don’t think I know any girls that’s happened to.”
“You do, dude. I promise.”
It’s possible Bators are more common in Europe where freedom is an actual thing you can feel and live, not like in the states where it’s a mythical idea like World Peace or Equal Rights. The Bator is an unfortunate by-product of the knowledge that one may do as one pleases without threat or fear of punitive consequence, paired with the painful dilemma of being a horny old fuck.
To be fair, now, there is certainly something about a good vista that just makes a person want to ejaculate. I’ve definitely rubbed a couple out on the tops of mountains before. That shit gets me hard. I’d bet money a lot of these dudes are just extreme nature enthusiasts (don’t worry, I don’t have any money.) I don’t need to hurl myself on a bench and crank it while watching a stranger sleep, but maybe it just depends on the particular stranger or whether or not I’ve taken my meds that day.
I tell Piano Guy about my full working list of Bators — the Guy On The Cliff, Shirtless Park Guy, the Guy On The Lookout Bench, the Guy Downhill Looking Up, the Lurker In The Meadow, Sleeping Bag Guy and the assorted collection of Brazen Beach Fellows. Piano Guy, having gotten exactly 0% of the information he had been hoping to extract from me, has heard enough. “Wow,” he says, “that’s terrible. I’ll keep an eye out so I can do a quick getaway if it ever happens to me.”
“Yeah, it won’t.” I get to my feet and heave my pack back on. Fucking white guys with ponytails don’t know shit about life.
i don’t care
if you want to die now
so much less
sadistic then just