film / friends

Excuse Me While I Get Petty

Strange Christmas season, this year. I’ve been busy and not-so-busy, all at the same time. I’ve been relaxed and anxious, also at the same time.

R has come home for Christmas. We have talked, at great length, about her broken engagement. It’s all very strange: I can’t really imagine what it must be like to have broken an engagement (even mutually, as is the case here), and the weirdness is added to by the fact that she actually moved away to find out that she’s not going to marry G. How in the world is this R’s life? I mean, I knew she was getting stir-crazy and restless, as she always does, but this? This is way too far outside the realm of imagination for me.

I knew, back in the early summer, when she told me that the program she had hoped to enroll in at Golden Gate had been discontinued and that she was instead going to be in the theological studies program, that something was very wrong. Now she goes back to San Francisco to finish the academic year, but then what?

I have struggled with knowing how to be a good friend here. Luckily (or some other adverb), it has never once been a temptation to say “I told you so.” I was worried about that before R came home, but it seems not to be on my mind, ever, when I’m talking to her.

So we have R back, at least for three weeks, but it looks like we’re losing Traci. She’s hanging out with Artoo, which I don’t have a problem with. He seems like a nice guy, and based on very limited interaction with him, that seems also to be the only thing he has in common with Traci. I mean being nice, not being a guy. Maybe that’s enough. Maybe that’s all Traci needs is someone nice. If she were to tell me today that she’s going to marry him, I don’t think I’d have a problem with it (although that would be freakier than the sudden courtship and marriage of AJ and Larah).

But the other night, we checked out the Honolulu City Lights, something we did last Christmas. Traci had mentioned many times that she really wanted to do that again. By “that” I thought she meant the hanging out, the walking around, the hot cocoa on the steps of that building where you get your state i.d. It sounded like she wanted to make that a tradition or something. So we planned the thing. I called Traci to tell her what the plan was. She never called me back (very unlike her) and we didn’t learn until that day that she wasn’t going to be able to join us until later, when we assembled at Ross’s.

It was me, Ross, George, and R, none of whom particularly wanted to see the lights in the first place (although I must say that once we got started, I really enjoyed the displays on the lawn near the records building, and the wreaths were very nice this year). I really don’t know how to communicate the ubiquitous sense of Traci’s absence I felt. I think maybe it’s ridiculous to have felt that way–it’s not as if the four of us have never done stuff in Traci’s absence. But I guess that since we were doing it seemingly at Traci’s insistence, her not being there was just odd.

We got to Ross’s and were joined by AJ, Traci, and Artoo and had bread, brie, and a sun-dried-tomato-vinegar spread created by R. I do not know what was going on when Traci started making conversation, but for reasons I can’t figure out, everything she asked me (“How was your Christmas? What did you get your niece and nephew?”) sounded forced, superficial, and unnatural. This is someone I’ve had wonderful conversations with on countless nights for more than seven years (and that’s not counting when I was her eleventh- and twelfth-grade Sunday-School teacher) and on this evening, everything she said sounded like it was coming out of someone else.

I know I’m projecting a lot of this. I don’t handle shifts in group-dynamics very gracefully and never have. But Traci seemed to communicate with complete ease when she was talking to Artoo. That’s a good thing. I just wonder what it means.

The clutch went out on my car. The mechanic said maybe six or seven hundred bucks to fix it. Gotta think about this. I may become a bus-rider for a month or two while I figure out how to handle this situation. Urgh.

I saw Mona Lisa Smile last week and as much as I love Julia Roberts (and you know how much I love Julia Roberts!), all I gotta say is: pass. I saw Paycheck on Christmas Day and it was quite entertaining, if not very intelligent.

quick, random opinion:
I was wrong about the Dolphins, but I’m sticking with the Rams.

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