what i devise executes
It gets harder as we get older to have the late nights where we drink too much and learn too much about each other, and that makes life just that little bit more difficult. A thing that they never tell you when you’re younger is that sometimes those late night conversations are the only way you ever get to know anything about anybody. They don’t work over afternoon coffee, and if they did, you’d think your friends were all crazy for being so passionate about anything during the daytime. It takes a bunch of dark bars; it always has.
“I don’t ever want to settle down, to be honest,” someone told me on Friday night, or early Saturday morning. We were at a bar in the East Village that I’d never been to before; it seems impossible that I’ve spent the time that I have in these neighborhoods, and places I’ve never been continue to spring up before me. It puts into context the cities that I’ve spent my recent weekends in: there, everything seems impossibly new. Here, everything still does, and New York has had thirteen years of advantage over Milwaukee, over Chicago, over London, over Bath. “I don’t want to get married, either. Fuck all of that.”
It felt good to hear someone else say those things. I’d have wondered if he meant them, but he was very drunk and it was after midnight, and the combination of those factors makes it impossible to lie. We talked about that feeling, and we talked about our relationships to our work, and we interacted with some young people and remembered that some young people are impossible to interact with. It felt for a moment in that moment that we were breaking some new ground and making way for interesting things in life to happen, but I woke up the next morning with a headache and the reminder that those nights always feel like that. They are supposed to.
I remain as enamoured of the idea that it only takes a matter of seconds to meet someone who changes your life forever as I do dismayed by the one that it takes an equal matter of seconds to lose people you thought you’d get to keep. That seems important, somehow, even taken out of the late night dark bar context. The week before, I’d gone out for a pint with a bunch of co-workers and had an equally lovely time. One minute, you don’t know people, and the next minute they are in your life. The friends I’d spent my Friday night with had once been those new people, and it didn’t take a very long time for us to get here, late at night, talking about how we’re hardwired to never quite settle down.
I’m slowly transcribing an hour of recent conversation with Rebecca for a piece we’re doing on writing and eating and editing, and it turns out that when pressed, we are both capable of being extraordinarily articulate about the things we are passionate about. We are also incredibly prone to collapsing at any given conversational second into a pile of giggles, and it is very weird to listen to a tape of yourself in a dark-bar conversation and think, “this is probably why people want to be around you.”
Here are some things to consider. One: that both friendship and love are very fluid, very transient ideas, and that we fail to realize this is probably what makes us human. Two: that you should spend as much time as possible being near the people who keep you honest and the people who make you collapse into giggles, and that probably these are the same people. Three: That in the spirit of that honestly, we’re probably not hardwired for anything except for the occasional running around to different bars in the middle of the night, looking for the right place to talk about what we’re hardwired to be. I used to think of those nights as wasted time that I should have spent being creative and making things, and it is only recently that I’m able to understand that I would have nothing to create if I wasn’t always chasing down the people I love and getting them to talk.
Four: It is okay to be passionate about those small moments, and it is equally okay to spend your free time attempting to transform them into something made of words that you can keep forever.