Tuesday, December 27, 2011

fake tales of san francisco

Have you ever wanted to pick up and move to a brand new place? A place where absolutely no one knows you? Has never seen your face? Never saw you hit on and subsequently get rejected by your co-worker when you were really drunk at that holiday party? Would you like to escape from your current reputation as the pessimist with a useless degree trapped in a sea of scarves and graphic t-shirts that never stay folded for more than seven seconds at a time?
oh wait Daria had talent and an actual future in sight
Well, you're not alone. Every time I become desperately unhappy with my current situation (so basically the past year I've been repeatedly screamed at by tourists because I only speak English and some Spanish), I think of packing up only the essentials and moving far, far away, usually to California. How amazing would it be to reinvent myself and start over?  To create a blatantly false backstory and lie my way to friendship?

new york new york it's a hell of a town
I vaguely attempted to recreate myself when I first started college. The entire summer leading up to my freshman year was spent psyching myself up to play open mic nights and recite poetry and sing in public and actually make friends.  I spent those three months practicing "Babe I'm Gonna Leave You" on guitar and creating a new wardrobe and 'being an artist.'  September eventually rolled around and I really tried, for about a week. I was 200 miles away from home, and ready to be the cool kind of tortured artist. I soon realized that if you have to map out a game plan to be cool, you're probably someone who still has a Xanga in 2011.

My first week at school, I played guitar loudly in my room in the hopes that someone would knock on my door and want to talk to me? Try to start a band? Fall in love with me? Isn't that how it works in movies? I really don't know where I was going with that one because knowing how to play guitar is as rare as Johnny Depp in a Tim Burton film.  It didn't work. No one even asked me to stop playing, which is the worst kind of rejection there is.

Instead, I decided that since none of the other kids on my floor were going out of their way to meet me, I was going to have to go out of my way to meet them.  One night I found myself in some guy's dorm room, sitting on his bed while he droned on and on about a bunch of screamo bands as I made an earnest attempt to not punch him in the dick. I was part of a large group, but I was also the only one who remained mute the entire night.  Everyone else was making small talk and laughing and bonding while I was sitting in a corner, my eyes boring into our host's comforter as I made an attempt at Being Cool aka pretending to ignore everything that was going on around me. Because I was sitting a considerable distance from the door, there was no way to gracefully exit the room without having to step over at least 7 other people who I would later avoid eye contact with for the rest of the school year.  In retrospect I probably could've just said goodnight and left the room, but because I was so terrified of the idea of everyone talking about me as soon as I left, I became the creepy, silent mouth breather attached to the darkest corner. I wouldn't leave the room until everyone else did first.

By the time 2am rolled around and everyone slowly made their way back to their respective dorms I was ready to transfer to a community college back home and move in with my cats. 

From that point on I decided to stick with my roommate and latch onto her friends. This is an annoying quality to have and something I've since abandoned but at the time it was really useful in helping me not be a total recluse. Despite my measly attempts at becoming the Life Of The Party that I never was in high school, I came to realize that sometimes life is like a Hallmark card and there's no point in forcing myself to be someone I'm not.  The truth is while I would rather break a thousand mirrors than look into one, I don't think of myself as a total failure of a human being. After accepting my fate as the special kind of sap who cries over toilet paper commercials, I decided to give up the charade and stick it out. I already had at least 2 friends which is just as many as Harry Potter had. That is success enough.

I understand getting out of your comfort zone, but I don't need to move 3000 miles away to do that. I can do something simple like leave my apartment on my days off instead of staying in. Would moving away from the few friendships it took me months to cultivate really be all that beneficial?  Am I really going to become a new person just because I'm in a new climate? What about my gerbil?