Sunday, September 4, 2011


I do have friends.  Really I do.  Or, I used to.

The girl at the coffee shop hands me my espresso and I wander over to the table by the window and sit down.   Alone.  Again.  It's the raw hour of 9:00 AM.  There are Couples, families with kids, pairs of women gossiping.  I set my purse on the seat across from me.  It looks kind of like another human being if I squint.  And remove my contacts.  And have two margaritas, a whiskey sour, PBR, and a benadryl.

Surely, at some point, someone liked to hang out with me?  Other than my husband, who averred that he would hang out with me forever in front of God?  My coworkers and I talk desultorily about their children.  My students hand me money at the end of our conversations. The old women at church like to talk about old women at church stuff, and while it's true that I am eighty years old in my heart, I can't contribute much to discussions of sciatica, liturgy, or death.

Where, exactly, are you supposed to find friends during the adult stage of your life?  You can troll for spouses on the Internet without shame, but there's some stigma attached to friendlessness, some whiff of moral decay.  It's tough to admit to, like unemployment or venereal disease.  You may be able to spin whole Hollywood franchises off of the search for Mister Right, but even those painfully single heroines of whatever-movie-I'm-watching-on-the-airplane boast posses of bubbly gal pals.

I've been in Richmond a year.  I have zero friends.  I'm not so bad, I promise!  I tell jokes.  I laugh.  I listen.  I am ambulatory!   I can formulate complete sentences!  I don't want very much.  A couple of happy hours!  Some walking!  Coffee!  Maybe a book club or two....

I feel sad and desperate and shameful, like a closeted gay man in the 1920s.  Of course, if I were a closeted gay man in the 1920s, I could mosey on down to the club and meet some fellows for drinks.  As it stands, I've stooped to browsing the "strictly platonic" listings on Craigslist (wherein, incidentally, there seems to be alarming confusion as to the meaning of the word "platonic."  It's not the Platonic ideal, folks.   Back it up).



Kelsey said...

I am still your friend, even though I am in Canada temporarily! You are so great, and so much fun--you just let me know if any of these craigslist foolios need a written testament to your awesomeness.

In the meantime, I totally recommend You can do your own book club, even! Also, the board at Elwoods always has a couple of advertisements about book clubs and hiking groups and such--I think every adult has a little bit of anxiety around finding new circles of friends.

Ellie said...


I think we need to talk on the phone more. I love you,

LR said...

I'm in the same boat, but sadly a different city -- I've been in Austin a year now too and have 0 people to hang out with. I actually did make one friend, at an artist open studio... but last month she moved away. Problem is that it takes a lot of energy to Make New Friends (or just meet someone at all) and after a day of work it's easier to just read a book in the back yard!

Andrew said...

Yeah, we constantly have this problem too.

wombat said...

I'm friendless in Austin, too! Maybe we can be friends!