24 January 2011

You're a good man, Jackie Brown

Listening to: Au Revoir Simone, "Hurricanes." Hailing from Williamsburg, meaning they are theoretically within a few blocks of me, Au Revoir Simone is a band composed of three ladies who all play the keyboard. Yes, an all keyboard band! Their name is a reference to Pee-Wee's Big Adventure but I so didn't get it. Probably because I've never seen P-WBA. That's probably an acronym that's never used right? My favorite part of the song kicks in at around 2:12 minutes. "This message is for all the people / The people who are always waiting."

A bonus song with the word "hurricane" in the title. "Hurricane Black," off the Mos Dub album, which remixes the lyrics of Dante Smith with reggae beats. This track with Common is smooooooth.

And this post is going to be about friendship, or more accurately, the lack thereof. For the past week or two I've been revisiting this article about Sinedu Tadesse, a Harvard undergrad who went into the infamy books for killing her roommate, and then herself, in May of 1995. Tadesse's story is haunting for what it reveals about a troubled young woman but also because her desperate attempts to reach out beyond a solitary existence is something many people can relate to on some level. The specific thing I've been going over and over is a letter Tadesse wrote after her freshman year. Read it if you're curious. She sent this letter to strangers, pleading with them for simple contact and I guess, an escape from alienation.

I tend to take friends for granted, or the simple fact of having friends. Or just a friend. When they say that having one true friend can make all the difference in the world, they ain't kidding. Not having people who care about you around, well, it sucks right? Especially in New York and other urban spaces, which can be full of people but all the lonelier for it. Or maybe urban loneliness is a myth?

It's rarely occured to me that I'd be friendless or ever alone in the world. Flippantly, but also semi-seriously, I always cite the fact that I have a twin as the reason why I've never encountered absolute loneliness. Even if George and I aren't two exact peas in a pod, at least we've shared the majority of our experiences together right?

Along these thought lines, a book that I'm looking forward to reading is Emily White's "Lonely: Learning to Live with Solitude," which is her memoir about being chronically lonely. I apologize to Emily White for putting her book in the same post with Tadesse, but they seemed related to me.

The other day, while digging around about White's book online, I came across this blog: MWF Seeking BFF. The blog's author, Rachel, moved to Chicago a couple of years ago but couldn't find anyone "to invite over to watch The Biggest Loser or to text 'pedicure in half an hour?' on a Saturday morning. To me [her], that’s what BFFs are. Not just people who know your innermost secrets, but the ones up for grabbing a bite on a whim because they love being with you just that much, and getting together feels easy and natural rather than a chore you need to pencil in."

Rachel's blog is great because she details her hunt for that elusive best friend, even if it's embarrassing or disappointing. Plus she consistently shares really interesting articles about friendship, such as this one from Ta-Nehisi Coates, about Gender and Support Systems. She's inspired me to write more about my personal exploration of friendships, and how they rise and fall, evolve, collapse, and sometimes reform. I mean, friendship is a subject I love thinking and talking about, and books like Joseph Epstein's "Friendship: An Expose," are must reads as far as I'm concerned.