For my Christmas vacation (“You serious, Clark?”), I went to Florida to visit my parents in their new house. Before you get all “OMG UR PARENTS MOVED TO FLORIDA THAT’S SO KEWL!” on me, I should inform you that they just moved like ten minutes away from their old house. Also, I don’t understand why people get so excited by the idea of Florida, like it’s some mysterious tropical paradise that only the most fortunate of folks will ever see. Florida is largely populated with trashy cokeheads who drive lifted pickup trucks, claim to be MMA fighters (because they watch a lot of UFC) and have never left the state because “WHY WOULD I, BRO? WE’VE GOT IT ALL HERE!” These are the kinds of people who, as adults, actually think Disney World is the most magical place on earth. Picture the trashiest people from your hometown, give them tanned, leathery skin, and presto: Floridians. It’s always muggy there, but with the looming threat of an apocalyptic thunderstorm lurking on the horizon. And I swear I never have any idea where in Florida I am, because everything looks exactly the same. It’s as if whoever settled the state was like “Most of the people living here either won’t have the mental capacity to realize that they’re living in the real-life equivalent of a poorly-designed video game with recurring buildings and characters, or they’ll be too old to care.” Whenever I go to Florida, my thought process goes something like this:
0:01-0:05: “It’s nice to get out of the city for a little bit.”
0:05-24:00: “Fuck, it’s hot.”
24:01-48:00: “Finally used to the temperature. This isn’t so bad.”
48:01-Departure: “JESUS CHRIST THIS PLACE IS AWFUL.”
I think we all need to stop fetishizing Florida. It’s not El Dorado. You know why we didn’t settle Florida first, even though Ponce de León discovered it in the 1500s? Because, even with his limited knowledge of America, he probably went “Ugh, I’m sure we can do better. This can’t be the best part of this new land.” And you know what, friends? He was right. Florida is awful.
So anyway, I was down in Florida for Christmas, and since my parents had to move all my stuff from one house to the other, my mom asked me to go through some old boxes to decide what I wanted to throw out. As I went through the boxes, I found a stack of notes, letters, birthday cards, etc., and though I thoroughly enjoyed reading every last one of them, I was struck with a very uncomfortable realization:
I’m a pretty shitty friend.
There were birthday cards from people who, at one point or another, were people I’d call close friends; with the exception of one or two names, though, I haven’t talked to these people in years. It’s not like we had a falling-out or anything, I just kinda stopped putting in the effort to keep in touch. The more I thought about that, the more I realized that these weren’t isolated incidents; I do this with more frequency than I would care to admit. At first I don’t talk to one of my friends in a while and I think “Oh man, I gotta call them.” Then more time passes, I still haven’t called, and before I know it, it’s been years since I’ve spoken to them, and at that point, the relationship has pretty much faded completely. And then I’ll think “I can’t call them now, they’ll think I’m in trouble!” I’m fucking awkward like that.
On the other hand, phones work both ways, right? Am I completely to blame for the friendship falling apart, or can I take solace in the fact that maybe the friendship had just run its course? I don’t know. I guess I should probably get used to it happening, because as I get older, a lot of the people with whom I once had strong friendships are going to vanish from my life completely. Instead of lamenting the loss of these friendships, maybe I should just accept them for what they were: great at that point in time, but probably destined to come to an end at one point or another. It’s a sad reality, but a reality nonetheless.
With that in mind, I’d like to amend my previous statement: I’m not a bad friend, I’m just bad at keeping in touch. So if you’re reading this and going “That asshole never calls me!”, feel free to reach out. I’ll be happy to hear from you.
Or don’t. I NEVER LIKED YOU ANYWAY.