The Unsinkable Friendship

So I hear that adult-aged people have a ton of trouble finding other adult-aged people for romantic and/or sexy times. While I sympathize with the plight of the lovelorn, I think the whole can’t-find-a-date-for-Friday-night problem is overblown. Unlikely people fall in love in movies all the time. But you know what kind of movies you never see? People falling in friendship.

That’s because friends (unlike manholes) aren’t just strewn about on the street, waiting for people to trip into them headfirst. At least the quest for love is filled with tried-and-true techniques, such as buying flowers, passing notes with “yes” and “no” checkboxes, and sexual harassment in the workplace. Would-be lovers get personals ads and online dating services and local magazines running “Hot Singles” editions, all of which totally always work out.

For those of us seeking friendship, though, we’re adrift on a choppy sea, the rudder of companionship sheared off, holes torn in the hull of our confidence, with no end to this metaphor in sight.

Kölner Schiff

Which is why I’m going to spotlight the most eligible friend I know—myself—in the first-ever-that-I-know-of (and completely still available for syndication) Q&A Profile for Eligible Friends. Perhaps, by the end of this feature, you will want to be my friend!

Q: Tell us, Zach, why are you interested in finding long-lasting friendship?

A: Because I feel that life is like one of those popsicles with two sticks.

Q: And you want someone to share the other half of the popsicle with you?

A: No, I’ll eat the whole thing myself. I just want someone to help break it apart without expecting a footrub in return, so I can go back to watching the World Cup in peace.

Q: The prospective friends among our readers are all dying to know: what are your favorite activities?

A: Let me tell you, I am such an impressive potential friend that I have many favorite activities to list. These include reading, writing poetry, talking to my houseplants, and downing an entire bag of tortilla chips by myself in one sitting.

Q: Those don’t sound like very friend-conducive activities.

A: I also play guitar.

Q: Excellent! That’s an activity you can share with friends. What style of guitar do you play?

A: Air guitar.

Q: Oh.

A: In the shower.

Q: We live in a very outdoor-centric community, and many people enjoy these adventures with friends. What are your favorite outdoor pursuits?

A: I enjoy yelling at chipmunks in my garden. And when they ignore me, I throw stones at them.

Q: That doesn’t sound very friendly. Why do you do that?

A: Because there are no children in my neighborhood, so I resort to chipmunks.

Q: Do you ski? Rock climb? Go hiking?

A: I ride a bike.

Q: Perfect! There are lots of avid cyclists in this area who would love to be your friend! What do you enjoy most about bicycling?

A: I love that I can feel connected with nature, at one with the breeze through my helmet and the earth under my wheels. But my absolute favorite part is that I can go for hours and hours without having to talk to anybody. Some people insist on waving, or asking how far up I’m going, but I pretend I’m out of breath so I don’t have to respond.

Q: You do realize that the primary part of having friends is actually being around people, right?

A: Oh, sure.

Q: Well, is there anything at all that you enjoy doing with other people?

A: Friendships aren’t all about “doing things” with other people. I think you’ve confused me for one of those “Hot Singles.” Asking about someone’s day, going places you don’t really want to go just because someone else wants to, striving to become a better person—that’s all mushy foreplay stuff. And it’s way easy, compared to making friends as an adult.

Q: Interesting idea. How so?

A: Think about how you can be friends over literally anything as a kid—you both want to play with the same jumprope, and bam! Instant friendship. And that’s how we pick up on each other, too. “You like Gruyère? I like Gruyère! Let’s go on a date!” But it’s not like I, as a seemingly-grown-up individual, can walk up to another guy and say, “You drive on radial tires? I drive on radial tires! Want to hang out?”

We are not doing this Q&A to find true love. We’re here to find friends. And unlike romantic interests who will lie about cheese preferences in hopes of ensuing kinky times, true friends will accept us as we are. I am a recluse. And it’s incredibly difficult for me, as a hermit, to put myself out there.

Q: Wow. I never stopped to consider the emotional fragility of someone like you trying to make friends.

A: Tell me about it. And I have it double tough, because on top of all that, I just don’t like people.

Q: There you have it, Durango! If you think you’d want to befriend Zach, write a letter to the editor, and she will put you in touch.

A: Or better yet, don’t. This bag of chips ain’t big enough for the both of us.

This piece originally appeared in the Durango Telegraph. It subsequently appeared (in modified form) on the New Mexico Mercury and The KC Post.

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One response to “The Unsinkable Friendship

  1. Pingback: Space Invaders | Zach Hively·

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