“Oh shit,” I say. I’ve turned the wrong way. And we’re creeping around the backside of the restaurant instead of escaping the parking lot.
“Ooo, look at him,” Fluffy says. They point to a man standing next to the back door with a cigarette in his hand. Probably a cook on his smoke break.
“Oh, you like him?” I ask. “I see what you mean. He’s kind of cute.”
As I take the long way turning back around, we swing by the cook. Fluffy and I both cackle nervously.
“Apparently I cruise hot guys for you when I don’t follow the GPS.”
“You’re the cruise director!” Fluffy agrees.
We laugh like idiots all the way back to the freeway.
I Always Need to Have a Smart Friend Who Brings Out the Idiot in Me
No matter what else is going on in my life socially, I need a friend that I can go off and do foolish things with.
A smart person who brings out the idiot in me. And vice versa. Where we’re fine and sensible people on our own, but when we team up? We end up acting very, very ridiculous. Like a Voltron of silliness.
My friend Fluffy is a recent incarnation. There were many more before them.
True, Nathan and I were a bit more than friends. We liked to say that we had a romantic friendship, like Shakespeare and the fair youth. Close but not sexual. Well, aside from the fact that we made out a few times when we were both drunk.
But sex was never the focus. Instead, it was all about the shenanigans. Nathan was great at channeling my inner idiot. He had lots of silly tendencies himself. He liked to take absurd viewpoints that he didn’t believe, defend them vigorously, and drop them without warning. As a kind of sport. Sort of like debate but with less conviction. And more improv.
Nathan was a fan of the non sequitur in general.
I’d key into it instantly, but this habit drove Seth, my anchor partner at the time, batty.
“Sometimes I think Nathan is completely insane,” Seth would say.
“Maybe,” I would reply. “But if he is, he’s the kind of insane I like.”
Nathan and I eventually drifted apart after he left state for grad school and started a monogamous relationship with someone else (I didn’t blame him; while we were friends, I could understand why the new girlfriend wouldn’t be wild about him having such an intimate friendship with a poly lady).
The Company We Keep
I turn into a different version of myself depending on who I’m hanging out with.
And I like a person who brings out my silly side. As a close friend and occasionally a lover.
These days, I’m doing pretty well in that department.
But that hasn’t always been the case. Not every partner I’ve had supported this.
Seth never understood what I saw in Nathan. And didn’t approve of that silly version of me. (Which is probably why I liked hanging out with Nathan so much in the first place. I finally had a place to express it and have it accepted.)
And I’ve been on the other side of things, alarmed by a sudden shift in a partner’s personality, the way they act in a new relationship.
But the next time I catch myself feeling that way? I’m going to imagine doing infinite loops around the steakhouse parking lot. With Fluffy riding in the passenger seat, howling with laughter.