Matthew, part one: self-selection
"My friends tend to self-select. A lot of weak people with weak personalities don't become my friends."
(I should note that this entry is being written under the influence of a good deal of caffeine. I'm doing well to make my sentences more than one word long at the moment. Forgive incoherency. I'm currently chemically incapable of doing any significant proofreading. It's pretty pathetic, really.)
There are rules to dealing with Matthew. Rules, you see. Not for his protection; last I checked, he doesn't need any. The rules are for your safety, and if he's going to be writing on this site next week, you need to know about them.
- The results of your idiotic actions are yours alone to bear. You're more likely to get laughter than sympathy.
- Idiotic actions of another make your day terrible? Call him. Now. You'll feel better.
- You won't win the war of words, but it's fun to try.
- Yes, that means you, smartass.
- Don't challenge him to poker. You will lose.
- Especially if you've had anything to drink.
- Even if he doesn't cheat.
I've given up attempting to describe Matthew. Only one other person who reads this site—Monica—can claim to have spent any significant amount of time with him, and I'm not sure if even she could explain why he and I are friends after all these years. Those of you doing the extrapolation would be correct: even Jeff, my spouse of several years, has only met Matthew one time, and even that was only a brief meeting at our wedding.
(Remember the wedding thing. I'll come back around the mountain and get to that eventually. Keep singing that folk tune until I get there.)
So, yes, I'm the kind of person who has friends that, after all these years, my spouse still hasn't met. Does that make Matthew my dirty little secret? Uh. No. Matthew, a dirty secret? Please excuse me while I howl with laughter. I know better. If Matthew thought, even for a moment, that such a thing might be true, I would spend the rest of my mortal existence trying to make him stop giving me hell about it.
I can see it now. Thursday night phone calls would begin thus:
M: "Time for your weekly session with your dirty little secret, hmm?"
A: "Shut up, you wanker. If that's what you want to be, at least be a dirty secret worth keeping."
Is he unfriendly? No. I prefer the term "prickly." Like a cactus, except with better vocalization skills and a far better sense of humor. When he told me that the people in his college dorm referred to his suite as "The Den Of Hate," I couldn't help but laugh. They were right, but those who didn't bother to venture in and become friends never got the chance to learn what it was like to dissect the deserving with sarcasm so finely honed that most victims never even felt the blade as it cut.
No, he isn't mean. Well, most of the time. There are only three types of people he hates:
- Stupid people.
- People who choose to remain ignorant when provided an alternative.
- Really stupid people.
Everyone else is safe.
Our Thursday night phone calls, once something we only joked about, ("hey, what we really need is a weekly phone call to discharge some of this excess bile we always seem to have lying around") are now a mainstay of my week. They're two hours of my best phrases, retorts, and exchanges gladly tossed away, confetti-like, into the long-distance lines, never to return.
I've asked Matthew to step in for a few days while I'm away at dragon*con, both enduring and enjoying a ruthless regimen of sleep deprivation, convention life, and tasty alcohol ingestion. I've been informed that it's actually possible to obtain internet access from the hotel this year, but now that I have the opportunity, I am not entirely certain that I will take it. In part, I like the idea of taking a few days away from the web, my online life, my inbox, and everything that comes with it....
...but part of me just wants to indulge my deep curiosity to see just what, exactly, Matthew would do with the tiny little platform of domesticat if it was signed over to him for a week. I've given him a couple of suggestions; he could talk about his life in Chicago, which he just abandoned to seek a master's degree; or he could really go out on the wire and solicit questions for an "Ask Matthew" column. (Got opinions? Post 'em in comments. Don't be surprised if he answers back.)
Whatever the results may be, I can guarantee that they'll be acerbic, not safe for work, and likely brutally funny.
This is, after all, the man who crossed a state line to see me get married five years ago, just so he could stand just inside the church doors and snicker. I'd already been feeling pretty ludicrous in a wedding dress, and it was somehow right for the doors to open and for the first thing for me to see was Matthew, snickering his fool head off at my frippery.
You've gotta keep friends like that around. You might die of your own stupidity, but you won't die of a swelled head.
Stay tuned for part two, tomorrow, which I suspect will involve a woman named Heather, who bears no resemblance or relation to the Heather of gravitylens.org.
Current music: Radiohead, Hail to the Thief (thanks, Chris)