Incidental Acts of Spontaneous Cerebral Violence

Tuesday, September 28, 2004


When your dinner companion for the evening takes a 2 mg Xanax before you have even left the house and then proceeds to inhale her first glass of pinot grigio before the bread has been served, you must prepare yourself for that inevitable moment when the table scene transitions from lively dialogue to forced soliloquy. Although sometimes abrupt, this sea change in the dining dynamic can be quite entertaining, especially if your dinner companion remains upright, conscious and able to ask the occasional question. Not having to suffer through the inanity of *nod* and “uh-huh” conversations is a great thing. Not feeling guilty for dominating the discourse is even better.

Independently, my dinner companion and I were scheduled to attend a young woman’s birthday party this past weekend. Independently, we both skipped said woman’s birthday celebration. Neither one of us felt any regret. The birthday girl is not a particularly close friend of ours. However, I quite fancy some of her friends and, presumptively, was looking forward to seeing all of them for the first time in almost six months. But, as it turns out, I didn’t get to see them; nor will I anytime in the foreseeable future. Which got me thinking and, as I was the only one at the table sufficiently coherent to complete sentences, talking. Too much talking.

The birthday girl in question has three friends; let’s call them A, B, and C. A, B and C live together.

I’ve been friends with A for as long as I’ve lived in LA. We’ve indifferently (read: drunkenly) snogged (an expert’s term of art) a couple of times, but nothing more. A is the perfect special occasion friend: I only see her at sizable get-togethers, she is a wonderful “drinking” buddy, we get along quite well and we are both perfectly content with not seeing one another for several months at a time. I honestly am bummed that I did not get to hang with A this past weekend.

Although I know B fairly well (once upon a time she dated my cousin), I would not count her among the people in my essential LA. My relationship with B is contextually defined by my friendship with A: Not B But For A. Not A, Then Not B. While I fancy myself a secular humanist in the guise of a non-practicing member of the tribe, I am agnostic when it comes to B. As a result, my soul remains unaffected by her absence. If I see B, fine. If not, also fine.

Last night I recalled that A & B live with a third woman, but could not begin to remember anything about her. Upon the asking, my dinner companion rose from her halcyon languor long enough to chidingly say, “You know. They live with C. C’mon, you had a huge crush on her.” With that, my dinner companion slumped in her chair and began to gaze hypnotically at last night’s mist-encased full moon.

Damn. Yes. Indeed. Fuck. I remember C.

I met C well after I met A and B. It was one of those generic indistinguishable omnipresent birthdays for one of those generic indistinguishable omnipresent twenty-somethings at one of those generic indistinguishable omnipresent LA bars. My immediate impression was that C was quite alluring (certainly attractive enough to pass the requisite initial superficiality hurdle). Turns out C was clever, to boot. Not only did we share an alma mater (a positive, albeit non-definitive sign), but when she spoke, substance underlay her musings. Further, C was successful: she had a great position of reasonable importance and a wealth of outstanding connections. And, the kicker, C was recently (and traumatically) single.

At that exact moment and continuing for the next several months, C epitomized my notion of tangible consociational perfection. I was not obsessed, per se. I was, however, enthralled. Every moment spent with her was relished. Every conversation, savored. C was beautiful and great and fun and difficult and sharp and mischievous and bitchy and dynamic. C was, however, still smarting from her previous break-up. And I was at the peak of my law firm disgruntlement and overall malaise. Therefore, I was even less proactive than normal. Never actually asked C out. Never did more, in fact, than buy her a few drinks, chat a bit, and a peck here or there. She was still recovering. And, more likely, I was just a big ‘ol wuss.

Those who know me best certainly know how the story ends. Per usual, it ends not with a magnificent salvo, but with the softest of whimpers, petering out. C & I never got together and, as is my history, out of sight invariably became out of mind. To the point where, lacking a semi-conscious prompt from across the table, I would not have remembered a woman who, just over one year ago, was indelibly branded upon my everyday being.

Ultimately you don’t need a company to erase someone from your memory; it only requires a bit of time and finding someone (or many many someones) to fill in the void. Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da.

And come Thursday evening, as I continue on my neverending quest, the void shall be filled once again. Take care C. I’ll remember you fondly. Or, more likely, maybe not at all.

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