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The thing with Nolan is, I rarely get to see him socially. There are really only two types of such occasions: a party at WolfDaddy's house (who's a mutual friend), or the rare times that he needs a ride home after work.

Warning: What follows may be considered angsty, and contains more than one excessively long parenthetical comment....

I like seeing him at the parties, because hanging out with a small group is my preferred way to be with friends; I don't generally stay until the wee hours, and neither do he and his girlfriend (unlike at the other parties he attends -- the kind which apparently revolve around drink, and stronger (or at least different) psychoactive substances, and others even stronger -- but that I do not). And when I give him a ride home, maybe once or twice in four months, it often turns out that we hang out there together for a few hours, which is just grand. (Not always though, and that's generally when his girlfriend isn't home, which is presumably related to why he needs a ride anyway. Twice in the last month, I drove him home; both times, not only was she at home, but the car was there, too. I'm still happy to do him the favor, but I can spell being taken advantage of.)

But what I really miss, and I've told him this, is doing other kinds of things: sports, other outdoor activities, etc. This is really rare. In fact, despite regular entreaties which I stopped making over a year ago, the only one was a weekend camping trip (which was stupendously wonderful), and that was way back before I fell in love with him. There was a company party at the beach almost a year ago, when we were playing Frisbee on the sand, and later bocci, and I was, dare I say, deliriously happy. I realized later that I had been playing, in the sense that a child does and that I basically never do. It is that that I so want to share with him.

The Bad News

About two months ago, he got into kite flying, presumably influenced by another guy at the office who's an enthusiast. At least one, and possibly both, of his officemates got into it also, and they go out occasionally to indulge. A few weeks ago, I told him that I would like to join him in that. He said, Sure!. Last Thursday, he came to my office in the morning, said he'd be flying his kite that day, and invited me along, which I accepted immediately. When I came back from lunch, I saw that he and both of his officemates were out. I saw him that afternoon on a work issue, and then, at about 5:15, I saw them all gone again. I almost screamed. I was so hurt, and angry at him.

Now, maybe it turned out that he didn't go after all, or maybe he went after work, or during lunch. (I never asked him, which I'm ashamed of because that constitutes a failing of the friendship test.) The thing is, it's terrible either way. Obviously if he did go (scenario 1), he just went without me. If he went at lunch (scenario 1a), not only did he go without me, but he didn't mention later that he had already done so. And if he didn't go at all (scenario 2), then he didn't care enough to let me know that it wasn't going to happen (and he knows how important it was to me).

This is the latest, and darn strong, support for my theory: I know his friendship for me is sincere, but I think that quite often, if I'm not in the same room with him, I just don't exist. Now, it goes without saying that I would be very sad if he just plain didn't like me, but of course it can be the case that a person you greatly enjoy has no desire to be your friend. But apathy from a friend... well, that might hurt even more. I spent that entire night playing over the day in my head, and crying a lot of the time. I told myself that maybe I really should just put him aside, even to the extent of moving away from here. Friday, I was struggling with myself as to whether I should bring it up with him; besides being afraid to, I was afraid that I would let my voice become accusatory, and I didn't want that. So I didn't. My thoughts continued on that way throughout the weekend, but then Sunday evening I found myself calling him and asking if he and his girlfriend would come over to my place and hang for a while; something I virtually never do. He declined, saying that he was about to go to bed, having been up almost all the previous night. I was saying okay and trying to get off the phone, but he didn't seem to want to leave it at that, and finally suggested that maybe later in the week that could happen. I didn't know for sure if that (phoning him) constituted an act of excessive need, but I was leaning toward "yes" on that question, and that didn't make me feel any better.

The Good News

Well, I had a great time this evening, because I was out on the beach with him after work, watching and learning about this kite flying deal. And while he did ask me along, I think it likely that that was only because I happened to be in his office at 5:00 when the guy who started him on kites came in to get him (as it had been planned earlier that they would go).

Those kites were sure different than the paper ones I flew when I was a kid! Whereas most of the time then was spent trying to get the thing into the air, and have some fun for ten minutes before a tree ripped it to shreds, these are made of vinyl or some such, with plastic or fiberglass ribs, and they want to fly. And if you happen to crash them into the ground, they probably won't hold it against you, and will leap back into the sky at the lightest tug. Our progenitor in this activity, who is not in the office most days, gave me one of his kites so I could go out with Nolan next time.

Other Good News

All was not terrible for the last week, though. panamaus spent two days in town, visting with me and WolfDaddy, during his post-gathering jaunt through California, and that was fun. Be sure to ask him his opinion of Isla Vista, a small non-incorporated enclave bordering the campus of UCSB, where you can't buy anything with a traveler's check, there are often plenty of shirtless college guys, and a dog's hair grows backwards.

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