Day 93 and Day 94 — I Saw Gardens and Taught for an Hour — an Impromptu Essay on Friends
Yesterday, on Saturday, Day 93, I woke up early at around 8 AM and left at 8:30 AM to pick up my friend and head to some gardens. There I had a nice time. I took photos of flowers which were so wonderful. While leaving I got a text and a call from someone I’ve built a site for, that their shop wasn’t working. I was extremely worried because if such a glitch existed, it would take a tremendous amount to fix it and I would want to fix it right away. After getting a call from this person, I realized that a link on their site wasn’t going to the right place, rather than the whole shop not working. I fixed the issue on my laptop, using a Wi-Fi hotspot, while my friend used the bathroom.
Then we went to a lake. At the lake I was quieter than usual. Maybe it’s because of decongestion medicine, or because I may have still been a bit sick. I’m not quiet sure. I felt like my friend and I were the characters from Siddhartha, the book I read the day prior. This is because in the main character found a friend along a river who was a ferryman.
I listened to the water to see what it would tell me. I laid my head on my arms, braced against my legs, and looked at the rocks to see God in them like the character of that fictional book did. My friend next to me had read this book years prior, six years ago, when they were in high school. They only remember a little bit of it.
Earlier as we walked through the gardens, my friend asked me what the take-away of the book was, since they didn’t remember it. I shared with them that it was the fact that wisdom cannot be passed on; if you try, it just sounds foolish. I completely agree with this statement by the way. Funny enough, one time I was at a bon-fire and a graceful friend asked me what I think the difference between knowledge and wisdom is.
The Difference Between Knowledge and Wisdom
I responded that I’m not sure if I had read this somewhere, possibly in The Art of War, or if I was making it up, but the difference between knowledge and wisdom to me is that with knowledge you know how to achieve your desired goal. With wisdom, you know that the outcome doesn’t matter. My graceful friend didn’t quite understand, unless if I’m mistaken or if they feigned not quite getting it. With their grace, they asked my friend next to me who is very intelligent what they think about the matter.
The intelligent friend said something along the lines of knowledge being information and wisdom being the application of information. I personally didn’t think much for this answer, although I love my friend and think much of them. I felt like it was a textbook definition and that they didn’t put a lot of effort into the question. Afterwards the intelligent friend said that its nice that the graceful one and I can speak so much on a variety of topics ranging from religion to fiction and authors and philosophy, but that they don’t personally find these things at least in the context we had spoken about them engaging.
I like that my intelligent friend is intelligent enough to feel my discontent with their answers and clarify things later on.
I didn’t quite know at the time what my answer to the graceful friend had meant though. Wisdom is knowing that the outcome doesn’t matter. Later on, I began to re-learn a principle that I had discovered before and come across as a term, after discovering it. The term is Karma Yoga.
When I tried to look up “the difference between knowledge and wisdom,” to see if I could bring the graceful one the quote I thought I may have read at one point or another, I couldn’t find the quote. I settled, at least for the time, on the idea that I had made it up in my mind or understood another quote to have meant that wisdom means the outcome doesn’t matter. In the process of my research I came across this book page on Google from “World Transformation: A Guide to Personal Growth and Consciousness.”
Wow, doesn’t that make it so clear how one must live?
Today, at church, I learned that in the Bible,
[It] clearly teaches that Christians are not to worry. In Philippians 4:6, we are commanded, “Do not be anxious [do not worry] about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” -Got Questions
In old religions and in new, it is clear that to worry is not productive. This is wisdom. I understand this. To try and to explain it, shortly and sweetly, in a way that one can also feel what is being spoken, is neigh impossible.
Let me return now to yesterday, when I was sitting by the lake with my friend. They began to speak long and deeply about friends, real ones and fake ones, about wanting to move to other places, about the illusionary nature of thoughts such as “if I move there I will be happy,” about the understanding that we have everything here that we need, and much, much, more.
I thought of the book, how the main character spoke long and deeply like my friend, and how the ferryman did not like words.
Typically I can speak for as long as Terrence McKenna, or even longer. Yesterday, I did not. I was silent at times that my friend wanted me to speak. They asked me if I had a response, and tried to nudge me, in ways that were a test to see if I was still even paying attention or ever going to say something. They commented about my silence. I strained to get a few audible sounds out of my mouth. I didn’t have much to say. The way their mind was spiraling through their own thoughts, my own mind had too. I learned to let these thoughts quiet down and ebb away. I don’t like giving them energy.
The answers to these questions seemed simple to me, especially the question my friend had of “how can you feel comfortable moving to a new place if you don’t know anyone, how do you make new friends?” I never had a hard time making new friends or chatting with people. I have a hard time connecting with people at the level I would like, but then again, we all do.
For the sake of keeping the people I would connect a mystery, so that I can never become paranoid that someone who I connect with so well and acts in a way that pleases me simply because they are reading my available writing in a way to get close, I will keep those details to myself. That is a grand decision to make in fact, because it presumes that someone would one day care enough to read through all of these writings to find some morsel that could get them the key to my heart.
Maybe someone will one day. Who am I to say I am not worth the effort? I wonder if I am like an open book though, if it’s clear that there is no key and that my door is more or less open. If it is, then I wonder if I should wonder about whether it should have a key, or at least a net or a glass barrier or something like that, at least to keep me insulated. Who knows?
I didn’t have much answers. The only answer I had regarding real and fake friends was this:
Is it possible that the friends which feel close to you now are only close because you are close?
Earlier I had asked if the 4 close friends that they mentioned would visit them if they lived in Alaska. They said they would, but then they said they weren’t sure, because everyone talks. So with that in mind, being in Alaska makes it feel like my friend is further away from their friends then if they were in Virginia. However, is it possible that they only feel close to the Virginia friends because they are close and as a result it’s easy to see their friends who wouldn’t be as close if there was a physical distance between them?
My friend was extremely confused by my answer-question, as well as my repetition of it to try to say it in a way that they understand. I admit, even the way I wrote it above can be hard to follow. I have no desire to edit it and to determine the most clear way to share this idea, or even to check for grammatical errors of the rendering of this thought.
The thought is what counts to me. The conclusion, that in some instances, the ones we feel the closeness and joy of that appears to be joy of our being is in fact the reflection of our own joy. It’s like sitting under a blanket on a cold day thinking that the blanket is warm. The blanket is not warm, but rather, the blanket reflects your heat back into yourself, making it feel warm.
Maybe I ought to share this analogy with my friend. Then, maybe then, they would better understand. Whether they understand or not, however, is not necessarily all that important. Maybe that is why it was hard for me to speak. What did it matter if I had answers that could help or not, what did it matter if I had thoughts that I could share or not, what did it matter to me if questions were left unanswered, if answering them and the outcome of the answers were not something that “mattered” to me in the sense that I was not attached to the outcome? I think this approach is what makes me a little bit hard to deal with at times. I don’t outright say that the outcome doesn’t matter, but I do hint at it.
Where shall we go, when shall we go, how shall we go about it, why, what, and so forth. All of these questions I don’t really have answers for. The friend with me at the lake knew this about me, maybe more than anybody else. They told me that they have four close friends. I think the average is like one. I told them that they had an abundance of friends, and I didn’t understand why they felt otherwise.
On the same note though, it would be nice to have more than three or four friends. I can resonate with that feeling. What if the whole world was our friend?
By the end of listening to my friend speaking about all of these things, I was impacted quite deeply. The notion, concept, and literal manifestation of the word friend ceased to mean anything to me. I decided that friends don’t mean anything. Really, what is beautiful, is brothers, sisters, mentors, mentees, teachers, pupils, colleagues, and co-students or “classmates” as they call them.
I shared this idea with my “friend,” and asked them to ponder this: if you were a chef and you worked alongside another chef who had the same goal of making good food, wouldn’t that be your best friend? They said no, because that person might not be there outside of work. I responded with, no, not a chef who isn’t real. A chef who is real and who is a friend. Then my friend responded yes but everyone can be one thing and a friend. Everyone can be XYZ, and a friend.
And I said that I quite understand how everything is a venn-diagram in this nature of what we were discussing, but rather a friend that is a friend because you are both chefs.
Maybe my analogy failed again. I remembered how the graceful friend, that I mentioned earlier from a different time and place at a bonfire, had told me that J.R. R. Tolkien had a certain friend who he would walk with and talk for hours. That seems like a friend to me, but the only reason that I can even say that is because the person he walked with was most of all a listener, a thinker, and an author as well.
A chef who owns a business with another chef for example are both there because they want to be, and because they share a common goal together, and have the same passion of making great food which pleases them for others to eat, or at least for them to make it, and so forth.
Maybe that’s what friendships really lack, a common goal. Can we say with certainty what the common goal of certain friendships are? Are they just to keep away the daily tedium or to be entertained by? Or are they roots or branches that intermingle with our own? Are they adjacent trees, or are they fingers on our hands that we couldn’t live without? If they are fingers, then do our hands live our lives in a way which our fingers would want to live?
I hope you can see now why the word friend began to dissolve away for me. I wish that all words dissolved away like this, but for what it’s worth other words are not as complicated. The word blue for example, that will mean blue to me any time of the day. Friend? I don’t know what that means and I don’t know if anyone really does either.
The dictionary says that friends have a mutual affection for each other. Mutual affection could mean anything and nothing. A study about Facebook shows that out of 150 friends only 15 can be counted as actual friends and 5 as close friends. Of those actual friends, other research finds that those relationships exist out of “mutual benefits” or being close to each other and what have you.
I told my friend while driving them home that after I move out of state I feel that we aren’t going to keep in touch. They were sad when I said this and said that I’m a pessimist. As sad-feeling-invoking as the statement may be, I am certain I am correct. My friend and I both do not keep in touch with people that have moved, or keep in touch after moving, after we discussed the matter. How likely would it be that two people who don’t keep in touch with people at a distance would actually end up keeping in touch?
Does the outcome really matter?
I will see if it does. My heart will see how it feels, and their heart too. When all is said and done, and the universe reaches entropy and it completes its final crunch though, then, at that point, as all the matter is coming together and going back out again to form a new reality, this outcome, it won’t have really mattered to the future of matter.
While writing this article and researching study papers on friendship, I came across an interesting one worth reading the abstract of.
Now, while just linking to the above paper I found, I began to read this paper:
Williams, Robin M. “Friendship and Social Values in a Suburban Community: An Exploratory Study.” The Pacific Sociological Review, vol. 2, no. 1, 1959, pp. 3–10. JSTOR, JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/1388330.
I urge you, if you’ve read this far into my somewhat run-on ramble, you will find a lot of benefit in signing up for a free account and reading the paper. As I was reading the results, I found an interesting conclusion. My idea of friends not meaning anything, and there being value in say, colleagues, looks like an accurate statement based on the research conducted in the paper:
These paragraphs are words I agree with. The study didn’t look at a lot of people, so it may not be statistically significant, but it definitely confirms for myself that friendships result in a kind of dry, dull, and drab murmur in which “political differences” as taken as jokes and the people that actually choose each other as friends are in the same profession so when they’re not working they can relate with those who do the same work that they do.
Also, the beginning of the research paper as seen below proves to me that the word friend is extremely convoluted. Nonetheless I enjoy the snippet below more as a description or ideation of what a friend is rather than the dictionary definition:
I would like to share with you an interesting conclusion of this paper.
“Friends” mostly exist because of “mutual advantages” or “mutual benefits,” in school and work and life. There we have it folks. Maybe this won’t always be so, but as far I’m concerned this is true for most of the world as it stands now. The outcome of friendships being such a thing today doesn’t impact me. I will skip friends and go to the source: enlarge my family of brother and sisters, one day find a partner, meet colleagues and mentors, and teach others what I have learned.
You as the reader are not my friend for example. You are more akin to an apprentice into the mind of Octavian, which is an apprentice of life, which you are as well, making us pupils of a greater community and universe which is made up of us and which we are a part of all at the same time.
With that in mind, it is time for me to discuss today.
Today — Day 94
Today I went to church at 10 AM. It was an Evangelical Presbyterian church. I knew God would speak to me. I was there because One had willed for me to cut my right hand on accident a few days prior, in a way that made me think of Jesus and those that remind me of Jesus.
The graceful friend was one of those people I thought about yesterday. I reached out to them, to let them know I hope all is well. They said it was and asked me how I am, to which I responded about my gratefulness for the hand incident among God. They asked when I’m coming to bible study, I said I may not be able to make it on Wednesdays, which is when this graceful friend has them, and I asked if there’s one on Sunday.
There was church they said. I asked the time and the place, and there I was today, 10 minutes late.
I was 10 minutes late because someone I built a website for thought that an order made on their shop did not go into the database system. After putting an hour worth of work into troubleshooting the issue, from the very moment that I woke up, I discovered that the order didn’t show up because it had been made using PayPal Here, in person, not online. I wasn’t frustrated with this troubleshooting, and I have my reasons for that, but to cut this 3,100 writing piece as short as possible I will cut back on some of the details and get to my other thoughts as quickly as possible. It’s 11 PM. I wanted to start my new week fresh and alert, with plenty of sleep! I seem to always do this to myself.
Which reminds me, today I decided to begin to limit my writings to 10 minutes a day. 10 minutes for this blog, 10 minutes for my personal writing. I can spit out about 750 words in 10–15 minutes, which is about a page of writing, which also happens to be a great length for a day’s note to be.
God told me that I shouldn’t carry burdens of mine which have no need to be carried. I should carry the burdens of others. I knew this but it was nice to hear God repeat it to me.
Then I heard One say “come up where I am, you can come up high here too, step up the stairs.” Later in the sermon David was talking about his steps being entrapped and his enemies digging a hole or something for him to fall into. I liked how I heard come up where I am, step up the stairs, and then externally a few minutes later I heard the sermon mentioning steps once more.
Today was also when I learned that Jesus asked people in what instance does worrying add an hour to your life?
What great lessons!
I took notes with fervor on the sermon paper I was given.
Before and after the sermon I greeted and hugged friends I knew there, as well as some people I had seen at the bonfires their group holds, or on the way to bible study one-time when we drove for nearly an hour and a half to get to one of their friend’s house where it was hosted.
A friend there was late, later than me, and when they walked in they were wearing what looked like sunglasses. I liked how they looked. Then I later realized they were just transition lenses. Apparently this friend’s boss had said that they look like a violent criminal, likely because of their hair, their stubble, and these glasses which could either be aviators to some (they looked like aviators to me) or maybe “older-people glasses” with the double metal bar at the top. I noticed that the nose piece on the friend’s right side was crooked and not aligned with their nose. I asked if I could see their glasses and after two adjustments, the piece stood perfect.
I used to be an optician. That was my first real job, at 18 years old, helping people see better once they got their glasses, and helping them understand how to use them if they were new to say, bi-focals or progressive bi-focals.
I had never seen someone get frames like this friend’s that could be mistaked for “older-people glasses.” I wondered how cheaply I could get a pair like that made for running or for wearing because I find them fashionable. Speaking of, my running glasses are on an outdated prescription and after my runs my eyes hurt. I don’t want to get my regular glasses sweaty and I don’t want to wear contacts just for a half hour’s run, so I’m at a crossroads there. I definitely should get a cheaper pair made for being active.
After the sermon we went to a Mexican restaurant. I reconnected with one of the two friends I first met in February that got me connected to the rest of the church group I have been describing. This friend and I had never really spoken that much. Today, I found out that they and I are very similar. We have routines of waking up early (or I used to have these, and starting again tomorrow), meditating, doing yoga, and so forth. They are vegan, and started out as Pescatarian. I started out as Pescatarian, and now I am vegetarian.
This friend I spoke to and reconnected with, they were up on the stage singing when I came into the church and for a good while. After speaking to them I wondered why I had ever been shy to speak to beautiful or “popular” people before, and how much I was missing out by being shy to open up.
I spoke about how I want to begin fasting once a week, for a day, like I did yesterday when I didn’t eat for 24 hours. They told me that their partner did that for 4 months and was very inspiring to them, the self-control. They also said that they themselves have fasted from 6 AM to 8 PM at night, which is an idea I like trying.
When they spoke about yoga I was inspired to do more of it by myself, every day, instead of once or twice a week at a yoga group or at a yoga class. We both learned from each other, during our mid-length conversation.
I liked how this friend held their hands and fingers when they spoke. There were two hand gestures that stood out to me which looked like Mudras, that I want to replicate and create artwork of. I shared this with them. They told me it’s because they enjoy dancing and self expression through such a form. I was adoring every word, as it was expanding the amount of creative ideas I have for art pieces and also giving me a dozen different ideas to respond with.
After eating the food, we were outside the restaurant. My graceful friend then asked me if I build websites, and then their partner asked if that means I work on side-projects. I said yes. My graceful friend asked if I would teach their partner how to build websites and essentially make money doing it.
I said, in a way that I can as a writer and lover of words only describe as “cooly,” I said cooly, “yes, I will teach you.”
The reason I said it this way is because I had no other way to say it. Just yesterday after having had every single thought I have shared with you on the topic of friends, I had this craving and yearning for meeting that business partner, that co-developer, who I have been dreaming about for months if not years.
I tried to get my ex partner interested in programming. It failed. I tried to get my brother interested into programming. It failed. I did’t know how to program but I didn’t want to learn alone. I know how to get things done using computers, and most people who don’t use computers to the capacity I do would say I do know how to program, but by my standards I don’t.
I tried to get my dad interested in programming. It was somewhat a success though we didn’t keep up with learning together. One of my friends is getting into it, but it will be months before they are in even the “2nd grade” on programming, simple things like websites, and I am I would say on the “8th or 9th” grade of the topic, and I want to be at a PhD level in this field, within all reality.
So with all of that in mind, I was yearning someone who I can speak to about these things and grow with together, build great things, and chef up amazing “digital entrees” to the world together. The graceful friend’s partner already knows Python. They’ve been teaching themselves coding for two years.
We went to a ice cream shop. I let my friend who I was going to teach how to build websites drive my car, because the Mexican food was wreaking my intestines and I didn’t want to wreck my car. The Mexican place’s bathroom was in use, so we had to make a quick get-away to where I could find a bathroom. At the ice cream shop I was in the bathroom for about 10 minutes. When I came out, my friend went in.
I went to buy an ice-cream. The iPad register wasn’t working. A manager was on the phone calling someone. The cashier said their system isn’t working. I looked at the manager and asked if they can write down my card number and process it later. They said that would work. I asked what was wrong with the system, they said the Wi-Fi wasn’t connecting. Then I made a hotspot and showed the cashier the password, telling her to connect to it. They thought that “octavian” was a password because I watch some show. I told them it’s my name.
The hotspot worked, everyone was delighted. I paid for my ice cream and the data of my card used the data of my phone. I found that funny. Another woman that was in front of me and couldn’t buy ice-cream asked if I would keep the hotspot on so that she could buy some. I let her use it too. Then the cashier said she can use her’s, and that she had never even thought of that. I told her that she can write a check to the same name, for the consulting.
Afterwards I told the manager I wanted to sit down and teach my friend something, and asked if I could asked them to turn down the music slightly. I really wanted it to be at like 25% the volume. They turned it down to like 7% of what it was, without me really stating how low I wanted it to be. I was so happy with the service and I’m sure they were happy with me fixing their issue of the register so quickly.
Then some friends from the church walked in, and I went up to their face as they opened the door and screamed. No one else was in the shop aside from the workers, and I’m glad I did. I really got them.
My other friend who I was going to teach was in the bathroom for as long as me. When they came out I asked them black or blue, they said blue, I handed them a blue pen from my back pocket without even looking at which color I picked. Before they came out I put the blue one to the right of my back left pocket, and the black one to the left of my left back pocket.
You see, I am somewhat of a fan of illusion. I like magic. I enjoy showing an effortless effort when I can. They were amazed that there was a notepad next to my laptop and I was so prepared.
Then for a full hour I spoke as much as I have written here. I spit at them all of the information possible when it comes to finding projects to work on, building websites, working with servers, evaluating different options, providing solutions, working with customers, and so forth. I began my teaching with stating that every other time I’ve taught people things it’s ended badly for me, which is not true if looked at in an analytical matter but true as far as I remember it. I said that even though it’s ended badly for me I am not afraid to teach others, but unlike before I cannot give away my knowledge for nothing. I stated I am not donating my knowledge, and that something is expected in return. I said to the friend that it could be helping me in the future with something that they may know more about than I do, for example like the founders of Snapchat or other companies call up friends when they run into scaling issues, or that if they become a millionaire I won’t ask for money but if I it would help me to have a shack or a basement from them, with rice and a Wi-Fi connection, then that would be a nice thing to give and something I would gladly accept.
I think I will keep saying this whenever I teach people things. It helps with partnerships too to set the playing field and say hey, I’ve been screwed before, please don’t screw me now.
Not that the outcome really matters. You see, I say these things because it’s nice to have them said, and it makes people ask questions. Asking questions is good. It also elevates the focus one has on whatever they’re going into, and that can be important when what one is going into is an hour long session of me talking, unrestrained, about virtually everything I have learned in the past five years of building websites.
My friend at the end said that they one, understood everything I said, two, that if I taught myself programming in just two months with what I know I could be building just about anything I want. I responded with an odd thing, of “where will the customers in that be?” The friend described me being able to build, say, custom CMS (content management systems) in Python. I think that would take a long-time and the there’s no desire for a new CMS in the traditional sense. But at the same time, I knew what he was saying was correct, because I had been inspired to build a certain CMS, for a new server technology, a few months ago.
So in all honesty, my other friend that said I’m a pessimist may have been correct. I know in the end we will likely not keep in touch after I move, but they were right in saying I’m a pessimist.
With this all in mind, I should teach myself programming as quickly as I can and as best as I can. It looks like now I have a good friend, so to say, in this field, and that I can go far and grow and still have someone to remember from the beginning of it all.
That’s really all I wanted, so it was nice that God brought me to parkouring that cut my right hand slightly in a way that reminded me of Jesus, which brought me to church, which brought my graceful friend to ask if I would teach their partner how to build websites and make money, when in reality, the question was would you be a teacher and learn in the process of teaching your philosophy about these things?
Well, I most certainly did, and I’m proud of my class today. I covered passively that money doesn’t matter, but it does, and the ways in which is does, in the ways that it can give you the opportunity to invest into new things, say the development of your own idea, down the line, and that it’s important to be wise about money, unlike I have been for the past few years. Then after getting through all of the disclaimers and talks of things not even related to websites, it was easy to get into the technical things. My friend was a technical person, so we spoke the same language, had the same end goals, and could easily relate to one-another.
God gave me another chef just a day after I yearned for one and said let there be no friends, I have no notion of friends anymore, I only see brothers, and sisters, and colleagues, who are united as family or by their goals and passions.
God is so poetic that to top it all off, One fed my friend and I the same food, from the same chef, that was ill-prepared and not with the attention to detail that would have avoided making spoiled food, which in the end, brought us both to sitting on the same toilet, one after another, unleashing bowels of fire, so that we would be able to sit down and focus on how to share the craft of properly digitally crafting “food;” the same toilet which I wouldn’t have been able to get to had there not been a friend who would have a reason to drive with me to a different place, once I realized that the men’s bathroom at the Mexican place was occupied and that there wasn’t much time, there wouldn’t have been this friend who joked as I sat grimacing in my passenger seat that they were my angel, and I later thought, surely, I let “Jesus take the wheel today,” none of that would have happened without God having a hand in the kitchen of life, for One is the best chef which inspires the best chef in Me.
Originally published at storyofoctavian.com.