List of all the major friendships in my life:
- Girl who my mom set me up with when I was a toddler. I think she was Japanese. Don’t remember much except that she had a sick/huge house.
- Guy who had an older brother who was into playing tabletop RPG games: Warhammer 40,000, Epic etc. We listened to a lot of Metallica. Played some DOS games on a Gateway PC. Built some cool Lego space ships. Our moms were in the same book club.
- Guy who was really into scary movies. We must have been pretty young. He was allowed to watch rated-R stuff way before me. Saw Fight Club with him while we ate some snacks his mom made for us. Also, he lived next door to my parents so that was chill. Had a beer with him in New York recently. Weird but cool.
- Guy who got me into both Submlime and Smashmouth. We would sing along to the radio in the school bus on the way to public alternative school. Also remember playing a Microsoft dirt bike simulator. He thought his dad was really cool but I knew from my mom that is dad wasn’t that cool (don’t remember why).
- Guy who was kind of into skateboarding and wearing orange Abercrombie parachute pants. Really wanted my own pair until I turned 12. I played a lot of N46 at his house. He made me watch, mostly. I remember his mom talking a lot about his behavioral problems but… like… with him in the room.
- Guy who, when I finally got seriously into skateboarding, was already more into it. Roughly middle school? Before 9/11, I feel. He was into metal and we were both into punk rock from the late 1990s. I remember we both listened to headphones in gym class. He started smoking cigarettes at some point and then quit many times. We almost reconnected in college but I think drugs may have gotten in the way. I imagine we’ll hang out again at some point.
- Two girls who I was tight with in middle school. They were a year older than me. We were into local Seattle emo bands. Chatted on MSN instant messenger a lot. Gossip and lame teen stuff. All attended same public magnet school in Bellevue WA. They kind of hated me after my parents put me in private school. I remember we (along with previous friend in this list) went on a school trip to the Oregon coast. We got like guys and girls hotel rooms. Felt very free. At the time, felt I could almost taste what life could be like after primary school. There will be a lot of punk rock and low-wage jobs, I assumed.
- Weird dude who was into video production stuff was my first friend in private high school. Really kind and occasionally thoughtful but terrible with deadlines. Met because our moms wanted us to get our required community service out of the way before high school academics became too intense. He now manages a chain restaurant owned by his family.
- Guy who my family took as a foreign exchange student during my freshmen year of high school. We became very close. He was into music and got me to go to local metal shows. He was a couple years older so he helped me get my priorities right. Visited him in his home country at the end of high school. Got drunk for the first time and pissed in the Adriatic Sea. Would love to go back there and write a book. Excellent local pilsner.
- Guy who I became skate buddies with after freshmen year of high school. Still close with him. We listened to a lot of dumb agro music (MSI?) and hung out together, complaining about the shit of our lives. Still friends.
- Other guy I could stand to hang out with in high school. We played music together but nothing serious. He didn’t skateboard but he was into weird movies and stuff. He had a boat we went out on sometimes. Still friends.
- Guy who I could not always stand to be around but who I was always friends with because he was such a freak. He ended up going to Stanford, which we all thought was really impressive at the time. Difficult to explain him in a short piece. He lived, for a while, at a place in Seattle owned by a fishing boat captain. I’d go over there sometimes during college and we’d drink vodka and make pasta, maybe go for a drive if someone was sober. He always saw the world as this big impossible thing that he had to try every day to understand. We are still friends.
- Guy who I was in my first band in college with. I think he dropped out of school because of meth. We shared a lot of cultural interests. He grew up in the city. He always indulged my (and everyone else’s) negative impulses. I kind of moved on from that friendship but it he helped me understand who I was. Helped me eventually land with the college friends I ended up with staying closer with.
- Two guys I lived with, both from Eastern Washington (across the mountains, not the lake). We met part-way through freshmen year (for me, a time when my life was very much socially adrift). Really good guys. We drank a lot in college but not in a binge-y way. It always felt very high-brow and real. Walks around parks and to fishing-industry bars. We never had to say much to get along. Still don’t, I’d wager. Shared a deep sort of personal politics with both of them. (This was roughly during the run-up to the 2008 presidential election.)
- Guy I was in a band (one of only two cool bands I‘ve been in… out of… 6?) with after freshmen year of college. Part of a group of music scene friends from areas outside of Seattle. Very big freak and one of my closest friends. Lived near his place in two different towns (Redmond and Greenpoint), which we always gloatingly mention to people.
- Guy, also in this Eastside Seattle-area music scene, who I got to know better in college. Probably seen more than 15 of his shows. We never lived that close, still don’t. He had some problems with drugs and seeing him get through that (not at all unscathed) informed a the way I live to some degree. A very humble and kind person who never asks out of life more than he gives to it. Knows his hometown like nobody else. Scribe-like status as artist and listener.
- Guy who I met during college but became closer with after we edited Sense Europa together in New York ~5 years later. Very into the possibility of the imagined and realized self. Turned me on to the New York media elite.
- Guy who I met in ad school after college. Of two friends I keep in touch with from ad school. Deeply hospitable disposition. Always down for a chat. One of those outsiders who doesn’t realize it and grows rich with experiences as a result.
- Other guy I know from ad school. Holds shit down in San Francisco for me. Another relationship that requires no maintenance (I hope). I know almost nobody else in SF, thank god.
- Guy I met at Ruby Room near Lake Merritt who introduced me to everybody else I met in Oakland (though I had some kind of marginal credibility because my Seattle friends had been in bands that toured there). He had traveled a lot, which always impresses me on some level if the person maintains themselves across divergent cultures.
- One of my closest friends ever. We made films together. I don’t remember exact meeting but I feel it was in the Locos Only house on MLK in Oakland, not too long after meeting friend mentioned above.
- Two brothers who are among the kindest and most sensitive people I’ve ever met. They are both interpersonal geniuses. I imagine them founding Rome together and still getting along, kicking it for life essentially. They really took me in when I needed friends. It was a whole art community I didn’t know was possible. Supportive and fun and cool. I was 22.
- Guy who was/is funny and always there with something smart to say. Sort of a party optimizer. Keeping everyone on the level. Parties were important to me at that age.
- Guy who was my first real friend in New York. Met him through some writers. We skateboarded a bit. He writes too, or he did, but not so much lately. Lives close to me with another friend. Both are the types of people you can count on when the really shitty people in New York (they are everywhere!) start to fuck with your head.
- Guy I met while he was still in college at NYU. Smart dude. Great talker. Curious about the world and the purpose of art. I’ve read almost everything he’s written, I feel.
- Guy I met through other people in New York. Migrant from the North. He makes shit happen. Really good at parties. Great to talk to when I’m feeling self-indulgently shitty. Knocks that right out of me.
- Guy I met after he was already slightly famous but only in the way writers in Brooklyn are famous. In other words, previous friend I described made a feature doc about him. I know other people who are more famous but I wouldn’t consider them friends, wouldn’t help them in the same way if they were in a tough spot, etc. Just remembered we were in a band together for a second. Practice space in LES.
- Guy I met because we shared a lot of the same interests online, though we attended the same university at the same time without meeting outside of one formal art collaboration. Had a studio in SOHO with him and a few others for a while. Miss having a studio. Watched a lot of movies. Drank in bars all over downtown and Brooklyn. Shared interests in pop culture, space, deep web, paranormal. He introduced me to tons of non-shitty New York art people.
- Guy I met because we worked at the same marketing company. Another immigrant friend. Another outsider. We get vodka together often and discuss the state of European politics.
- Girl I met because we had art friends in common. Also, we now live together and have sex and cats and stuff.
- Girl and her wife who are both really cool. Very grown-up type of friendship. Met through previous. We collaborate on creative projects. Both are so talented both in work and in empathy/friendship.
- Girl I met through my girlfriend (two previous) who has helped me with my poetry career, especially in terms of networking. She also likes to party and stuff. She took us to a Spanish sci-fi film festival in midtown not that long ago.
- Girl who is the sister of my most recent publisher. Really just so cool. I just… I like people who are real with their emotions and know how to get shit done.
I feel lucky that this list is so long. Also, I’m thinking about all the acquaintances I am somewhat close with, but who I’ve never gotten to know super well. It’s amazing to know cool people are out there, whether they are close to me or not.
While making this list I realized that these are all people who I’ve spent significant time alone with. We’ve wandered the world together. Many of these people were the only people I saw for extended periods of time when I was either being anti-social or living in a place where I didn’t know anyone. Especially true for any period of my life after high school.