Obviously I don’t really know how it feels to be famous. I feel like we’re off to a great start here, reader who clicked this post because the title sounded interesting.
I have felt like the most interesting person in the room precisely twice in my life. I figured I would share one instance with you before I get into the dirty details of just how catastrophically most of the friendships that I established in my first year of college came crashing down in the next several weeks’ posts.
After an ongoing successful execution of a New Year’s Resolution to be a better person, people that already knew me started to genuinely like me just a little bit. People who didn’t already know me were a little less put off by my existence, making friendship an easier feat than it used to be when I wasn’t such a nice guy.
Being liked is a strange thing when it involves friends. No, not “liked” that way (those of you using the middle school vernacular), but to be appreciated for your strangeness, individuality and contributions to a given friendship.
That’s weird to think about sometimes, because people put so much thought into their romantic pursuits and relationships. They overanalyze every little nuance of their prey’s mannerisms in hopes of deciphering whether or not there is a reciprocal interest in maybe hanging out with no pants on sometime.
Friendship, on the other hand, is one of the most widely undervalued commodities in the human connection economy. You can enjoy someone’s company tremendously without putting very much thought into whether or not they “get” you and all of your eccentricities, or if they would help you out if your car got towed while you were at an overcrowded Halloween Party.
That last bit was referring to Kalina, the roommate of an acquaintance from back home that I began hanging out with once I got down to college and struggled to make friends. Looking back on it, I wouldn’t have judged her the type to drive my ass all over town to get my car back on such a rotten night.
All of this fluffy bullshit is building up to one particular moment. Kalina had some friends from High School drive down to party with us one weekend. They were from an area somewhere near University of Florida (home of countless insufferable sports fans). These friends were either two memorable girls or two memorable girls and a totally forgettable third. I truly don’t remember if they were a duo or a trio, but if they were the latter I can’t picture this hypothetical third female’s face or recall a single thing about her.
Kalina had told me on multiple occasions how much she was looking forward to the weekend, so I was hanging out at her apartment when the friends arrived. As they excitedly bounced up and down and hugged each other and shrilled like little girls at a sleepover, I stood back comfortably awkward as I awaited an introduction.
That’s when this bizarre feeling hit me. “You must be Brantley. Oh my God! We’ve heard so much about you!” I needed no introduction. These girls already knew who I was.
That’s what it feels like to be famous. The first time in my entire life that I ever saw these people, they knew who I was, had a few humorous anecdotes that they felt summed up my identity, and were happy to see me despite the fact that I had never intentionally or unintentionally done anything impressive within a 100 mile radius of them.
I don’t remember how I responded. I was too cool to settle for the cliche “I hope you’ve only heard good things” line, but I also get sneaking suspicions that I was more clever back then, so maybe I nailed the response and immediately confirmed all of the nice things that Kalina had told them about me.
It was a bizarre out of body experience, similar to the time that girl wanted me to sleep with her for her boyfriend’s amusement. I probably blushed and felt a sudden urge to drink heavily, but these girls liked me and thought I was cool and I didn’t have to do a damn thing to give them that faulty impression.
Anyways, I just wanted to share this upbeat moment that was one of my biggest social triumphs in this first year of college. Some of the stories that happen next are going to get a little dark and frustrating. I’ll do my best to keep them funny and I will definitely pepper in some lighthearted stuff as I go, but a lot of ravaged friendships really messed me up for a while and I’m just now getting to where I can laugh at them again so we will see how I do in recounting the crap carnival that is this blog’s destiny.
Stay tuned. It’s about to get uncomfortable but interesting.