Sunday, November 04, 2007

Why bother?

Once I wrote that I feel horrible when I'm home on a Friday night. This weekend I didn't have any plans until last minute, and the same fog of confusion settled down around my head. What if I end up home alone with my book? In an instant I started feeling like someone nobody loves, someone excluded. Last night, I went from having no plans to being triple-booked in the matter of an hour, none of the options really excited me (large groups with only a few people I know and like) but I wanted to have them all just in case. As my flatmates were also confused, we ended up grumpily sitting around for a while, walking around our small temporary flat aimlessly, discovering there is no personal space after all, and the boredom and fatigue towards ourselves and everyone else became palpable. We ended up breaking a computer.

Then we went to a larger house with more people, sat around more for a while, watching what we say, and dutifully wound up in this horrible Walkabout (an old church, fittingly) where glassy eyed people were trying to grope each other. I must say I enjoyed some of the songs and the dancing. I almost felt part of a group. We couldn't really hear each other but we glanced at each other lovingly, danced freely, looked at drunker people with tolerance and even sang aloud (of course nobody could hear our voices but we could see we were singing). My phone broke and I couldn't even tell my colleague that I wouldn't be able to make it to her thing. But "in London, that's almost to be expected," one of my flatmates says.

When we got off the bus on our way home, I looked back at all the people in the bus, holding on to the handles. They looked happy-drunk, sad-drunk, tired-drunk, sad-sober, tired-sober, but not happy. What is the point? Why do these people even bother?

One of my favourite sayings is "luck only comes to those who walk around." Is that why? We feel like we need to be out and about to get lucky? Is this the best option out there, one of the terms and conditions we tacitly accepted by being young, moving here? Do we want to feel some kind of intimacy, some kind of solidarity that only comes with getting collectively drunk and over our self-consciousness? Does the bond between people grow stronger when they see each other drunk and silly and sick and still accept it? Because clubs are the only places where we can make horrible dance moves and sing aloud and grope each other, shielded by the crowd and the loud music? We can do all this because it's the only place it's accepted, expected?

Many times after a night out, on my way home in the cold, I wondered whether it was worth it. Sensing my doubts, our leader sat me down one day and told me: "Will you remember the nights you stayed home studying or the nights you went out with your friends?" Yes, I do remember the freezing walks at 5 o'clock in the morning from Dülferstrasse station all the way down Panzerwiese. I remember the parties at Nachtgalerie and Back Stage and Studentenstadt and Fabrik and the Frikadella man in Hauptbahnhof. I remember all this, and I ask whether it was worth it, and maybe it was. Maybe this is all we could come up with after years of experience and evolution, maybe it is the best option.

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