Criticism. Essay. Fiction. Science. Weather.
The only thing I don’t like about seeing movies alone is that I don’t hear friends laugh at the funny parts. I like being reminded that I’m not alone in my amusement. I’m rarely a shower-singer and I haven’t done strange voices or disturbing faces in the mirror much since I was ten.
Nonetheless, self-pleasure has been a mainstay in my life. I read and sometimes get coffee alone on weekend mornings and run and go on long walks and masturbate. I love doing all of those things. Recently, though, I’ve come across a whole other kind of solitary mirth, more personal and more public all at once.
is a new part of my life. I was introduced when one afternoon, listening to iTunes through company headphones, the final movement of Beethoven’s 9th began to play. I turned the volume all the way up and concentrated absolutely on listening. As coworkers walked by, I giggled at the secret of the booming music and my immersion in it. That was the moment that Avoid-A-Bob
came into my life. I recognized the challenge and I took it on. I desperately tried not to bob my head or otherwise indicate my involvement with the song throughout the entire fifteen-0r-so-minutes. It’s a game that can’t be won, but it’s a terrific time. Even better is surrendering to the game completely and giving oneself a sore neck. More advanced players may choose to move on to Journey’s Greatest Hits
. I am very very into that nowadays. I never come close to winning, though.
One might suppose that by wearing headphones (plainly visible) and passionately mouthing the words, “Hold on to that feeee—eelin’,” any level of secrecy or joy delivered by privacy would be shattered. Not the case. Nobody understands what a blast the player is having. That is the game’s greatest achievement: with Avoid-A-Bob
one privately has a party in public.
I heartily recommend giving it a try. Burst free from the button-down world and rock-out. The bliss goes on and on and on and on and oooooooon.
The ability to quote lines of text from pop cultural sources is an invaluable skill necessary to acquiring and establishing a group of friends appropriate to one’s personality. It is this common ground on which the foundations of a true bond can only be built. Common experiences, shared joys and miseries, similar proclivities: these are all dear aspects of a friendship, to be sure. But these come later. These develop throughout time once the fragile beginnings of a relationship have been established and fortified through the imperative process of citational identification.
I find that, rather than endure the laborious and often tedious process of interviewing prospective friends, or acquaintances eager to traverse the precarious bridge into the territory of companionship, it is much simpler to sprinkle the halting conversation with allusions to television programs and movies. Although a mutual knowledge of literature and music can be useful, you don’t want to come off as a self-important pratt. And furthermore, there are just some books that everyone’s been forced to read, so you don’t gain much ground by attempting to verify that they know an appropriate response to "to be, or not to be." I mean, come on. So limit the quotes to television and movies, and you should be fine.
A brief tutorial in this method of referential association should be helpful. For example, if your interlocutor drops a piece of candy or other comestible on the floor, you might want to cry out, "it’s still good, it’s still good!" If said interlocutor responds with a knowing smile or makes a quippy remark about a flying pig, you can be certain that he or she is a fan of the Simpsons. It is then up to you to decide whether such a person is worth getting to know. (He or she is.) Similarly, if you sit down to a meal consisting of tasteless or inedible food, you may want to complain to the waiter that you do not eat Soylent Green. If your kind waiter replies that the restaurant in which he works is not in the business of cannibalistic cuisine, you probably want to ask him to sit down to dine with you. ‘Cause that’s a cool guy.