63. the friction of human interaction
It's eh and ugh. But we need the guy. We really do.
What can I say? I am guilty. I am guilty of so many things. I am guilty of being too angry or too distracted to finish or start a sentence. I am guilty of not wanting to speak up because it’s too much of an effort and I value my inner peace. I am guilty of thinking a lot and writing very little. I am guilty of eating ice cream more days than I’d like to. I am guilty of leaving important tasks to the very last minute. I am guilty of giving Le Husband the silent treatment when I’m hurt. I am guilty of being too lazy to shower after a sweaty pilates class. I am guilty of petting my dog uncontrollably. I am guilty of being too proud to recognize I am being too fucking proud. I am guilty of swimming in the ocean and not giving the ocean my full attention, only half of it. I am guilty of neglecting my dreams but helping others achieve theirs. I am guilty of replying to texts too late. I am guilty of existing. I am guilty of having a body with bodily needs. I am guilty of feeling guilty.
But above all, I am guilty of avoiding the friction of human interaction.
When you spend time with someone you like. It is nice. It is a nice time. A good interaction. Both parties feel like it’s the right thing to do. Then we have the forced but necessary friction: your Uber driver has arrived and it’s a long way back home. Awkard interaction, but both parties act as if it’s effortlessly chill and fine.
These apps we love do exactly that: erasing the friction from the equation of human interaction. Feel like catching up with a friend but without actually catching up with a friend? Here’s Instagram!
Feel like hopping on a stranger’s car so she can drive you to that party but without calling the stranger and kindly ask her how is she and if she can come pick you up? Here’s Uber!
Feel like having tacos tonight but without going to the taco restaurant and talking to the guy there, waiting in line to check the menu and shouting so he can hear your order? Here’s Postmates!
We don’t likey humans that much.
Do you want to create someone in the image and likeness of yourself?
Good luck with that. You might want to think twice.
Let’s pretend God was happy with his creation (us) for a second. And let’s pretend we are happy about our existence (the erradication of suicide) for a second.
Let’s pretend people stopped judging other people and accepted situations as they came, resistance-free. A frictionless world. Delicious and dangerous.
I always thought God was touching Adam’s finger with his own finger in Michelangelo’s Creation of Adam. That was the solid base I had for today’s essay. My plan was to reconcile the friction I feel when I interact with 99,999999% of human beings by comparing it to God grazing Adam’s finger and overcoming the discomfort of touching some random guy. Well…
Obviously. There’s a gap between those two. And there’s another gap in my History of Art mental file. Sorry dad, I know you wanted to give me an education. Apparently, that’s one of the most revealing details from this picture.
They’re not on the same level as two fellas shaking hands, meeting in a bar and having a few too many pints. The friction of human interaction ends up being unbearable. And Jack and Mike eventually need to leave the bar, head home and find their wives sitting at the table, dinner is cold. (Yeah, this is 1993, the year I was born).
A few hours have elapsed and they seem to be ready to expose their bodies and minds to the interaction with their wives. Good. But tomorrow they’ll go somewhere else and the cycle of moving friction will start all over again.
This is what my therapist used to call contact and retreat.
Spending some time with someone. Leaving, charging your batteries at a friction-free pod aka your home/room/bed. To be able to enjoy the company of them and/or other people in the future. It might be one of the reasons we sleep for hours and hours. Body wants to make sure you just don’t, uhm, interact with other humans.
What about putting some glasses + a hat on to go for a walk with your dog? Not wanting to have to deal with the
Trying my best to say hi to that person but also trying to not say hi to that person. A good old classic in the experience of living in a city where you’ve met some of the other people living in there.
And the conversation of
“goood! and you?” —> LIE
“great! how’s Tommy?” —> LIE
”oh, you know him, good as always” —> DOUBLE LIE, HE’S NOT GOOD AND SHE DOESN’T KNOW TOMMY, YOU DON’T EVEN KNOW TOMMY AND TOMMY DOESN’T EVEN KNOW WHO HE IS.
That is the dance of friction. Friction in human interaction makes us say silly, stupid stuff.
Like this one time I was anxious and I didn’t know how to leave a party, I had no safety net apart from my skin keeping my organs in and preventing them from falling all over that stranger’s house. I rushed to the door, with my purse and coat in hand, praying “please, don’t let them see me”. When, as I was turning the handle, a guy from the party yelled “Ale! where are you going?”
I was so anxious, so full of friction.
That I could only grab my coat and blurt in slow but fast motion “I have to leave, my coat is wet like a rat. Bye! How are you? I mean, not how are you. That’s what you say when you say hi not bye. But how are you anyway? Well, no, sorry, that is weird. Okay, I’ll go now, I hope you have a nice time! See you soon. Okay? Bye. Bye and nothing else this time. Just bye. Bye now”.
That happened for real. In Spanish.
However, there is two sides to the same coin and this coin is no exception. The friction doesn’t only apply to relationships. It’s one of the forces allowing us to exist in this world.
Friction: Force that resists the sliding or rolling of one solid object over another. Frictional forces, such as the traction needed to walk without slipping, may be beneficial, but they also present a great measure of opposition to motion. About 20 percent of the engine power of automobiles is consumed in overcoming frictional forces in the moving parts.
We kinda need the guy.
Friction can slow things down and stop stationary things from moving. In a frictionless world, more objects would be sliding about, clothes and shoes would be difficult to keep on and it would be very difficult for people or cars to get moving or change direction
The guy is here for a reason. The guy is here to stay. Let’s accept the guy’s presence.
Even though God isn’t actually touching Adam’s hand. He’s definitely paying attention to him, reaching his hand and looking him right in the eye. So, if God knows even he -GOD- needs some kind of friction to live and be complete, why wouldn’t I be ready to just learn this once and for all? And by this I mean: friction is helpful and it probably makes my life easier, not worse.
It might be a good time to remind you -and myself- friction also allows you to have an orgasm.
And we should all be thankful to friction for that.
bye bye bye,
by all means, have a quick look at this before you leave
Friction made this photograph possible.
See you next week. And go forward.
Go forward. No matter how strange and uncomfortable the conversation gets. You go forward.
I love you. yeah?
I mean. I do.
how are you?