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Thursday, June 18, 2009

London Bridge is Burning Down

Don't I wish a London post could just be about London; the River Thames, the Tower Bridge, the view of Big Ben and all that lovely stuff.

Right now, me talking about London would be the equivalent of when my grandparents put on kimonos and gave a three hour lecture/slide projection about their trip to Asia when I was 10.

"...And this is me on the bridge. It was neat-o. Here we are crossing another cool bridge. London has really cool bridges."

You see, I'm just dripping with eloquence about London. Maybe the words will come later, the desire to describe it. Actually, you know what? There is someone who can describe and photograph it much better than I can.

I've got nothing on London because the trip wasn't really about the city itself, it was about reuniting with old friends and contemplating scorching the fuck out of bridges.

Sometimes reuniting with friends brings about the discovery that you don't have as much in common as you had remembered; you are older now and less tolerant of truckloads of bullshit and less willing to spend precious moments in life that are way-too-damn-quickly passing you by alongside people with whom you find no shred of commonality with any longer.

Or maybe the bad news is that you do find commonality but you just really, really don’t want to...you've been trying to flee from those parts of your personality. Your currently fighting yourself to not be that.

Maybe the bridge-burning fantasies are just something that happens in your thirties when you stop caring how you are perceived and start realizing that if you want to live your life the way you truly believe you should, it sometimes means throwing a match to the bridges you can no longer be bothered to cross, mainly because, well, you've been up and down this riverside a shitload of times now and you know damn well there are a million other more beautiful bridges just begging you to cross them.

There are bridges that are more historical in your life, ones that you believe are sturdier, with much more interesting architectural designs that please your eyes and your feet and your spirit as you cross them, solid ones that can take on various onslaughts of meteorological and erosive phenomena, ones that make you feel more secure in that they can seemingly take on much more weight; the weight that true friendship sometimes demands.

I love those bridges; the really good ones.

And it is bridges like these that make the flimsy, shaky ones that are made of old rotted wood, barely held together by a few rusty nails just not seem worth the trouble anymore.

I didn't exactly burn any bridges in London, because maybe I avoid conflict when I should stand up for my values, but on numerous occasions I greedily caressed my matchbook with my index finger, running it up and down the side taking a single powerful match out and teasing it against the sandpaper threateningly, all the while eyeballing some kerosene and begging my husband to shackle me down so I would hinder my pyromaniacal tendencies of ending friendships. Those walking, talking, flammable bridges I sometimes refer to as "my friends", beckoned to be served a molotov cocktail of shut-the-fuck-up with my burning flame of bridge-detonating disapproval.

But in the end, the flimsy-ass bridges remain intact.

I just don't know that I'm gonna cross them anymore.

And that, my friends, was my weekend in London.

And I guess this post officially makes me an asshole.

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22 comments:

jen June 18, 2009 at 2:11 PM  

if only we could all remain frozen in time... or at least, if only *everyone else* would. being far away from people means the contrasts between periodic snapshots are sometimes that much starker.

allowing some things to fall by the wayside is often the kinder choice.

it still sucks, though. i'm sorry.

~Mountain Lover~ June 18, 2009 at 3:51 PM  

I have a hard time burning bridges too. Sometimes you don't cross them for a while, then you discover in 10 more years you have everything in common in common again

maggie, dammit June 18, 2009 at 7:24 PM  

Actually, I think it makes you an awesome writer.

flutter June 18, 2009 at 8:10 PM  

oh you are so NOT an asshole

Ginny June 18, 2009 at 10:28 PM  

That was a rather beautiful post.

I always feel better after I've torched one of the flimsy ass bridges. Not immediately afterward, but once the proverbial smoke clears, it has always been the right decision.

Xbox4NappyRash June 19, 2009 at 10:33 AM  

I'm not a torcher either, I do the same, I walk away not saying what I wanted to, but just never go back.

Mongoliangirl June 19, 2009 at 3:40 PM  

I used to either burn the bridges down or marry the ones I should have.
That's how I ended up divorced twice and hanging around with a bunch of friends I'd decided were assholes like, 15 years prior.
Now? I just say whatever and let the chips fall where they may. Is that the middle ground?
I think this post is beautiful and does NOT make you an asshole.
Want me to say naughty things to your dishwasher to make you feel better?

Gwen June 19, 2009 at 6:23 PM  

Nah, it doesn't make you an asshole. You're being real and honest and it's a beautiful thing. This post is stunning. I have friends, old friends, that I can't remember why I ever liked or wanted to be around. But I think it's best to keep the bridges in tact. Even if it's just to not hurt people's feelings, you know?

Ellie June 20, 2009 at 6:55 AM  

Not an asshole! Arsehole! And not that either! I don't have the guts to burn those bridges that should be burnt. But enough time has passed now that any of those kind of bridges are pretty well fallen down all on their own accord. Thanks for the link. Made me all giddy and blushed. xx, e

The Unbearable Banishment June 20, 2009 at 8:03 PM  

You’re right about The Daily Smoke. Her address is where I turn until I can get back for a visit.

You’re wrong about being an asshole. This post was better than a travelogue. It’s the same hot coals we all walk over. In my mind, you are correct to keep those bridges intact. For now.

A Free Man June 21, 2009 at 9:14 PM  

Nope. Makes you one of my favorite bloggers.

People in the Sun June 22, 2009 at 10:41 AM  

I met an old friend in London, the singer from the band. I actually only called him once I got there because I was so unsure about meeting him. If we wanted to stay in touch we would have stayed in touch during those last 10 years, right?

So we went out drinking and I realized how important this connection was to me. It'll probably be another 10 years before we see each other again, but he'll always be in my mind because even though our paths are different, we are very similar. Before he left, I told him that smart people find their place in the world and that's where they stay, but him and I are the kind of people who think that if we're comfortable then we must be doing something wrong.

Sorry I hijacked your post.

Rassles June 22, 2009 at 3:17 PM  

You're such a dick.

Completely kidding, because I definitely understand, and I have massive guilt complexes about it. Especially the friends that never did anything "wrong." It's just that their lives like, operate on a Y-axis, and I'm on the X-axis, and it really only makes sense that we crossed once and continued on our way instead of trying to force a friendship out of obligation rather than necessity.

Not Afraid to Use It June 22, 2009 at 8:23 PM  

It totally doesn't make you an asshole, it makes you savvy to who you are now and what you want out of a relationship. When you want the bullshit? You know where to go. You don't want it? Cross elsewhere. It's all about the roadmaps of your life. You just updated the legend, that's all.

Gypsy June 24, 2009 at 1:47 PM  

I'm not much of a bridge burner: it's too active for me. I prefer to just let them decay naturally and fall into disuse.

Denise June 26, 2009 at 5:56 AM  

I know it's not the point of the post, but I love the way you can take one metaphor and stay in it for the entire post. And make it work.

Friends? Sometimes the ones you've written off surprise you years later.

Te June 26, 2009 at 1:19 PM  

There are some bridges which I wish I'd burnt years ealier to prevent them caving in while I was trying to cross them, leaving me close to drowning. Maybe if I'd been able to burn those bloody dodgy bridges earlier I wouldn't be such a bitter and cynical person who burns a bridge when it simply needs a paint job, or a rusty nail replaced. I've even had old bridges call me up and accuse me of being too quick to burn them...wait, where is this going, I'm losing the metaphor.

I frequently stop making any effort with acquaintances who talk total crap and make me want to knock myself out on the nearest hard surface. With friends though, I have found that sometimes a clash of personality is just an age thing, a moment in time, if they are not giving up on the friendship then I don't. I take being let down by people far more seriously, I can handle friends who might think differently to me, I can't handle friends who don't care about anyone but themselves. Wow, ramble, ramble.

Mister Crowley June 27, 2009 at 3:43 AM  

This is one city which I'd die to visit....have cancelled trips to the Smoke thrice at the very last minute (thanks to work) and more recently because the Brit High Commission took 3 months to give me a tourist visa. Bah. It's so much easier to get a Singapore visa.

hereinfranklin June 30, 2009 at 12:38 PM  

If you're an asshole, then so am I. You know, there are some people that you can see once every 10 years and it's more like 10 minutes...you pick up right where you left off. Then there are those people you reconnect with only to discover that you probably never really liked them in the first place, probably because you were drunk. It's like those people on Facebook with 800 friends...total bullshit.

Florida Girl In Sydney June 30, 2009 at 5:25 PM  

Just missed my 20th high school reunion-- I wonder why... probably because anyone I wanted to actually see I would-- don't need a cheesy reunion to do it.

And I do have some friends who I can see every few years, pick right up like it's was yesterday and actually enjoy it-- those are my buds.

formerly fun July 1, 2009 at 10:47 AM  

Rassles said it better than I could, the x/y thing. Blue, this was a great metaphor-loved it. Friendships like coupledoms can converge or diverge, couples have more at stake and thus I think and thus make a greater effort to stay connected and find common ground. I don't mind friends who are different than me but I find the older I get the more I enjoy time with people who feel similarly philosophically. For me seeing some old friends was akin to going back to visit the old house I grew up in--everything looks smaller and less than you remembered it. Thank god for the few good ones we hang on to.

Yo Momma July 1, 2009 at 12:47 PM  

It is hard to see that a friendship that was once there is not there anymore due to time, experience and just changes we made with ourselves. I have a hard time letting go of flimsy bridges myself. I always feel bad and start asking myself, damn what's wrong with me? or like you, I think I'm just being an asshole. Oh well. I think its just best to walk away and remember it fondly. :)

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