Jealous Guy

Another song title – this time John Lennon’s, but one I have had pounding through my mind this weekend, in anticipation of today, when my partner spent the morning with friends and their kids.

It is a scenario mostly alien to me. I have brief and tepid phases of craving some kind of connection and so force myself into the lives of one or two people I know I could probably tolerate for a short period of time, but on the whole there is nothing. I do not ‘socialise’ and I do not have ‘friends’.

So the idea of people wanting to see him while we were visiting his Scottish hometown for a few days unsettled me to an uncomfortable degree. It made me confront the notion that I do not like others having demands on his time – true of his full-time job, also, I realised – and worse, it flooded me with burning envy and rabid curiosity.

People, it seems to me at least, do not have such a desire for my company – which I duly take as a judgement on my character. This prompts a thousand hours of self-analysis and introspection and never yields a conclusion. How can it, when I simply cannot know inside the mind of literally everyone else?

Thus I am envious. He makes friends so easily and has even figured out how to keep them – how to effortlessly slip back into laughter and gossip and the comfortable dynamic even after months of absence from one another.

So sparks the curiosity. What do they even talk about? Who leads? Is their a ringleader? A louder, more bolshie member of the group around whom all must sit and idly listen? Or do they manage to take their turn, each offering a tidbit at a time? Is it all light-hearted and jovial chit-chat? Or do things grow personal and intimate? How does one even handle such topics in an ice-cream parlour with children running to and fro? How do they succeed in holding up conversation and, in the applicable cases, the image of themselves they wish to project, and not succumb to the crushing weight of paranoia or self-doubt brought on by comparing themselves to others? In my experience, conversations are an exercise in crowing loudest, be it positively or negatively, and it feels like a competition to me. I like to win, but I cannot compete in that.

A thousand questions. Many of which were levelled at my partner on the way home from Scotland. He, in turn, felt interrogated, and as though he shouldn’t even have bothered going out if he was going to get this much grief about it.

So in the end, neither of us left feeling content.

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