fall / Growing Up / life

Campfireside Chats

Every season is Campfire Season, but Fall Campfire Season is the best Campfire Season. Except for Freak Warm Winter Day Campfire Season.

That one’s amazing. It’s like seeing a unicorn dancing on a double rainbow after a rain shower of hot fudge.

During Fall Campfire Season the weather is cool, days aren’t as short as they’re going to be, and everyone is still summer-flexible and in the mood to sit around all night and talk.

The weird thing that sometimes happens around the fire, though, is that someone occasionally hits on something that lands.

Or, sometimes it’s two to seven things. The number varies based on length of friendship and the ratio of beers to speaker.

It’s complicated math.

Last Saturday night, I ended up in the insight hot seat. A number of the things my friend Tom said were surprisingly — nay, alarmingly — accurate. For no reason in particular, and without malice, he took a few swigs, looked across the fire, and said a bunch of things that made a good amount of sense and that stuck in my brain.

While there was more to it, what he basically said was this: Even though I’m very rational and practical on the surface (and in general), I’m also a very emotional person. I just don’t go there in front of people very much.

It’s strange when people simply tell you something they thought you should know they noticed.

Here’s a story:

I didn’t date much in college. I had a lot of stuff to do, like run on treadmills and write papers. Then, as now, in terms of romantic matters, I could be a little tunnel-visioned and lot dense. I also have a chronic case of Little Buddy.

But I did get taken to a dive bar or two in my day. Not often, but sometimes.

Anyway, one night, one of the people I dated* and I were having one of those wrenching State of the State conversations. The conversation had to happen; circumstance and 4 out of my 5 roommates demanded it#.

It was one of those relationships that had been universally observed**, but that had no discernible internal label.  When it came down to it, what could have gone a number of ways wasn’t going to work out. It was pretty terrible.

But, because he didn’t know that I use the fact that I’m below most people’s eye level to my advantage when I’m sorting through something upsetting, I ended up making things worse.

The conversation was upsetting for both of us, but it clearly upset him to be the person doing the bulk of the hammer-dropping. What upset him more was what he perceived to be my lack of response. He wanted me to get upset, to cry, to something, because he was not okay. He said so.

But I couldn’t. I looked straight ahead at the buttons on his polo shirt and tried to keep it together as he got more and more frustrated. Because I can’t really speak when my brain is trying to force itself out my ears.

I am the person who sobs in her roommate’s arms when the door closes.


*He may or may not read this. I don’t know. It’s like 50/50. So, if you’ve recognized yourself here, welcome. How’s it going? Stick around. This might clear some stuff up.

#The one I shared an actual room with thought everyone should just shut up and leave me alone. I am eternally grateful that she could see the same writing on the wall I could.

**Welcome to my very painful Senior Week, when I found out that this whole deal was WAY more public than I thought. Special thanks to those girls who hit on him in front of me. I hope you all got diarrhea. *Hugs.*


3 thoughts on “Campfireside Chats

  1. Someone told me a long time ago that every day you should think, laugh and cry. It’s not a bad thing but does center you every day.

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