Near Window 7

Divine moments of friendship

Just now I accidentally barged in on a friends meet up in the Houseparty app. She’d sent me a link to be her friend on it and like some fucking boomer I was fidgeting around clicking buttons and SUDDENLY there I was in their little hangout. Embarrassing. I wanted the digital world to swallow me whole like a slightly too hot sprout at Christmas. Weird metaphor… moving on.

Poor girls – all they had was an image of me sat on my bed like Gollum looking at a new app. What a shock to see this face pop up whilst you’re talking about ur secrets (genuinely no idea what they were talking about – heard nothing just popped up like so:

Hello, police? Why r my lashes so smol?

It’s weird being in confinement. It’s a week since confinement proper. Last Monday, Macron “nous sommes en guerre”’d us all and we’ve been inside for seven days. In that time I’ve had more FaceTimes than I think I’ve ever had. The first one was a 6 way google hangout with my oldest friends from uni. I lived with them for a year, and they’re among the people I feel most comfortable with. It was strange to be tuning in remotely – like some weird Marty McFly moment, chatting to my pals on a huge TV. Except it was my old iPad Cos my computer is dead.

We talked for two hours, each of us pinging about in google hang outs, with dodgy internet connections and weirdly lit rooms. It was like being in a pub where we all had weird cubicles in which we we sat with a different mood lighting. One of us inside a pink synth wave track, another in a spy movie, one with the lamp making it look like heaven, the other bathed in an ambient green, and two in a warm, quite sunny, yellow.

6 of us

I had a beer. Green had two. Yellow had a few. Pink rolled around and showed us his knees, spy movie left early to cook broccoli or some shit, and yellow – well yellow threw a party and one half took their shirt off. What a time to b alive. What a time to cook broccoli and miss out on the true moment of friendship: naked knees and tinny raves and It teacher ponytail jokes. It was like having them in my flat with me. It was like old times and it was the future.

Yesterday my flat mate and I played remote control monopoly with another friend of ours. She lives 1.3km away but cos of the lockdown in Paris she can’t come over; she used to come over almost every day, and I miss having her capering about with her big fringe, huddled by the radiator, cackling cigarette edged nonsense.

What does it mean to be friends at a distance? To close down the arterial routes of connection that previously linked us? I guess I’ve mostly been answering these questions for a year since I went mental and moved home, travelled America, and then moved to Paris.

It means making an effort to communicate; but it also means you’ll still accidentally barge in where ur not wanted and keep urself up all night thinking about how a group of people you hardly know saw your ugly mug pop up in their private conversation (a part of real life I thought was only in the physical realm – turns out not so)

@xenogothic wrote and published a book that, whilst being about Mark Fisher, is really, I think, about friendship. About seeking connection in a lonely world, and about, in the end, finding it.

The book is more obviously focused on a moment of grief than this is, though the unfolding disaster of the surrounding world will result in grief too. But he quotes a line of Bataille around half way through.

“To hold, without elusion, life to the standard of the impossible demands a moment of divine
friendship” – Georges Bataille – the unfinished system of non knowledge

I copied it down in my notebook at the front. What is a divine moment of friendship? I believe it is a pure one, based on love and mutual respect and understanding. It’s also a moment where everyone in the group chat piles on on an inside joke, or the moment you come together to express sorrow, or congratulations, or happiness, or just simply that you’re all there, doing the same stuff.

Each of these moments of connection, from virtually stumbling unwanted into a friends “houseparty”, to trying to play remote monopoly, to having a beer with my friends whilst all being scattered in a 500 mile radius, are all moments of divine friendship. I believe that before I isolated myself by moving to a different country, and then after that having to stay inside every day and not go anywhere, I had underestimated the power of my community, of my friends. I will hold all of my life to the standard of these few moments: of the outpouring of love felt across an ocean, of a friend showing me his rose tinted knee, another winning monopoly from afar, another laughing as I duck out of the chatroom. All divine moments of coming together.

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