established strangers


the friday night before the AFL, I went to a hippy friend’s birthday party after a wedding. I’d had a great time at the wedding. It was one of where the food, wine and company were if not entirely delightful then at the very least amusing – partly because an extravagantly camp and impeccably dressed guest kept asking the very handsome but straight waiter to fill him up whenever he ran out of champagne (which was often).

But that was the wedding reception.

The hippy friend’s 30th was not quite as fun. I was pretty tired by then and hungover from all the champagne but I was surprised at how depressing I found it. It was a collection of nice enough people, many of whom I knew but there was also a significant number of established strangers. These are people I’ve seen at many gatherings and even spoken to or been introduced to previously but who now give little sign of friendliness beyond the barest level of courtesy.  Conversation is avoided, cliques are assidiously clung to and eye contact minimal.

It made me think also about how many people I have met who I’ve put up a barrier to, people who would consider me an established stranger.

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