Found some marvelous Javanese and Balinese gamelan music on vinyl at a Value Village today - four albums worth, at $1.99 each. It's a great score; it's nearly impossible to find good vinyl at thrift stores lately, and these are marvelous indeed - albums that would surely cost five to ten times as much at any cool record store. All the same, playing one of my finds this evening, I can't but think somewhat sadly that I have no one to share it with.
One friend whom I used to listen to gamelan with - he may well have been the person who introduced me to it - killed himself a couple of years ago. So he's out, I guess... tho' some sense of him lingers on the peripheries.
Another one whom I used to sometimes share gamelan with, often in altered states, pursued his fondness for drugs much further than I did, which eventually led to me getting kind of judgmental about his shitty life choices and him sending me somewhat surprising e-mail death threats. So he's pretty much dead to me now, too, though as far as I know he's alive out there somewhere. May our paths never cross again; I got nothin' whatever to say to him.
A third friend I doubtlessly listened to gamelan music with at some point or other - we shared a lot of music together - chose an inexcusably cowardly time in my life to decide to end his friendship with me, backing away from me on fairly trivial pretexts around the time that my Mom had her stroke and my father died. Obviously, whatever his grievances, he was just retreating from having to be there for me during heavy times; friends like that I don't need, so fuckit - better off without him.
I might have shared this music with a girl I was seeing recently, but it looks like we've broken up. No fault, no blame, it was a lot of work travelling over to the island, and, really, gamelan music wouldn't have been her first pick, anyhow... I would prolly have felt like I was forcing more of my weird enthusiasms on her. When you fear sharing things you like with people because you worry you're stretching their patience - when you have to just keep filing things in a drawer hoping they might come up some day, and give you an excuse to mention them... well, there are probably better relationships to be in. One shouldn't force things.
Of course, I do have other friends who are hip to the pleasures of gamelan - it's not like I don't know ANYONE - but which among them wants to visit Maple Ridge? No blame there either, of course: if I didn't live here, didn't have obligations here, I sure as hell wouldn't (unless I was making a run on the town's thrift stores...).
Ah, well. I am thankful, at least, that gamelan music sounds just as good with no one else around. Especially when you're sprawling in your underwear reading a Repairman Jack novel and sipping tasty peppermint tea. I wouldn't be able to do THAT if some other person were in the apartment. So, with apologies to the people mentioned above whom I still count as friends - tonight, mentally, I am saying to heck with you all, and I'm flipping this here record onto side B, whereupon I am going to persist in enjoying this beautiful, brain-tingling music regardless of your absence.
I could make it for three years in Japan, I can cope with another three years in Maple Ridge... Like Bukowski says, one learns survival by surviving...