I had a stunning realization tonight as I was taking out my contacts--I'm making summer friends! It was quite appropriate, since taking my contacts out was almost like having the scales fall from my eyes. India is the perfect place for summer friends--it's blistering hot outside, all the expats are living together in apartments (which is almost like living in dorms), we have a very isolated community that does not communicate with members outside the expat group or the Hyderabad office, and we do most things together. It has all the classic ingredients for summer friends, since we're being brought together by a unique experience in an isolated location, in a way that has never happened before and will never happen again.
For those of you who don't know what summer friends are, I shall explain one more time--they're those friends you make during a brief but intense experience, such as summer camp, that are so close to you at the time but drift away almost immediately after everyone leaves the camp and has a chance to interact with the outside world again. It doesn't diminish the enjoyment that you can have with your summer friends during the summer; but as soon as fall comes, the bloom withers, so to speak, and everyone returns to their previous selves.
I had a really fun time at dinner tonight; it was just me, Heather and Lauren, and we had a really good, relaxed conversation. Just like almost every other expat here, I really liked and admired both of them in Mountain View, but we never spent any time together outside of work. Now, thrust into an unfamiliar country, with little to do outside of work, we're becoming friends. However, having steeled myself for the eventual cruel death of summer friendships, I can enjoy getting to know the people here without feeling that awful uncertainty about whether or not the friendship will continue when we're not in the same location. I mean, to be quite honest, my current group of friends back home is enough to scare off all but the most tenacious of summer friends...and the tenacious summer friends usually aren't summer friends anymore by the time they meet the rest of my circle.
So, we shall see. I'm slowly prepping them to accept my insanity, since I feel kinda dead inside because I don't have any outlet for my imagination. The best way to prep is to work my flair for the absurd into the conversation. For instance, apparently the apartment where dinner is served (also the apartment where Heather and Lauren live) has a mouse problem. This is surprising, since the entire freaking thing seems to be made out of marble, but whatever. So Shankar, one of the houseboys or whatever, saw one and leapt up like a cat to try to catch it. He failed, but I had just been telling them about how once our cat back home got stuck under the house and ended up being found, covered in cobwebs, behind the little door in the bathroom through which the pipes are accessed. When one of them said that Shankar was like a cat, I said that I could now picture Shankar being found in the bathroom covered in cobwebs. It was not my best imagining, not by any means (see: Pyro/Gyro, Dec. '03 - present), but it's setting the background for the day that I finally flip out and turn completely weird on them.
It needs to happen soon, because I feel like my personality is dying. I'm too nice to people 98% of the time, and usually I use my caustic, sarcastic comments the other 2% of the time as a safety valve...but I'm not getting that safety valve here. It'll be great if my brain rewires itself to avoid the pain of knowing that I'm not as fun and creative as normal, and then I come back to California with a self-performed lobotomy. Alternatively, I may just grow up too much while I'm here, although I sincerely hope not.
FYI I've posted a lot on the Hyderabad blog, you should check it out. Goodnight everyone!