The blissfully unaware, social slave.
You can take a horse to water but you can’t make it drink. Especially if said horse tends to be the centre of attention with its other horse-friends and can’t do without them.
This as certainly the case yesterday, taking time away from more important things to try to really help out a friend who I considered to be in desperate need of advice and support. He’s at university for the next 3 years, student loan covering the accommodation and fees. Aside from that, the condition was grave; having maxed out his overdraft, needing a plan to survive the next few months and reduce his expenses. I knew this guy was a bit of a dream-boat long before this, but it shocked me just how badly he managed his money.
I started out by asking him for his monthly expenses; list from, generous figures. He could only give me 2 – his mobile contract and laptop insurance. I pressed with other immediately to mind examples such as food, toiletries, internet access. By the second suggestion he comically stated he was finding this all way too complicated. After completing a rough itinerary of his monthly outgoing I flagged up 3 of particular concern and went on a brief internet run-around to find cheaper solutions. Upon suggesting these to him I was met with desperation and ignorance of the greater priority. His phone contract being the best example simply had to remain at £35 per month. He was adamant that gossip was more important than reducing his overdraft and therefore removing the overdraft fee.
This 1-sided, sieve like conversation continued to where I tried to summarise what the situation was and where he needed to make improvements. At this point his housemates returned and I was given a wound inducing farewell if the last 3 hours were meaningless.
There are only a few truly enraging experiences in life that can have you twitching eye lids and on the verge of finding the nearest blunt object to sink into and swing through the object or person that caused it. This was no exception. To try to help someone before they totally run out of money and cannot survive at university and have them dump the conversation before the most important area was discussed was both rude and insulting. I’ve never met someone quite like this before – where their life is totally built around social prowess and interaction. Where above basic amenities such as food and some kind of healthy bank balance, parties and going out take priority. Kenneth Koch has the most thought-provoking verse in this case:
You want a social life, with friends.
A passionate love life and as well
To work hard every day. What’s true
Is of these three you may have two
And two can pay you dividends
But never may have three.