Things fall apart

Posted on January 29, 2009


I recently borrowed some “Friends” DVDs from a male friend, who was in disbelief for a few seconds that I was actually asking to borrow them and not ridiculing him. I immediately started watching them back to back, as is my wont, and it struck me: now that I’m 25, I realize my life actually appears to echo that on “Friends”. My job’s a joke (aren’t they all in this economy), I’m broke, and my love life’s D.O.A. (apparently this means “dead on arrival”, which is a bit harsh). This was gladdening to me, as I’d always heard of the impossibility of having a group of such good-looking and supportive friends who seem to have limitless time to hang out in their fortuitously adjacent apartments and coffee shops in the middle of a weekday. I had kind of hoped that by now my life would have been more like Biggie’s in “Big Poppa”, but “Friends” will have to do.

Of course, neither I or my friends are as insanely thin and good-looking, as they all were when the series began and the actors were all crisp and coked out, but I’m sure that they would be fat too if they got everything, particularly junk food, delivered to them at home. It’s true that my hair is currently going through a period of desperate awkwardness, much as theirs often did in the mid 90s, as I unwisely consented to having some pretty stark layers put in, making me look exactly like a Christmas tree. While this is a festive and seasonal look for a conifer, it leaves something to be desired on a girl. Also, I do in fact know some adults who are employed yet mysteriously can be found at home and friends’ apartments during the daytime. The boys are messy, the girls are responsible and feed the boys, and everyone ridicules each other all the time.

Of course, neither I nor anyone I care about would choose to habitually go to a mere café – places with neither alcohol nor shisha are, in my firm opinion, only for teenagers or trendy yet religious people. How were the Friends not all bouncing off the walls drinking the vast vessels of coffee they never tired of?

However, my lifestyle of constant sitting around with friends joking and having fun is gradually coming to an end as they all fade away, in the time-honoured fashion of every young Egyptian who can, to jobs or grad schools abroad. Naturally on “Friends” that didn’t really happen until they had to wrap the show up, because otherwise who would leave New York? Egypt, though, has seen a rough year of economic hardship, infrastructure failure, and violent crime, and shows no signs of immediate improvement. It hasn’t been our day, our week, our month, or even our year, and soon we won’t be there for each other either.

Alter Ego, January 2009

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