The past half dozen times I’ve been out with friends the conversation has turned to dead people. I am the obvious common factor in all of my social interactions so at first I thought I might be going through an urban-suburban Morrissey phase and inadvertently being the kind of asshole who’s like, “Great to have a night out with you! Statistically speaking ten people within a square mile radius of this bar are dying of cancer. Who wants a beer?”
I made a conscious effort to bring up only innocuous, not creepy topics. “These fries are awesome you guys. I think they have black truffle salt. In other news I got a sunburn.” Dead people came up anyway.
I suppose this is because we’ve all had losses and everyone’s got their shit to deal with. Death is a unifier of sorts. (It’s weird to type this knowing it’s going to show up on the Internet: a medium that’s often devoted to pictures of cats and “Top Ten Products You Need to Buy Right Now!” Though to be fair, cats don’t live forever and liability lawyers have spent many billable hours analyzing the top ten ways those products can kill you. That’s right. I went there. It’s that kind of post.)
Part of me feels I should be unsettled by the conversational trend towards the morbid in my social life. But I’m not. I come away surprisingly relieved to have had a break for distractions. I like reveling in frivolity as much as the next person but if we live in a world where everyone’s got their shit what’s ultimately more depressing: being part of a community that talks about diversionary antics and stuff lust to the exclusion of everything else or connecting with people about something everyone really cares about?