April 20, 2021

S.E. Grummett aka Grumms!

S.E. Grummett aka Grumms!

This week on Friendless, I unfriend Fringe Festival star and Travelling Wilbury S.E. Grummett aka Grumms!
We chat about lockdowns in Australia, screaming at strangers to follow the arrows, lacking object permanence, trying to stay soft in a world that wants to harden you up, being the elder guide on baby’s first MDMA trip, and so much more!
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Transcript
James Avramenko:

friendless is a proud member of the Saskatchewan Podcast Network which is sponsored in part by connexus credit union and direct West. Hello my sweeties welcome back to a brand new episode of friendless The only show about how to lose all your Facebook friends one hour at a time. I am as always your host James Avramenko back once more to ask what it means to be a friend. How can I be a better friend and Does anyone want to be my friend? This week I have a special guest Fringe Festival star and traveling wilbury S.E. Grummett aka Grumms. We chat about lockdowns in Australia, screaming at strangers to follow the arrows lacking object permanence, trying to stay soft in a world that wants to hire you the fuck up being the elder guide on baby's first MDMA trip and so much more. grams is a fantastic guest and I absolutely loved catching up with them. But you won't have to take my word for it. Let's just jump right into the episode and I'll let you lean back and enjoy my interview with S. E. Grummett. Here on Friendless. S.E. Grummett better known as Grumms to their friends, which is why I will call you S.E. Grummett for the episode. How the hell are you? It's been so long

S.E. Grummett:

it's been ages I, I am well, I'm in I'm in the basement of my partner's parents family home in Minnesota in St. Cloud Minnesota. Famous from the movie Juno as the suburb that Juno goes to, to sell her baby to that boring suburb with all the gray houses that are

James Avramenko:

Was it written with the intention of like, was that because that was where the screenwriter was from and they were trying to throw that community under the bus?

S.E. Grummett:

Oh, possibly? I don't know. It's a very boring suburb. It's a lot of like, yeah, big mcmansions that are all kind of look the same. And you know, have a four car garage Jesus. Yeah, it's that suburbia, just thrown right back into suburbia.

James Avramenko:

So Grumms, we, I think I'm like actually racking my brain for the last time we actually saw each other because you have been off on adventures all around the world. You've been to Vancouver, you've been to Australia, you're in Minnesota now. And I want to hear, I want to hear all the stories. I want to hear all the adventures. But I think we're, where we'll start. So if, let's say if, if the story ends at and then I pulled up to my partner's parents house in Minnesota, and threw my bags down exhaustedly. If we were to start, you know, because we obviously cross paths with our theater work in Saskatoon. And so what I'd like to first ask you about is sort of what got you initially into the theater world? And what was the thing that pulled you into this wild mistake of a lifestyle that we've all chosen?

S.E. Grummett:

It's such a wild mistake of a lifestyle. That's a beautiful way of putting it. Um, I wanted to make movies, I was the sort of like, if we're imagining a high school teen film, and there's that weird kid that's always got a camera in their hand. That was me. And I was like, I'm filming this for the pep rally video. And I wanted to go to film school and become the next Spielberg. And I didn't get into any of the colleges I wanted to. And so I went to the U of S, as I think a lot of people do going like, well, it's here. Um, and I met, I was doing like a web series for a class project, which is like, you know, the next best thing to a big film school and becoming Spielberg, I guess, is a sketch show in web series.

James Avramenko:

I'm sure Steven Spielberg was like, man, I really missed out on web series.

S.E. Grummett:

Yeah, yes, small town theater. And I met all the acting students, and they were so cool. And they were so different and weird, and I had a crush on all of them. And so I was like, What if I did acting, and then I got myself a BFA, a bachelor of fuck all in acting from the University of Saskatchewan. And then I started kind of making my own stuff because nobody was casting me in things,

James Avramenko:

Can I ask something about the program and I don't ask this to be disparaging in any way, shape or form, I just find it really interesting that of all the people who I have encountered coming out of U of S, it's almost been monolithically graduates of acting. There's very few people who seem to go to the U of S theatre department with anything outside of the acting stream. And I'm wondering, is that like, a thing in that department? Or is it like, like, Is everybody just in acting? Or what? What am I missing,

S.E. Grummett:

there's only two streams. So there's only two streams, there's acting or design. And you've probably met like a ton of people that have gone through design without even realizing it. So all of the, most of the designers and the young up and coming designers in Saskatoon went through the design program. So yeah, there's only two streams to choose from. And there were like, I don't know, there's friends of ours, like Grahame Kent, or Charlie Peters, or Nathan Howe I'm just name dropping, they all kind of succeeded by making their own work. And I think that that's the beauty that comes out of the U of S program are like really well rounded, um, theater artists, because we have to take stage management, we have to learn how to do a sound design. And we have to learn how to build a prop. So you get a lot of people who can kind of be all these jack of all trades, but whether it's the best school, if you want to be a capital A actor, I won't speak to that.

James Avramenko:

I mean, I've yet to, and I, again, I don't say this to be disparaging to anybody across any of the universities, but I've yet to really encounter great A, like capital A actors coming out of any university programs, I find that the more often than not the the artists coming out of those are multifaceted and are much more broadly skilled. And the people who specialize in acting tend to go to like the conservatories and stuff like that, right, which is where you're almost supposed to go. So you graduate, U of S and you're watching all these people work and you're joining that kind of workforce. And I feel like that's roughly when Jennica and I kind of bumbled out onto the scene. How recently had you graduated from when we kind of showed up?

S.E. Grummett:

When did you Yeah, cuz I feel like you guys got here a year ago, but it's been much, much longer than that.

James Avramenko:

We, we moved here end of 2017.

S.E. Grummett:

Okay, yeah. So I graduated in the spring 2016. So I was a fresh wee baby face out on the scene, emerging into the swampy waters of the Saskatoon, art scene.

James Avramenko:

and you managed to escape it, for the most part, um, and so, so yeah, so So tell me about some of the you know, because we saw you doing the fuck, I can't remember the name of the play, and I apologize, but we it was the woodland creature, the scouts, the scouts show?

S.E. Grummett:

Pack animals that's fine. Yeah, that's my little dude. Oh, yeah, yeah. Yeah, so, uh, yeah, I feel like the last time I saw you was right before I left for Australia. I feel like you either came to the wolves or you came to girl in the box?

James Avramenko:

Right we saw both of those. Yeah, whichever one was, the second one would have been the one that we probably saw each other off from.

S.E. Grummett:

So I was in the wolves. And then, like, three days after it closed, I flew away to Australia and I have not been back since.

James Avramenko:

Wow. Now was the intention of that to be there that long? Or were you trapped?

S.E. Grummett:

God no, we were kind of trapped, kind of waiting it out. We were only supposed to be there for three months. And I wanted to kind of like, do some of the Ozzy festivals as a staff member. Because I've had too many friends. Like take a showdown and completely, like, lose their shirt. Yeah, like, in these big, big, big festivals. And we were supposed to come back in April, we were supposed to fly to Japan and stay with my friend amberlynn on a US Air Force Base that her wife works on and go to the Applebee's on the Air Force Base in Japan. I know. I was like, oh, it'd be so good to just get those mozza sticks in Tokyo. And that all got cancelled, of course because COVID and we went let's just what if we just like stay in Australia and wait till this COVID thing blows over? It'll be like six weeks tops. And then I just got back two weeks ago to North America. Yeah, I'm in MInnesota.

James Avramenko:

What were you doing like filling like, how are you filling your time there? Because I know, you know, I mean, like, you know, like, so from the Canadian perspective, right like Australia has had such a different experience in terms of their very intense lockdowns when they do lockdown and then being able to sort of reopen at times and and, you know, obviously we're over here, just like shivering and glaring, right? Everybody seems to be having a better time.

S.E. Grummett:

well, while y'all were having your like, nice summer and going to the cabin and having your like socially distance camping trips. We were in Melbourne, which was like the hot spot in Australia and we were in a really intense lockdown for four months where you could only leave your house for an hour a day.

James Avramenko:

Wow.

S.E. Grummett:

So it was it was full on like it. But the weird thing is like, when we got out of lockdown, we had 60 straight days of no cases. So it kind of felt like we could pat ourselves on the back and go like we did it. lockdown was effective and you at least get that gratification whereas like lockdowns, yes, they're really important in North America in terms of flattening the curve and making sure that the infection rate doesn't get worse. But you often come out of lock downs. And there's still tons of cases and you go right back into lockdown, and it doesn't feel Yeah, I don't know. That's just how it's felt watching it from the other side of the world.

James Avramenko:

Yeah, big time. That was the whole thing for that was my whole experience where I was like, Well, why are we coming out of lockdown? It's not done yet. So why are we stopping this now? You know, like, we haven't done what we said we were setting out to do. So we're not getting a pat on the back here.

S.E. Grummett:

Yeah, so like, while it was really intense in Australia, I never really felt in danger of getting it. It was frustrating to be like, we have no cases. Why do I, Why are we still, Why can I not go outside for more than an hour. But it was Yeah, paid off. So during that I like did all of the lockdown things of like learning to bake and having plants because I'm somebody that's traveled and toured a lot. I've never really lived one place. So having things like plants is really nice. And then when we got out of lockdown, I worked as a Santa photographer, taking photos of bratty children with Santa and Santa had to be fully masked. The families could take their masks off for the photos and then had to put them back on. But I just like can't wait till I'm 80 and like telling my great grandchildren that during the global pandemic I had to take photos of children

James Avramenko:

it's unreal to me the weird demands like who was like, No, this is a tradition that doesn't get canceled. I have to put my little Chad Jr. On the on this the seat of this old man stranger and I have to endanger this old man for my gratification. Like it's such a really, you needed that this year?

S.E. Grummett:

And you're like Santa isn't really magic. He's actually like a 75 year old man who's high risk like, can we? Yeah, the amount of like entitlement to, like I'm watching Canada go through its second wave and all of my friends and family be locked down and not be able to see each other and then I have these like upper middle class to rich white Ozzy's coming in and being like, my Santa photo. What do you mean Santa can't hold my baby. Just a second I need to put the bow on my potato. So you know, it's a girl potato. You're like. Yeah, it was a was a little bit surreal. Looking back on that.

James Avramenko:

Yeah, that's been one thing. That's been one thing that I've noticed, especially just like, there's these moments of like utter dystopia. And it's never the things that people actually genuinely clock, right? Because, you know, you see, you see, you know, obviously, you see the internet and all the people creating straw man about like, the vaccine passport and how that's the equivalent of like, having papers in Nazi Germany or whatever fucking dumb ass argument they're making. But, but the stuff that's truly dystopian is this stuff. Like, you know, a friend of mine was complaining about waiting in line at the cactus club in Vancouver and how it took them so long to be seated. And how they were really unhappy with how much the server was touching their mask. And I was like, just take a breath here. Just take a breath here and listen back. Let's just play that story back. You know, like when you walk by windows have like, the diners with their masks off and all the all the like worn down servers with their masks. It's just like, that's the shit that I'm like, oh, how is anybody possibly okay with it is

S.E. Grummett:

it's such a weird power difference, or like watching people at the checkout of the grocery store and they've got all like the glass of glass or the plastic sneeze screens or whatever they call and watching people like pull their mask down and reach around it to try and talk to the, to the cashier and you're like screen. What are you doing?

James Avramenko:

Yeah, it's,

S.E. Grummett:

that's what that's for.

James Avramenko:

I have a, I'm not gonna I'm not gonna devolve how much time I've dedicated to it. But let's say a healthy amount of time of my therapy sessions of my new therapy session. have been dedicated to basically my therapist letting me vent about like, it's fucking April 2021. It's been a year and a half. How can nobody follow the fucking arrows?

S.E. Grummett:

It says, Wait here that thing on the floor, it has tiny footprints on it just put your stupid feet on the tiny footprint.

James Avramenko:

They literally they have made it as easy as humanly possible, and we still can't get it right. And it's just like, oh, man, we're fucked.

S.E. Grummett:

And like, there's a there's like, it's, it's anxiety inducing. Please just follow the rules. I don't want to get sick. It's Yeah, it's absurd. Yeah. And it's weird coming back to North America. And it's weird getting back to the States,

James Avramenko:

because that's what I wanted to exactly. So that's actually so that leads me back to where I was kind of trying to get the narrative through is like, so you've spent this year in Australia with this experience. And now you're back here in Minnesota and like, How are you feeling? Like what's the you know? Because again, it's like, you know, you you pick up on stuff through media, but what the fuck is that even? You know, and so it's like, I'm endlessly curious with like, the genuine on the ground experiences and like, Is it like, is it as bad as it seems? Or is it worse? Or is it better? Is it not as intense?

S.E. Grummett:

It's definitely a weird cultural shock. And it was even a weird culture shock going from Melbourne to Adelaide, because Adelaide I think was in lockdown for three days. But otherwise, they've been living like a very normal time. And all they have to do is scan a QR code when they go anywhere. And then there's like a slightly lower, I think they're still operating at like 75% capacity. But when we are there for fringe, people were going out there were crowds there was stuff happening and no masks. Like even my audience for my show didn't have to be masked because it was a 50% capacity. So it was like a weird culture shock, just going from Melbourne to that. But then to go from that, like we flew from Sydney to LAX. And the International Airport in LAX was a ghost town. There was nobody there. Yeah. And then the second we, we had to transfer from LAX to Minneapolis. The second we go to the domestic airport. It is so crowded. It looks like in movies, when there's like Thanksgiving weekend travel. It's like that busy. Everybody's masked, thankfully. But nobody social distancing. Not even like security guards are even getting really close. And it was just like, oh, we're not in Kansas anymore like this is so we double masked it, it was like, quickly take a bite of a snack and put your mask back on. And just it was full on and now that we're in Minnesota, like we're, we finished our quarantine about a week ago. And we're still not going anywhere. Yeah, no, because my partner's parents are vaccinated. So they run and go get us groceries and things and we're just staying inside.

James Avramenko:

Yeah, that's good for them. I'm really glad that they're now or they they've had both both jabs are just the first

S.E. Grummett:

Yeah. So they're, they're moving right along with the vaccine. And they've opened up vaccines to 16 plus here, so we're just like, might get vaccinated before we come fully. Canada would be so lucky. So so lucky. Yeah.

James Avramenko:

Yeah, cuz they're opening up like here, they're apparently at about 55 is where it's the cut off.

S.E. Grummett:

My dad went to go wait in line today and waited for three hours and then went No, I gotta pee. I gotta I gotta leave. And they I think they cut off after two hours of being open. They cut off the line.

James Avramenko:

Wow, that's it. Yeah. And it's just like, there's no one here. How do we not have like, like, how is not everyone already vaccinated? There's nobody here. Yeah. Anyway. Okay, that's,

S.E. Grummett:

it's a lot of screaming. It's like this, this whole scenario is just, yeah, a lot of screaming needs to happen.

James Avramenko:

You know, the real the real heart of the question of this whole show is getting to the bottom of have I been a good friend, you know, and I, you know, I A lot of it is like reflecting on my own behavior within my different friendships. And and so, where I've begun to sort of try to answer that is to first figure out what it means to be a friend at all. And that question is so broad and open ended and so essentially unanswerable that I always love hearing that, you know, my guests have opinions on it. So so where I like to start is to ask how do you personally define friendship?

S.E. Grummett:

Ooh, that's a that's a doozy of a question. Um, yeah, I think, I don't know as a as a non binary person. I generally avoid any Sort of binary speak in general. So I think this idea of like, I think friend can mean a lot of different things or have different layers or a spectrum of friendship. Yay, a spectrum. And so I think it can go from like that person that you call when you're going through a breakup, and you know that they will drop whatever they're doing, and they will come over and bring you snacks and, and pet your hair and rub your back. There's like that level of really intense friendship. And then there's like, other levels of friendship, where I want to invite you to my birthday party. And we might not like hang out a bunch of one on one. But I still think that your presence is fun, and I enjoy your company. And so I think that I have people in my life that are across between there and, and I like the way you talk about how ADHD has influenced your friendships, because I am somebody who is very potentially, on that spectrum as well. And I also have that object permanence of like, if you're not immediately in front of me, or immediately in my Facebook timeline. I'm sorry, but I might forget you exist. And that doesn't mean I don't you don't matter to me, that doesn't mean that you don't mean the world to me. It's just I am a distracted little puppy who wants to play with the first thing I see. And yeah. And I also read something about people with ADHD having, I forget the words they use, but basically, it meant that, like, our friendships, and our relationships don't won't deteriorate without up keeping contact, like consistent contact. So I will often run into someone I haven't seen in years and still feel like I'm picking up right where I left off where they might not feel the same way. Yeah. And so I think I really struggle with that is like this little Labrador puppy comes running out. It was like, Oh, my God, I love you. How are you? I haven't seen you in ages. And they're like, I haven't seen you in three years. I haven't heard from you in three years. No. And their level, their rating of our friendship is different.

James Avramenko:

That's Oh, my God, that is me to a tee. And I have that all the time. And it's something it's funny, because it's something I've talked about, throughout almost this entire show, like throughout the whole run of this podcast. And yet, I'm only recently discovering that like, yeah, there's like, a clinical reason for that. But I because I have that I like I will, you know, I'll think of somebody either out of the blue, or I'll be reminded of them or whatever it may be. And it's like, I saw them yesterday to me, you know, it's like, oh my god, I remember this fun thing that we did, or I remember this funny thing they said, or whatever it might be. And I and I yeah, I am genuinely, it's like I'm in constant friendship spaces, you know, and it's like, you get you get like unfrozen wherever we show up. And, and for me, personally, I love that right? You know, I love the ability to just pop in whenever and, and be okay, with it being a week or a month or a decade, whatever it might be. Because it also like, I think that social media and this sort of roots back to the whole, the whole question of the show, like, social media is really altered what we think of as long term relationships and long term friendships. And it's altered how we think we should value those things. Because it's created this perception that we should hang on to every connection we've ever had, at all times for forever. And it's like, it's okay to let stuff go. And it's okay to let people go have a life. And if you run into each other, that's fucking awesome. Be kind and be excited. And if you never see each other again, that's fucking awesome, too. Because that means your lives just went off in different adventures, you know? And, and so it's like, yeah, that need to hold on to everything is so limiting. Right?

S.E. Grummett:

Yeah, absolutely. And, and I think I do have those friendships where I don't have them on social media, and I don't text them all the time, and I don't message them. And when I'm in town, we'll hang out. And it's Yeah, it's like, nothing has changed. And there's just like, certain people in my life that will be like that. And then yeah, you're right. There's gonna be other people that you, you know, you grow apart. And, you know, you don't have to get together when you are in the same town. And it's just kind of like, accepting that. And I think there's a grief involved in that. But it doesn't have to be a big grief and it doesn't have to be something that we you know, feel bad about. Yeah, feel guilty. Yeah,

James Avramenko:

there's a big, there's definitely guilt and shame involved in like moving past people. And I think that that's like, you know, to me, that's like, one of the most insidious elements of social media in general is this is it's like, um, it's like smoking because it's like, it's like when you when, you know, I used to be a smoker and when I was quitting, you know, There was always that fear in the back of your head of like, well, what am I going to do? If I can't think of something to say, what if I'm at a party, and I can't break away to go for a cigarette to like, end a conversation, you know, like, because it was such a crutch to like, get away from people or to move to a different conversation or things like that. And then what happens is you quit smoking, and you just find other things to talk about, it's fine. It's nothing, you know, like, whatever, you know. And I think that that's the same thing with social media, where we're now at a place where we think, well, if I'm not on Facebook, then I won't have any friends. And I won't, I won't be able to know what's happening. And I have to know everything that's happening. And I have to be actively engaged in everything. And I have to be able to have a hot take on every subject that comes up every day. And I have to know who the main character of Twitter is every day at all these fucking things, right? You know? And it's like, and it's like, and it's like, the more you move away from them, the more you realize that, like, the world keeps spinning, and you know, and and the issues are still there, the issues are ever present, no matter where you're, you know, engaging with them. Right, you know, and

S.E. Grummett:

maybe it's a lot better for all of our mental health if we just take a little bit of distance from it. I'm preaching to I'm not preaching to the choir, but I wish I could take my own advice, right, what I'm trying to say

James Avramenko:

big time, big time. Well, that's just it, I mean, right? Yeah, big time, where it's like, I can see it all. And I still endlessly participate in it.

S.E. Grummett:

Oh, yeah. I'm still like, swiping away. Oh, yes. Instagram stories like this. I did this and I sold my Instagram account this past year. So a health food brand from some Wall Street tycoon messaged my Instagram my ad grammies account and wanted to buy it. And I was like, Oh, I don't know like this might be a scam. Then offered me 1000 US dollars. First, he offered me 750. And I haggled. Yeah. And I sold my account. And for a while it was like, oh, but I have 1000 followers, and I have all of the people I follow. And then I took a step back, and I was like, it's a fucking Instagram account. You can buy groceries for a few months. And so it was like starting from scratch and going like, really, it is just a vanity project of like, let me just post photos of myself. My adventure is my friends, my dog. It's fun. But really, it's not my identity. It's not who I am.

James Avramenko:

Well, and especially when so many of these platforms have become just advertising platforms, right? It's just become about brands, and it's become about marketing. It's become about product placement. And so it's just like, it's, yeah, everyone's wrong. I'm struck with this, like, Oh, fuck, Instagram is just like, your neighbor, making you sit in their living room and look at their slides from their vacation, but forever. And it's everyone, you know, like it's it's and it's like, I used to hate that I used I always be like, No, I don't want to come over and see your trip to Egypt. I don't give a shit. I'm nine. I don't care.

S.E. Grummett:

Did that actually happen?

James Avramenko:

Yeah, we had Yeah, we had we had neighbors who would go on trips, and then they would they would make us look at their slides. And we had, I had a classmate who who I was with all from grade one all the way up to like grade nine, who every summer would go on some trip with his family and then in the fall, his mom would bring a projector and do a class presentation to the class. It's fucked up.

S.E. Grummett:

rich kids. so what's something you wish you did as a child that you wish you could take into your adult friendships? Like what's something that you did? as a wee friend?

James Avramenko:

Oh, that is such a good question. I love that question. Because I think about that sometimes and I think about like, what was different about my friendships then right and and i don't know if it's because like, you know, life, like life happens, right and everybody sort of inadvertently becomes harder and like the the work of life is to sort of remain soft, right. And so it's like hard to, it's hard to, you know, stay open and stay honest and say vulnerable and all those things. You know, like looking back at, like, my best friends, I think the thing that I don't know if I necessarily want to say I did well, but the things that I like to think I did would be, like, actively, like actively nourishing the friendship at all times, like, so like things like, you know, you know, calling them up when you want it, you know, it's like simple things, I'm just, I'm trying to think of like, kid activities, like, you call them up and you invite them over, right? You invite them over for a playdate, or you or you ask if you can come over and you spend the day together. And it's not like it's not like, let's go drink, right? It's like, let's do an activity together. You know, you know, I think about like, my best friend from you to from elementary school and how we would like, we'd go to his place and then we'd like go exploring the neighborhood all day, and I can't remember like, he lived in a kind of a really far like, like, at the time it was the outskirts Calgary and so there was like, there was like, tar pits and dirt hills, and like, just like shit to go explore. Right? You know, and so it's like, I wish I was better at calling up a friend and like, going, exploring or like, like, like, sort of like goal lists, if you will, like the goal is hangout or especially like, non non substance related to right, like not to, like drink or whatever it might be, you know, like, it's like, I've actually I've, like, drastically cut back on my drinking since the pandemic, like I maybe drink maybe once a week if that.

S.E. Grummett:

that's pretty good for during this pandemic.

James Avramenko:

Yeah, I'm pretty proud of it.

S.E. Grummett:

I did a sober month. And it was hard.

James Avramenko:

Yeah, yeah. And I, you know, and it was sort of happened inadvertently, because I was getting such bad hangovers. So I was like, Oh, this sucks. I'm gonna just stop this, but, but what it's made, sort of inadvertently shown is like, I quite like waking up in the morning, and I quite like, you know, not feeling like a bag of dicks. When I you know, so like, so I just, I like doing stuff sober now. You know, I really like going out in the sun sober and all those things, you know, and stuff that I used to be like, I need to be stoned to do this, or I need to be drunk to do this, or whatever it might be, you know, and like, you know, so. So yeah, I think substance-less, goal-less Hangouts.

S.E. Grummett:

I love the idea of goalless hangouts because Yeah, I remember, as a kid you do, like call up your friend and you're spending the day together, and you have no idea what you're gonna do. You're just gonna, like, go over to their house and hang out or go explore. And that's, that's something that Yeah, I wish we did more of is just like, Hey, I got a couple hours for you want to hang out. And I don't know, I don't have any plans. And you just kind of see where the day takes you.

James Avramenko:

And there was a thing. Jennica and I are actually were talking about it the other day about how like how much time we used to spend at our friends just like hanging out in the bedroom, like just sort of like, and we wouldn't even necessarily be doing something like maybe I'd be reading and they'd be playing with action figures. Or maybe we all be reading comic books or whatever it might be like, we would have like, quiet time together. You know, and like yeah, like maybe that's something that we could try bringing back when it's safer is like this idea of like, because I know for me, I feel this anxiety about entertaining, right and about like, always staying up and always staying energized and and but but then on the flip side internally, you know, my energy levels are like a goddamn roller coaster. And and so it's like, you know, when my energy dips and I become a little recluse and I go be alone and it's like, well, maybe maybe we could chip that a little bit and instead just like just be quiet together.

S.E. Grummett:

alone time together, right?

James Avramenko:

Exactly. single parents alone together. You know.

S.E. Grummett:

I also I really missed sleep overs and I wish that as adults we can have like, non sexual related sleep over. I think you just like stay up too late. And you always like my sleep over we watch one of two movies, which was either dodgeball or Mean Girls, and I just miss that is like we're having to sleep over with like four pals and we're gonna,

James Avramenko:

like tell secrets and gossip. But like, you know, like, yeah, yeah, yeah,

S.E. Grummett:

stay up too late. need too much sugar. Right.

James Avramenko:

Exactly. Absolutely. set off the alarm and wake up your parents, your your friend's mom and piss her off, This is always one of my favorite questions because it always it either either, like, lights up a memory I forgot I had or it like colors in an experience of something I remember. And, you know, obviously, we don't have like, a deep well to draw from but I think we've got some fun fun ones. And so I'm curious what I'm curious, what is your most vivid memory of our friendship?

S.E. Grummett:

So I've got two that came to mind. And one. I feel like it was very, like, early in when I had met you. And we were hanging out at Grahame Kent's birthday. And I think we had gone to the Rook. And you and Grahame were like three ish sheets to the wind. And you were, We were all kind of leaving and you're like, No, no, we'll walk. And I remember Kyle and I going and driving like, okay, we're gonna head home and driving and driving past you guys. And just being like, these motherfuckers are gonna freeze to death. So like forcing you to get in the back of my shitty little car. And you're both drunk. And we're just driving around. And I think we were maybe dropped you off at the yard, but you're just like, loud and drunk and hilarious. And I'm like, Oh my god, just just you're fogging up all the windows in the middle of like a Saskatchewan winter. And I think you were on a quest for pizza or something.

James Avramenko:

Yes, that's exactly right. And I think oh my god, I remember that one. Because I was like, that was my first that was my, like, within the first year that I we had moved there. And I was like, I was hell bent on making sure Grahame had a really fun birthday. I think we had like, I don't know if he had talked. I don't know if he had said he had a bad birthday the year before. Or maybe it was just in my head. I was just like, I'm going to be a good friend to my new friend this year. You know, and, and we just got in her head like we were like, Yeah, I got him shit faced because he never he's, he's he's somebody who always like nurses a drink. And I'm always like, ah, not this time. You know, so I was getting rounds. And then um, yeah, we were gonna get pizza. Oh, my God. And and, but there was nowhere around. So we went to the yard. And I think we ended up just getting

S.E. Grummett:

I think I ended up even like, we were staying and hanging out longer. I was like, ready to go home. And I was like, Okay, this is actually the other memory I have. And this is totally tables have turned was Alyssa Billingsley through a New Year's party. Yeah, first time that Gummos had ever done MDMA. And I, this is all spotty for me. I remember at some point, you and Jennica showing up. And I had been DJing. But I basically had like, set an iPod and let it play. And then I just remember being really high. and wanting to just feel everybody's teeth. So I think I remember coming up to you and going like, Can I please touch your teeth? And then you being like, Uh huh. And just letting me just, like, get in there and rub my finger around all of your teeth.

James Avramenko:

Yeah, I was. So it was so funny because like, I haven't done I haven't done like ecstacy and MDMA in years and years and years. And, and it was, it was really cute. I felt like, I felt like a little I felt like like an elder like, I felt like a community elder. You know, because so many of my little buddies were all doing it. And I was like, Oh, you're so , And everybody was so nervous. And everyone's so excited. And you know, and like, that's great. Like, I just wanted to make sure everybody had fun. So I was just like, Fuck Yeah, sure. Why not? You know, I wasn't gonna I wasn't gonna make it feel weird. Because like, my first time on ecstasy was like, like, I mean, you're an ecstasy so it's not that scary. You kind of can't be scared It's sort of you know, it's like sort of impossible right you know, but it was still a very it was a very intense night we were like at a club but it was just it was very intense. And so yeah, so now anytime I know people are doing drugs I always try my best to just like make it as fun for them as possible. You know? And you know, there's always those people you know, there's I would always encounter the, mostly in university but there's those people who like find out somebody's high and they decide to like fuck with them and I'm just like, what the fuck like grow up go home you know like get out of here you know and so I just try to be I tried to be the the counterbalance to that or I'm just like, yeah, that's weird. Sure. Whatever fine. You know that that actually funny to have that that New Year's. The way we closed that party? Before we left Jennica and I, um, it was either you, it must have been you actually you put on Kate Bush you put on is it called Wuthering is the song called Wuthering heights.

S.E. Grummett:

Wuthering heights classic.

James Avramenko:

Yeah But so Jennica and I, like, we were leaving, and then you put that on and we like, just like full ass, like arms wide, like witch danced it. And, and then like didn't even say goodbye to anybody we just left. And and I remember looking over and sweet, sweet Kyle Kuchirka was just like, giving me this look like he had no idea what he was looking at. And I remember we were leaving, and I was like, Oh, I bet. I bet they all think we're really weird. And Jennica was like, good. I want everyone to think I'm a little weird. You know, you know, I don't say this, to preload your answer. But you know, you haven't come out of Australia and the adventures you've had. I can only assume you have a different perspective on a lot of these things. And, you know, with you being in winter in Minnesota as well, I can't help but you're perceiving the world opening and closing very differently. And so I'm curious from from your observation from all these places you've been and and and how you're taking it in? What do you think it's going to take to be a quote unquote, good friend in 2021. And then moving forward and sort of a den that too, with like, how do you think you're going to try and show up yourself? For for to be a friend?

S.E. Grummett:

Yeah, I think it's, it's going to be being really patient with each other and having really low expectations for our friends, because I know, it's hard sometimes to feel like nobody's checking in on me. And this person hasn't messaged me back. And I think it's just realizing that like, everybody's going through it. Particularly for like me, looking at North America is like I went through a very different experience. And so being really patient, with our friends as the world opens up, where it's not like, okay, we're all vaccinated, and they said, We can have large gatherings and not expecting too much out of each other. Because I think we've went through a year and a half of, or a year, I guess, of pretty intense This is gonna take some therapy and some work to get over. And then yeah, for myself, I think it's just recognizing that I went through a very different experience and that, yeah, the first lockdown was hard, but that I have a lot of I'm really lucky in other senses. So talking to people in North America, just recognizing that, like, I've so much privilege being able to have stayed in Australia, and I don't know what it's like to go through the same sort of COVID scenario is everybody have the whole of my friends? Yeah. Yeah, and I hope friends of mine will be patient with me as I get back to North American it doesn't feel like they, I just hope people don't feel like they've been abandoned. Right?

James Avramenko:

Yeah.

S.E. Grummett:

No, I think it's my biggest fear.

James Avramenko:

Yeah, no. And I think you know, what, I think that you really nailed it with the just patience. It's just gonna take so much patience and empathy. Right? You know, it's something that I've been really harping on, I feel like in the last couple of weeks and last couple episodes, but but even longer behind that, is that like, empathy isn't sympathy, right? You know, like sympathy I find to be like, very demeaning and very, like, Oh, you didn't know better. Whereas empathy is like, understanding, it's not forgiving. It's not letting people off the hook. But it's understanding and I think that's what it's going to take is to empathize with the process that each person is going to have to go through. Right. And because, yeah, I mean, I, you know, there's a lot of discourse on Twitter right now about, like, you know, oh, you're just anxiety shaming people who are now vaccinated who can go out or, you know, like, there's all these weird levels of negging that are going on, it's like, I think we all just have to just be a little nicer to each other and like, just be a little bit more understanding that it's not going to be easy to get a needle and then suddenly, pretend it's back to normal. Right. Like, if it could be that easy. Yeah, fuck yeah, but I don't think it's gonna be

S.E. Grummett:

Yeah, that would be that'd be real nice. I mean, like, The states are acting like it is. Yeah, everything's wide open over here. Yeah. Should it be? Absolutely not. They've had a huge spike in cases. That's why. Yeah, it's, it's, it's gonna be a weird summer.

James Avramenko:

Yeah.

S.E. Grummett:

Another weird summer!

James Avramenko:

I just, I just suddenly got the doodoododoot doot doot doot.

S.E. Grummett:

Can you put that in?

James Avramenko:

Ah ha, what do they say? Things I can't understand, I don't I don't remember that song. Grumms, man. Um, thank you so much for coming on the show. I really appreciate it. I, we do have one last thing that I need to do before we close up the interview. But I just before I do that, I do just want to say, you know, how much I appreciate you and how, like, how lucky I feel for having you in, you know, my, my, my network and my friend group. And, you know, it's been it's been so long, but um, I'm really grateful that we could just like, pick up the phone and just chat like this, you know, and and I just think you're wonderful. I think you're amazing. And I think I'm just so like, I'm so impressed that you're just like, Oh, yeah, I'm just gonna go do that. You know, like, it's really yeah, it's it's really fucking hard. You know, it's really fucking hard. And I wish more people could understand how fucking hard it is. And you're doing it and that's incredible. And so just like, keep it up, you know?

S.E. Grummett:

Thank you and thank you for having me on this. I definitely think this like I was like, Oh, is it gonna be awkward? I haven't talked to you in so long and it's like absolutely hasn't Yeah, so that's, that's great. And I think that's proof that not every friendship Do you need to like nurse along the way. Sometimes like said set that toy aside and come back and play with it now you're a toy in my ego.

James Avramenko:

right? Exactly. Right. But also just like it like just like it's always just a matter of like just just be nice when you can be nice you know what I mean? And and if you can't be nice, just don't be around you know? Right exactly. Just go away.

S.E. Grummett:

Alright, you can stand on the like COVID socially distance footprint right?

James Avramenko:

exactly. Get out of here. The arrows pointing the other way, buddy. Right One last thing S.E. Grummett aka Grumms that's me pulling up your Facebook here. And we really are no longer Facebook friends.

S.E. Grummett:

Ah, Tear Tear Tear Tear Tear.

James Avramenko:

And that's it. Thank you one more time to Grumms for coming on the show. I just adore them. And I'm so friggin lucky to call them a friend. And I'm lucky to call you a listener friend. How's that for a transition. You want to be a good friend. Be sure to give the show a five star review anywhere you listen to it. It helps me out So so much. crazy story. The show is actually oddly hovering in the like low 90s at the top 100 relationship podcast in Canada, which blows my little mind. Maybe we can get it going even more. I don't know. But I can only do that if you rate the episodes and share the legs. Tell your friends vote friendless, and just be a good friend. God damn it. Be sure to sign up for the newsletter. It's just once a month and packed with book reviews, Article recommendations and brand new writing from yours truly, you can follow the link in the show notes to sign up. There isn't really anything else to report on. So I will leave it there. But I do hope you have a great week. And I hope to see you back here for another episode of friend lists. But as always that is that this is now so for now, just remember I love you and I'll catch you soon. Fun and safety my sweeties