Megan Kent (transcript)

Megan Kent

Megan Kent, James Avramenko

James Avramenko 00:00
Friendless is presented by the Saskatchewan Podcast Network. Hello, hello, my sweet babies. It’s me, James Avramenko intrepid host of Friendless, the only podcast about me losing all my Facebook friends, one hour at a time, and also the podcast you’re listening to right now. This week on the show, I have Megan Kent, a local Saskatoon friend of mine. Megan is a video producer and former donor relations coordinator, we discuss challenges in arts administration, learning to dance, missing bars, and Megan shares an absolutely harrowing account of internet stalking. Fun stuff. If you stick around to the end of the episode, I have some really fun news about what’s going on with Friendless this December. But that will be stuck at the end of the episode. That is then this is now. So for now, let’s dive right into the episode. lay back and let the soothing tones wash over you with my interview of Megan Kent, here on Friendless. So, um, so, you know, before the interview, or before the recording, we were talking very briefly about it, but, but this is something I’ve been thinking about is that, you know, we, we, I guess I wouldn’t say we saw each other regularly before pandemic, but like, you and Brad are some of our best friends here. And so we, you know, saw each other on a pretty regular basis. And since pandemic, I mean, it’s been maybe twice that we’ve like, seen each other outside. Yeah, and that’s especially now with the snow it’s like, and it’s just crazy to think like even people that we’re quite close with, it’s really difficult to stay connected to,

Megan Kent 02:12
well, it is and it also really makes me realize how how much it is important for me to see people’s faces in person. And the little things that I missed from, like, one of our activities we would always do would be to go out somewhere to a pub or a patio sit somewhere and just talk right it was, you know, a thing I under appreciated at the time not knowing that it was all gonna get taken away. But yeah, even just the you know, you get into a little bit of like banter, you’re talking about something in your group. And there’s like that person who drops the perfect little joke at the right time. Everybody bursts into laughter. I’m like, I don’t really have that in my life right now. And I’m really feeling like it’s missing. So that in-person just like, you know, the banter, the shooting the shit and making jokes, and just like spending time together is Yeah, it’s really hard not to have that.

James Avramenko 03:04
Especially too because I think that it’s a form of conversation that isn’t replicable, digitally the way because the way you know, the way zoom works, it’s like you’re looking at a wall of faces, and each person has to take their turn, because there’s no way to branch right? You know, they have those dumb like, breakout rooms, but that’s so like corporate and sterile and emotionless, you know, soulless and, and and, you know, when you’re in person, you know, if there’s five people in a group, you could be having a full conversation together, but then you could break off and you could have little mini conversations and you could then you could kind of weigh in on that and come back to the conversation or you could interject or and and there’s just it’s impossible on zoom and it’s the thing about for me, I’m in full agreement with you to think about social interaction that I just haven’t had in you know, almost a year of of this like very nourishing, social, you know, I’m very much a very much an ambivert right, I I really like people until I don’t and then I have to be alone for a while and then I recharge you know, but it’s it’s something that I’m just I’m so lacking in and I don’t know, I don’t know how we’re, if we’ll really, you know, get it back anytime soon. Right?

Megan Kent 04:21
Or when we when we do get back to those situations, it’s just going to be so overwhelming like it will have to pace ourselves when we start to be able to you know visit for a long length of time in person inside somewhere.

James Avramenko 04:34
Yeah, I you know, it’s it’s it’s so shocking to me to think that there are people who have just continued to do that kind of thing this year. It’s so it’s so brazen. It’s so callous, but it’s also like I’m so jealous of them. It’s like It’s like I wish I could I wish I could do that. I wish I had the the audacity to behave like that because it’s it’s such an important part of my day and of my life is to be able to socialize like that. And so yeah, to go to a pub like And not be terrified of being inside for too long, you know.

Megan Kent 05:04
Yeah, yeah, I definitely even notice when I’m out somewhere or I’ve, you know, I feel when I’ve, when I’ve maxed out on my in person time like it’s so different now than it was before that I like get this visceral feeling of like, I need to get home, I need to be inside my walls, like I’ve been outside in the wild for too long. So yeah, it’s it’s a really weird switch because I’m totally the opposite and very extroverted love to spend time around people and i’m i’ve been like forced to make myself the other way.

James Avramenko 05:33
Right? And now Okay, so So I’d like to pivot a little bit and ask you about kind of what you’ve been doing with your days because we’ll talk about this very briefly about sort of how we initially met but, but where I’d like to, but I’d like to sort of start at the end and then double back to it if we could. So, so. totally correct me because I’m gonna be wrong. But from what I gather you you work with your, with your your basically family film production company, is that right?

Megan Kent 06:05
Yeah. So I work with one of my brothers and my sister in law, and we have a video production company. It’s about, I want to say it’s, yeah, it’s like two years since we, you know, founded the company. So we’re still very young. And there’s been some advantages to that. And that we, we’ve always been working from home. And so we’ve just continued to do that. But now I have a friend because Brad’s also working from home. So I have a co worker that I can, like, eat lunch with and take breaks with and all of that. But yeah, so the biggest thing that changed for me is just like with everything in the initial lockdown, we didn’t go out and shoot stuff and film stuff for a while. So but it hasn’t changed too much for me from my work day to day, because I do spend a lot of time in my home office sitting in front of a computer. So it’s somewhat similar.

James Avramenko 06:59
And what sort of like, what’s sort of usual content for you? Like, is it sort of stock footage? Is it corporate, like what kind of things are usually filming.

Megan Kent 07:09
So we’re usually making videos for other businesses, so to help them tell their story to help them talk about a product or service that they have. So and that can be a huge range of industry that we work with. So we’ve worked with like, retail space that sells clothing, a gym that does like a gymnastics facility, other things that are a little bit more corporate. And we’ve also started to do live stream, actually, with COVID. It wasn’t a thing that we did before. But we found there was a real need for it, because people couldn’t get together in larger group sizes. So that’s been our big learning curve. As part of the technical stuff for us this year, and we’ve been able to help some businesses out with that just to be able to access their audience, even though we’re really restricted with what we can do in person.

James Avramenko 08:02
Of course, yeah. So when we so so where we are now is you’re working in this film company, where we, you and I initially met was you were my well I guess. Actually, it was before that, but you were working at preceptory Theatre as donor relations coordinator. And yeah, I guess I’m curious, I realize it’s a very, very broad term question. But what sort of got you into that position? Was it like was it was do you have a history with theater? Or? Or was it just sort of a job kind of thing? Like, how, how’d you get involved?

Megan Kent 08:38
Well, it goes back many years to, I guess, to my university education, which I did in international studies with a focus on development. And so I always kind of had a little bit of an affinity for nonprofit sector work and someone who, like I do, I do art as well in other capacities, like not in theater, but I’m a dancer and I also play music. So being able to bring that nonprofit and the and a performance art together. I was keen to learn more about it. And so when the opportunity came up, I knew someone who worked there who told me that there was a job available. I interviewed and actually started working in box office before I did anything related to fundraising. Um, yeah, and got to kind of see how all of the inner workings of a, an arts organization happen, which was really neat. And I really enjoyed learning all of those things and met tons of really great people. Theater people are really cool people. So it was it was awesome to get to work there for as long as they did.

James Avramenko 09:44
I really love those kinds of jobs of that. I don’t know if they’re administration, per se, but they’re, they’re managerial in that it’s functioning. It’s operational. It’s, you know, the things about, you know, I love box office work. I love Front of House work. I love donor relations work. You know, I was You were my predecessor in that position. When you when you left, I stepped into that and funny enough coming out of box office. But

Megan Kent 10:08
I didn’t realize how similar that trajectory was.

James Avramenko 10:11
Yeah. And and you know what the thing for me I think the thing that makes me, I don’t know I’m like not in an attempt to shit on anything but it’s like, the problem is that theatres almost as a general rule are so dysfunctional that it makes jobs like those very difficult to thrive in. And and which I find really tragic because I personally really enjoy those jobs, but they’re very difficult to stay in long term because of the sort of toxicity and dysfunction going on around it. You know,

Megan Kent 10:42
and it’s a little bit too like with nonprofits, there’s always a, there’s always a budgetary thing that’s different than if it’s just a corporate, corporate kind of regular business. So that that can make it challenging to

James Avramenko 10:58
challenging is great of putting it.

Megan Kent 11:00
Using all my big words today.

James Avramenko 11:04
Um, so you mentioned you were a dancer. And now you I know you have put on shows now is that your your run dance company or?

Megan Kent 11:13
No, I’ve been involved with it for a long time. So the school is dance Egypt Dance Company, and they started in 1986 and Saskatoon. I see. So the two women who founded it, Elaine Mantika, and Monica Krueger, they learned so it’s a Egyptian dance school belly dance school. And they learned from a woman who immigrated from Egypt to Saskatoon and started teaching classes just out of her home. And they eventually crossed paths with her and, you know, became really involved. And you know, she’s someone who’s just been an extension of their family over the years and and we’ve gotten to know her really, really well too she’s a big supporter of the dance and comes to all of our shows and everything like that. So, but I got involved. I think it’s like, almost I’ve almost been doing it since my the first class I took from them was 20 years ago. So it’s now part of my life. Yeah.

James Avramenko 12:07
Right. And now you’re teaching and so so the show that we saw, this must have been, I guess, about close to two years ago. Is that sort of a usual class sort of like final presentation? Or where does that where would that land in the sort of general, I guess programming of that school?

Megan Kent 12:27
Well, it’s we have a group of people who kind of they they want to perform, and they want to learn choreography. So we have a dedicated group. And that’s, you know, we work on technique, and we work on other things. But we also work on putting stuff together for stage. But we also just have regular classes for people who want to just move and try something different and do something creative. And they don’t necessarily have to be on that trajectory to perform, which I think is a little bit different from some dance schools where normally you’re learning with the end goal of performing but our end goal for most of our students is just to get them to be able to be expressive with dance. So right, if they decide they want to do performance, that’s an option too, but the focus is more for them to build their own. To build their own toolkit and to look like themselves as a dancer before we say, Okay, now you’re in a choreography with seven other people, and you kind of all have to look a little bit of like, we’d like to develop the individual before we develop, develop them into choreography, where they have to look really similar.

James Avramenko 13:42
You mentioned in your questionnaire that you had an experience with a stalker through Facebook.

Megan Kent 13:48
I did, yes. Which I was like, I am a prime candidate to talk about why Facebook isn’t great sometimes.

James Avramenko 13:55
you know, it’s it’s so funny because I I as a as a preface, you know, I often feel very uncomfortable with how easy it is for me to access people’s information, when it comes to preparing for these episodes, whether it’s you know, taking people’s profile photos to make into my thumbnails or whether it’s just knowing where they are. And so for someone like me who has little to no malicious intent to have that much access to information I can’t imagine what somebody who’s looking to do harm is able to do.

Megan Kent 14:26
It basically just becomes like a directory, right and online directory where you can like go and access someone or if you can’t get through to them, you can access people who are in the circle around them right through friends and all of that.

James Avramenko 14:40
So are you comfortable retelling this story?

Megan Kent 14:43
Yeah, I can it was a while ago, but I still I mean it’s still very it’s still very vivid and I feel like it was one of the reasons why, one of the questions you asked in the questionnaire was like what kind of stuff do you post or what do you share and I’m like, I don’t really share that much, especially Facebook specifically, just because it’s, I find it’s different than any other platform because I have all my family there, and I have lots of my friends there. Whereas on other platforms like Instagram, I can make it a little bit more generic and it feels a bit more disconnected. But it could also be from my experience with Facebook, specifically. So. So the person who I dealt with like this started, it happened over the course of a year, and I was living outside of the province, I was living in Montreal still at the time. And it initially came through as like a few messages that went to the there’s that secondary folder that you have in messenger, that’s the message requests, when it’s people who don’t know you, this, this situation made me very aware of how all of that stuff works. And so it was like me, and a couple of my friends that I was close with, said that they got messages from this woman who was asking about information about me. And it was because she was seeing someone that I had dated and had broken up with. So she was wanting to know about me and what my relationship was with this person with my ex boyfriend and everything like that. And I just was like, Nope, not going down that road, I don’t want to have a conversation about this. So I never actually responded to anything that she sent to me. And they did have a couple friends who who got messages from her too. But most of the most of it, I just rolled off my shoulder because it’s like, oh, well, it’s just someone who’s trying to get information. It’s not a big deal, I’ll just ignore it, and it’ll go away. But it was about a year later. And there would be periodic communication that I would just continue to ignore, or delete or whatever. And I remember it was it got really real in a very short period of time, because she ended up contacting, so this was around like 2012 2013, when I think Facebook had some sort of thing where it would update the the, the program, but you would have it would reset security settings or something like that. So at a certain point, my friends list was visible to people who weren’t my friends, I think. And that’s how she was able to get a lot of information and reach out to people. So she basically contacted people, primarily through messenger to ask about me and wanted to know details about what was going on. And she was sharing really weird information like inappropriate stuff and things that I didn’t want to know about. But because Saskatoon is a city of a certain size, she also went to a resource known as the phone book where you could get people’s landlines and I had a few family members who were like the only person with that name in the phonebook. Who on Facebook were listed as my aunt or my sibling or my cousin, right, because Facebook also let you identify that which I’ve always thought was a bit of a weird thing. Yeah, so she would call them and leave messages on their home phone. And I started to get really uncomfortable because with a phone book, you have people’s phone numbers, but a lot of people have their address list addresses. And like my parents were, were one of the numbers that she called and their address was listed in the phone book. And you know, I had no idea who this person was anything about what her intentions were so it was something that made me like as it went on. It made me more and more anxious. And then there was one day I I was actually out for brunch with Grahame out, your your friend and my youngest brother.

James Avramenko 18:54
And funnily enough, next week’s episode.

Megan Kent 18:58
Well, he can, you know, he could totally talk about his point of view on this because he actually had to help me out with this. So we had we went for brunch one day, and there was just this flood of people who contacted me asking me Do you know who this woman is because she’s like, sent me a lot of messages about you. And I think within a 24 hour period, she contacted like two dozen people. So it was friends. It was family members of friends of mine, it was family of mine, like a lot of people in a short amount of time. And I remember finding this out, going back to Grahame’s car with him and just bursting into tears being like, I don’t know what to do this is I was just like, super overwhelmed. And you know, scared of stuff that I didn’t know. So Grahame was super, super helpful and very sweet. We went home because we were we were both still at our parents house at the time. And he actually called like the police station and said, you know, what do we need to do to put in a complaint about somebody who’s been stalking stalking someone online. And so he got all the things that I needed to know. And, and kind of helped me get started with that. Yeah, so then it went from me being, you know, waiting for just the next thing to happen to kind of taking, taking matters into my own hands a little bit. And the great thing was I the previous job I had had when I worked in Montreal, I was a paralegal. So I prepared the shit out of all of the documentation I had. So every, like all of the messages that were sent, you know, I reached out to people and got them to send me the screenshots and stuff like that, and did a great cover letter outlining everything, I was so proud of it, you know, how organized it all was. And then I took it, took it down to the police station and filed it. And eventually, they had someone who was assigned to my case, and that the officer like went and did a visit at this person’s house in person. And I think that was the reality check that was needed with all the stuff that was kind of digital and far removed. And so yeah, it ended with that the officer coming to speak with me and telling me that she had been told, you know, you can’t do this. And if you do, these are things that can happen. So yeah, and that that was where it ended. And I mean, I was really grateful for all the people who didn’t judge me when I reached out and like, so can you check your, your message requests and see if there’s anything from a person with this name.

James Avramenko 21:35
It’s so incredible, that it’s so incredible that it can be so easy to become obsessed with this digital world that we create for ourselves. And then just hearing the fact that like, oh, somebody showed up in person, and that’s when it became real for them. Like, that’s, that’s so shocking to me that we are able to create these fantasy worlds for ourselves that are so powerful, and so real, yet evaporate, like a breath of smoke.

Megan Kent 22:01
Yeah. And yeah, I was grateful that that’s kind of all that was needed. Because I guess I’ve in, in going through this, I talked to other people who also had stories, and there’s a lot of stories with with stalking and stuff like that, where it doesn’t stop as easily. So I was really grateful for my case, that that’s kind of all it’s been, and also really grateful that I was in a place where I could go into a police station and like, feel really comfortable. And, you know, know that I was going to be helped and not judged or anything like that, too. Yeah, that it all, it was such a weird thing to go through. And it still blows my mind when I think of, you know, oh, yeah, that’s right. That didn’t happen. You know. That was not too long ago. But it’s still feels like it’s it’s so long ago, like, it’s feels like it’s been part of a story I’ve told for for a while now. But for anyone out there who’s looking for any tips and tricks, if you’re dealing with an online stalker, the The only thing I can recommend is to to not engage them. That ended up being a thing that was really important for me, especially when I went to go make a complaint was that this wasn’t just like an online conversation that was happening, I had literally sent Not a single reply to this person. So that was something that I’m glad I just had the instinct to not engage, because it ended up being something that was really helpful when I’m like, make this stop, go tell this person to leave me alone. And I was able to get some help with that. So

James Avramenko 23:35
God, it’s again, it’s just this thing, you hear it. So time and time and time again, with with, you know, any form of victimization is this is this idea of, if you engage with them, it’s somehow your fault. Right? You know, whether it’s, well, what were you wearing? Or whether it’s what did you say to them? Or whether it’s, did you reply to this person sending you messages like it just time and again, it becomes this framework of how did you bring it on yourself? And I just like, God, damn it.

Megan Kent 24:07
I was grateful that it wasn’t ever in person. Because I started to get really nervous that like, do you know, is this person gonna know where I work? And is she gonna show up at my job? Like, it’s a small enough city? Are we going to end up in the same, you know, pub, or whatever out later? And like, she would recognize me? I don’t, I would recognize her. But yeah, just very bizarre. And I’m like, No, this is not a way to live. Like I want to take it. I want to take more control over this. And I had lots of people who were really great and supportive and like I said, not judgmental, because it was kind of connected to like an ex that I had. So I felt, I felt a little bit embarrassed about it when I had to talk to people about it, but everyone was super understanding. And like I said, there’s it surprised me how often people could say, Oh, yeah, I know someone who’s dealt with this before. Like really?

James Avramenko 24:59
Everybody sucks.

Megan Kent 25:01
Yeah. So bizzare.

James Avramenko 25:07
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Megan Kent 26:07
This, I found this to be a hard question. Because, yeah, this is gonna sound a little bit cheesy, but to me, it’s like, it’s really a feeling or how somebody makes you feel. But it’s just for me, it’s people that I, you know, feel comfortable being around and who I can laugh with, and who are just like, we can have great conversation. Those are some of the things I think with a lot of my friends, that’s, that’s what really attaches people, to me are those kind of qualities like someone who can talk and just be open, someone who, you know, can be a little bit weird, and you know, not not judgy and be fun to be around and fun to laugh with. Yeah, but yeah, I have a hard time defining what exactly that is. Because I also feel that I have a great collection of friends who we’re friends in different ways. And they show they show friendship in different ways. Like, there, I have some friends who their regular checking regular with checking in, especially with COVID, it’s kind of weird, because you don’t see people as much, but they, they’re sending memes all the time, like people who just do that, like constant digital communication. And then there’s other people who I go, you know, weeks or months not talking to, and then as soon as we talk, it’s like you’re putting on, you know, this super comfortable sweater that is like, it just fits and feels so good. And you’re like, right at home right away. And I feel like those are different kinds of friends. So it’s hard for me to like, pick specific stuff, because it’s, I think it’s about having just a good collection of people around you.

James Avramenko 27:50
I love that, you know, I you know, for me, it’s it’s, I think a lot of it comes down to personal, you know, I have a lot of anxiety. And I have a lot of ideas, a lot of really ingrained like trust trust issues, not only with people but with myself. And so a lot of the times when I’m asking these kinds of questions, and when I’m exploring them, it’s, it’s because I’m trying to figure out if I believe myself about about what I’m trying to do and what I’m trying to accomplish. And I and I, I have this funny experience where when I’m with somebody, I you know, I trust them, almost implicitly, it’s only mostly when I’m alone, that I I get trapped in my sort of thoughts of like, they don’t really mean that I don’t really mean anything, and you know, all those kinds of those sort of intrusive thoughts that sort of wear you down, when you’re alone, right. And so, you know, for me, friendship really roots itself in trust and vulnerability. And, and I think I wish I was better at maintaining more connections than I am

Megan Kent 28:56
But what does maintaining a connection mean?

James Avramenko 28:59
well, you know, I guess I’d see, again, it comes down to this thing of like, I think, I think when I’m in touch with somebody, and we’re talking and I’m engaged with them, I feel really good. And then I worry afterwards that I’m not doing enough to whether it’s cultivate or nourish or maintain that connection. And and then I’d rather sort of, you know, not rather, I will more naturally slip into a sort of cycle of self loathing about what I’m doing wrong, rather than just break it and reach out.

Megan Kent 29:30
I totally get that too. And one of the things that especially early on in COVID, that I realized was how much how much in person time I use for validation in my relationships. Like just being able to see someone and see, I don’t know, maybe it’s their body language or something. Like all of those layers of communication that we can do in person. And you know, when it would be a while and I hadn’t talked to someone or how heard from someone I had those thoughts pop into your head? And it’s like, Did I say something Last time we talked? Or was I supposed to, you know, am I dropping the ball somewhere? But, but then I do the same thing to other people, I don’t think twice right where I like, I won’t reach out until you know, it’s the time that my brain decides it wants to think about it. But

James Avramenko 30:21
Exactly. And I do find that, like, you know, I, I tripped myself up a lot with this idea that, like you say, exactly of like, I’m not blaming other people. So why am I blaming myself for it? You know, and? Yeah, I don’t know, I don’t know, I think it’s, for me, it’s, it’s easiest to trust somebody in person, because of all those things you’re describing, because of body language because of nonverbal communication. I also, you know, as somebody who writes, every day, and who writes text messages and emails, and you know, and then also, you know, poetry and blah blah blah, like, I know how controlled language can be. So I have a really hard time to internally trust someone’s writing, when that’s what when they’re sending text or when they’re sending email, or whatever it may be. It’s a lot more easy for me to trust somebody in person, because I can I know, like, I’m not some savant. I’m not like, because I can brain read you your

Megan Kent 31:21
Micro expressions!

James Avramenko 31:23
right? Yeah, well, that bullshit, but it’s just like, it’s just I find it easier to be in person with somebody to believe what they’re saying. Whereas if we’re over text, or we’re something more, you know, on personal, it creates that extra barrier of interpretation that my my brain has trouble with, you know,

Megan Kent 31:43
yeah, yeah, for sure. And yeah, it’s that a little bit of self sabotage, we all get good at doing every once in a while, where, you know, it’s easiest to blame yourself, right? So we go, Oh, well, this is something I did, or Oh, it’s something I said, or it’s something I didn’t do, which is why, you know, this person isn’t reaching out to me, because, you know, I’m not I’m not being a good friend to them, or something like that. But it’s all just, it’s the brain just like pushing the panic button. And it’s like that old lizardy part of the brain that like, needs to run from a tiger, but in this get the Tigers like a modern day problem, and it’s like, ah, we have to freak out about something. So

James Avramenko 32:22
Yep. Yeah, it is that thing to have. have, you know, there’s this saying about like, are knows what I was thinking about was like, it’s a lot easier to be nice to other people than it is to be nice to yourself. And so like, very often, like, I won’t be thinking badly about people. I’ll be like, Oh, yeah, they’re busy. They’ve got stuff to do. They’ll, they’re taking care of their life. But then with me, I’m like, how dare you James? How dare you not write to that person? What the fuck is wrong with you? Why aren’t you being a good? You know, and it’s like, and there’s the saying that like I first encountered in the comic book saga, and I actually think it’s kind of a bastardization of a David Foster Wallace quote, If I, I think I’m right about that, but I’m probably wrong. I’ve never read any of his stuff. But anyway, the saying is, don’t worry what people are thinking about you. because nobody’s thinking about you.

Megan Kent 33:10
It was a it was one of your Inktober illustrations I scrolled through on Instagram. And there was like a little stick person falling into a pit or something like that. But the little quote, I did I screenshot I did a screenshot because it just like, it was one of those things that kind of, you know, slapped me in the face that day with, with stuff that I was thinking about, but it said, The world isn’t out to get you, it can’t be bothered. And I’m like, Yeah, like, you know, as much as we like, calculate all of our things that we do, you know, in relationships, and work and all of this other stuff. That thing is, those things are not even on other people’s radar. And we could save ourselves a lot of time and a lot of

James Avramenko 33:55

Megan Kent 33:55
personal torment, you know, just realizing that like, yeah, and on the scale of things like this is not no one else is thinking about this except for you.

James Avramenko 34:10
You know, with with with the world the way it is with lockdown, probably impending, hopefully, you know, with the number of cases we’ve got. And with the way that we’re interacting, what do you think it’s going to take to be a good friend heading into 2021?

Megan Kent 34:31
Well, first and foremost, do near and dear to my heart are well curated means that to me. I’m a friend and I’m thinking of you because I’m saving the funniest shit for you. But honestly, there’s there’s so many group chats I have where, you know, memes are a good part of the flow of conversation, and I really appreciate it. Yeah, and I guess It’s so it’s so hard to think about what even being a friend is going to be like, in the winter, during a pandemic, like, that’s the big challenge because at least over the summer, definitely, you know, we were able to get together in a backyard and be socially distanced and you know, get to see each other in person, but you just can’t do the same thing, you can maybe go for a walk, but you can’t take like, six people for a walk together, and all be able to hear each other talk.

James Avramenko 34:44
Yeah, that’s such a good one Exactly,

Megan Kent 35:25
yeah. So I don’t know, like, it’ll, it’ll be a different kind of thing, but just, you know, little bits of effort, I think, are gonna make the biggest difference. So even if it’s a meme, if it’s a little message, if it’s a saw this and thought of you kind of thing, I think that’s gonna become a little bit more about, you know, checking in and being a friend for me in 2021, is just to try and let people know, you know, I’m still thinking about you, even though we haven’t seen each other in forever. So

James Avramenko 35:55
I think that that’s such a great piece of advice. I think, rather than worrying so much about that big overarching, be a friend, like, by breaking it down into, it’s almost like, um, I was doing this, I was doing this class the other day, and it was talking about having, I forget the right word for it is essentially, like cumulative goals. So it’s like, you know, your goal might be to write a book, but that’s a really big, really scary imposition. So instead, what you should say is, my goal is to write the best chapter I can this week, or whatever it might be, or write, five good sentences, who cares? You know, like, just break it down into something that’s actually palatable for you. And I think the idea of good friend is so imposing, especially it I mean, I mean, for somebody like me, who’s like, just riddled with anxieties that I feel like something very easy, like, just send a text, just send a message, just send a meme, make somebody smile, right. You know, like, that’s, that is what it’s going to take to be a good friend right now. It’s not, you know, nobody can make grand gestures. And I think people who are making grand gestures are kind of assholes, because it’s like, go home, stay inside, we don’t need this right now.

Megan Kent 37:15
Or, you know, you’re using all your energy up at once you’re gonna burn out. Spread it out.

James Avramenko 37:23
Spread it out, spread it out, you know, so, so yeah, I love that idea of just, like, just send a meme. Just be be gentle and be nice. Right? But

Megan Kent 37:31
what about for you? What? What does it take to be a good friend in 2021 and through the winter?

James Avramenko 37:38
Fuck if I know, I think that’s why I’m asking everybody else cuz I’m like, I don’t know what to do. I’m like, you know, I have so much anxiety, just going into the grocery store. And, and then I stay inside, I just don’t go outside. I go for walks with Jennica. And, and then I stay inside. And I you know, and so like, in terms of what it’s going to take for me to be a good friend, I wish I fucking knew I I almost think I’m gonna need to be a little even more reclusive for a bit because I think I need to, like, figure out what it is I’m trying to do and what it you know who it is I’m trying to, to communicate with and, and why a whole element of this show, and of just my general engagement in social media is that I don’t, I don’t really believe in it. You know, I don’t really believe in social media, I don’t really believe that what it’s doing is good for us. I don’t think we need to know what everybody’s doing at all times. I don’t think it’s good for us to be refreshing as often as we can. And, you know, this isn’t me trying to like clutch my pearls and say, Oh my god, we’re you know, the sky is falling. But I just, I do think that the way we interact with social media is deeply unhealthy. And so. So, in a way, I think the way I’m gonna need to be a good friend is by being less of a friend to people and, and, and if, you know, this feels sort of like passing the buck, but it’s like, I’m sort of in a place where I kind of need people to reach out to me, and it’s a little selfish, I’m sure but like, I’m sort of in a place where I, I need to really protect myself and, and, and my family, you know, you know, Jennica and, and, and the people that we we, you know, like our family and and, and so it’s really I’m in a place where I’m sort of like if you you know, you know where to find me, ya know, like, if you need me, I’m easy to get a hold of. I’m really bad at reaching out though. So I think I think you know, yeah, yeah, like I say, I don’t, I’m not proud of it. But I think I think for me, I need people to come to me. Man, Megan, fuck, we could we could talk for hours.

Megan Kent 39:54
I don’t even know how this hour has gone by as fast as it has.

James Avramenko 39:58
It’s, you know, it’s one of the reasons Magic things, you know, you talk about you talk about, you know, slipping into to, you know, comfortable conversation with friends. And and I think for me, that really truly is the root of it, you can always tell who a good friend is by how easily time passes, you know, and and I feel you know, I feel so grateful to know both you and Brad and I just think you’re just such wonderful people and I think but I also think you as an individual is really special. Like I don’t, I don’t want it like I hate that like you are now a unit or one person.

Megan Kent 40:34
No, and I really appreciate you saying that and I feel the same way to about you and Jennica and it’s just been so wonderful to to become friends with both of you like as a couple and individuals too. And yeah, I look forward to when there’s no snow outside and we can actually hang out again in person and visit. It’ll be so nice.

James Avramenko 40:52
Oh fuck dare to dream. We do have one last thing we got to do, though, before we wrap this up. So I am pulling up your Facebook. So here we go.

Megan Kent 41:01
Oh boy.

James Avramenko 41:02
We’ll rip it like a bad day real. Megan Kent. We are no longer Facebook friends. Oh,

Megan Kent 41:12
I guess continue to hang out on Instagram like we already have been.

James Avramenko 41:18
Exactly. It’s really, it’s no great loss. And that’s it. Thank you once more to Megan for coming on the show. I wish her and Sweet Brad all the best going into 2021. And I hope sincerely someday we can all get back together and sit in a bar without the lingering anxiety that we might be signing our death warrants for overpriced warm draught beer. If you like the show, let your friends know. Share the links on all your social medias. Let the world know about friend lists and all the great stuff that we’re doing over here. And please don’t forget to give the show a five star review wherever you listen. In fact, pull your phone out right now. Open up the player and just click that five star right away so you can just get it over with. I won’t wait because I trust you. And I love you. And I know you’re going to do it because that’s the kind of relationship we have. Thanks. You’re such a good friend. December rolls ever on and with that comes all the trappings of late stage capitalism. If you’re still looking for a fun, unique gift for the reader in your life that not only supports art, but also charity and has low environmental impact. Whoo. Why not pick up my latest ebook, BU TT HE AD just launched for just $10 you will get over 100 pages of my very best poetry from over the last couple of years. I am incredibly proud of the writing. Especially the newest chapbook edition i think is some of the best writing I’ve done and I just don’t think you want to miss it. The average advent calendar is still available for just $1 day you will get a new piece of writing in your inbox every morning from the first into the 25th. If you haven’t signed up yet, don’t worry. Just buy the pass and you’ll get all the past writing and then you’ll be kept up to date with the new stuff. Go to or find me on all social medias at friendlesspod to get all those goodies. That’s it for me. Next week I’m chatting with one of my best friends in Saskatoon and funny enough, Megan’s little brother, Grahame Kent, you don’t want to miss that one. It’s a great time. But that is then this is now. So for now. I want you to have a wonderful week. Be gentle with yourselves and others and I’ll catch you later. Fun and safety y’all

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