The party was a success, despite a strange wave of absenteeism for the pre-Halloween weekend. Nevertheless, I saw some of the peripheral characters of my drama.
There is something special about people one only sees once or twice a year; they get a special time-lapse view of a life, like watching plants grow in those old films from biology class. They can plot growth or decay clearly, in ways not susceptible to the day-to-day bias of those too close.
By necessity they cannot be close friends. That would obviously damage the experiment. They need the distance and detachment to remain objective, lest their impartiality be damaged.
Sometimes when the fog lifts, I can remember what I felt at various intervals in the past. I don't really explore it; as a student of behavioralism the specific causes simply don't matter. I do feel some sense of accomplishment from comments like those above from those time-lapse viewers of my life; we've enough distance to eliminate the need for pleasantry. Such reviews can be taken at face value.