This is the first entry I’ve made to this blog since September. September! No excuses, I just haven’t felt like blogging. Other things to do, kids. That first book of mine I’m renovating to make less a POS and more something worth reading? Still in progress. Kind of like doing a kitchen remodel and discovering your whole house has asbestos-based insulation and lead pipes for plumbing. May as well just burn it down, and that’s pretty much what I’m doing. Controlled burns, but still, fire. I love the smell of napalm on my writing!
Looking at its pages, this whole blog could use the same. The “Buy J.P’s Books” link is out of date. I have some new Seldom Asked Questions to add, and a few to update. Sheer Arrogance needs a lot more of it. All things that would semi-pleasantly kill a cold winter Saturday and hey, we’ve already got some of those. Give me time. I know, not so much of it left these days, but give it to me anyway.
So, what drove me back to throw in one more entry, probably the last for awhile? Discovery. I found an old friend.
It’s not the first time I’ve found this old friend. The first time was shortly after April Fools Day, 1991. I don’t wish to embarrass her, even accidentally, by writing here the gory details. Suffice it to say I was acting on a odd whim to see her for the first time since childhood, to see how she was doing twenty-seven years into life, because I wasn’t sure I was doing all that well. I needed a reference point. Seeing she was still in my head after all this time, she seemed like a good one.
It turned out she was doing well indeed. Well enough to do me a fantastic kindness that day. For about ninety minutes of her time–something which in her profession does not come cheap–she listened to me. Just listened. She knew that was what I needed and she just did it.
The older I get, the more I appreciate what she did. Someone willing to let another human being just be, is becoming a fantastically rare thing. Have you noticed that? We all have to be the star, heaven forbid we get stuck supporting someone else. So we end up in dueling thoughtless competitive interruption calling itself “conversation.” I’m as guilty as anyone else. I’m sure I was damned guilty of it that day, but she was kind enough not to call me out on it–even if she should have. Kindness. Pure kindness.
Twenty-three years later, we have all kinds of wonderful new tools to promote even more dueling, even more thoughtless, even more competitive “conversation:” Facebook and Twitter are your big two. Pinterest seems to be going that direction. Add Your Favorite Here, there’s a bunch. Oh, and blogs, for old nerds like me to bitch about it.
Let’s stick with Facebook. Remember as recently as 2010 when you could have real conversations on Facebook? You still can if you try hard enough, but more likely your feed and wall are covered with ads, memes, cat videos and ridiculous personality quizzes, punctuated by an occasional thought about something mundane or banal. Like mine. Guilty. 🙂 Fun is fun. But with the rule-proving exception of a truck driver buddy whose posts blow my mind every day, Facebook doesn’t lend itself to wit or philosophical depth.
One day, looking through that sea of junk food for the brain, I caught myself thinking about the friend I caught up with all those years ago, the one who actually listened to me if only just once, and wondered what she was doing now.
So, as millions of us now do when we want to figure something out, I invoked the Power of Google. I typed her name and added her profession, figuring it would help narrow things down a bit.
Two pages of links later, paydirt: One click revealed she’s alive and well, apparently married, in the same profession she was the first time I caught up with her, but with a much bigger firm; and appears to be doing quite well with them. If her picture is recent, she looks terrific, especially for someone… my age. Not important, but nice.
The important thing is she’s kicking ass and taking names. Good. I would expect nothing less of her. I’m happy for her.
No, I’m not going to go see her again, I’m not checking Facebook or Linked In or especially Twitter–I strongly doubt she, being someone with class, has anything to do with Twitter–to see if I can find her there. I’m not writing her business address, I’m not calling her business phone number, I’m not emailing her, I’m not crashing her life like I did in 1991. No way.
See, 23 years later, I have a spouse too, someone whom slowly but surely I’m learning really is the best thing to happen to me. I have work now proving rewarding and reasonably secure. I’m okay, dammit! And while it was great to see her, bluntly, my reason for seeing her was awful. Period. I feel like I used her. It’s no good to use people, for any reason.
That said: If she ever needs to crash my life like I did hers, for whatever reason, I’m here, no questions asked. I owe her that. Hopefully I haven’t made myself too tough to find if she ever does. If she doesn’t? No worries.
The shrinks call that “closure.”
I just call it well and good.