Disconnected

Monday, Laure and I got back from our annual Memorial day weekend with my family, at a little lake a few hours north of where we live. We went up on Wednesday, while the camp was still fairly empty. The rest of the usual Memorial weekend crowd began showing up on Friday afternoon.

It’s a bunch of old cabins, most of which were built back in the 1930’s and haven’t seen much improvement since. There is no TV, no internet access, and no cell service up there. Nothing to do but read, fish, eat, play board games, and nap.

It’s great. We look forward to it every year.

This year in particular though, coming back from there brought with it a sense of clarity. I’ve been glued to the internet, mostly twitter, for months. I’ve been trying desperately to strike a balance between staying informed, and letting politics occupy every waking moment of my life. It’s particularly difficult because with the jack-ass in chief we have now, there are new, and often frightening things going on every day. Literally, every single day, usually a few times a day. So much is at risk right now, I don’t even know where to start or how to begin enumerating it all.

I want to stay informed so that I can make phone calls, sign petitions, send emails, spread information, what ever I can do to help. The problem is that with this much coming at us all the time, there is no such thing as balance right now. On top of that, I’m having a difficult time seeing that anything I’m taking part in is really having any affect. It’s clear that Trump is digging his own hole, as I’d hoped he would when this all started, and soon he’ll be unable to dig out. I think that’s inevitable now. It’s just a matter of time.

Until then, we just have to deal with the barrage of shit getting thrown at us, and try to stay on top.

I thought about it all week, and decided to back off of it as much as I can. I’ve un-followed a shit ton of people on twitter and FB, to cut down on the politics that is hitting me every day. I’ve stayed subscribed to a few email news letters that have proven to be reliable, so at least I’ll know what’s going on, but I’m not going to live with it in my face every day.

If that means I’m less involved, I guess that’s how it has to be.

A few other things have become apparent to me, one is in regards to a man that used to be my best friend. I met him when we were both in grade school. From the fifth grade, up through my first year of college, I spent a LOT of time with this friend. We were the American ideal of two kids sharing the whole experience of growing up together.

I’ll say it again, we were best friends. We always had a great time when we were together. We confided in each other. We leaned on each other. We were interested in the same things and held a lot of the same views. Hell, this is the guy that introduced me to role playing games.

Things have changed though. He met someone, got married, and I felt myself moved to the back seat. Ok, that part isn’t that big of a deal. I get it. I got married too, life took me places I didn’t expect, and made it hard to maintain some friendships.  I always felt that the difference was that I was still trying. I emailed him every so often, sent texts, sent instant messages, tried to call… he had simply moved on. Every once in a while I would get a response, something half-hearted and noticeably distant, like he was responding out of a sense of obligation, and had nothing else to do that afternoon. Then we just quit talking, for about ten years.

We more or less reconnected on Facebook a few years ago. I say “more or less” because we “friended” each other, but that was it. The same pattern has continued. I’ve tried to start conversations, leave comments, post old photos of us together, and gotten nearly nothing out of him. He just isn’t interested.

Then, over the last few months, I started occasionally getting a bit more back, only in the form of rambling, disjointed rants in response to articles or opinions I post. They were the type of arguments that seemed to be purely for the sake of arguing, out of some desire to simply be contrary to anything I have to say. I get the impression that this is how he is with everyone, not just me.

This happened again today, and I don’t know if my week long disconnection provided me with a bit of clarity or what, but it suddenly occurred to me what has been going on.

I’ve changed. I’ve grown emotionally. My ideals have changed. My goals have changed. My values have changed, dramatically. I’m a different person than I was twenty years ago, and drastically different from that scared, self loathing, angry kid I was in grade school.

I can tell from his posts, and the few conversations we’ve managed recently, that he hasn’t changed at all. He’s exactly the same as he was when we were teenagers. What’s worse is that he seems utterly disinterested in trying to rekindle our friendship.

I once heard someone say that the older you get, the more you need the people you knew when you were young. I’m forty-one years old, and as I get older, I’m finding this to be more and more apt all the time. I think that need is what’s been driving me to cling to this idea of a friendship that he and I used to have. It occurred to me a few days ago that that friendship is long gone.

I’ve been thinking for a while that it’s time to do another Facebook friend purge, and I think that he is going to have to be on that list. I suspect that if I don’t email or text him, I’ll probably never hear from him again. It’s time to just let it go.

“You son of a bitch! How could you do this? Friendship is the only choice in life you can make that’s yours! You can’t choose your family! Goddamn it, I’ve had to face that! No man should be judged for whatever direction his dick goes! That’s like blaming a compass for pointing north, for Chrissake! Friendship is all we have. We chose each other. How could you fuck it up? How could you make us look so bad?”

 – Carlos in “Tequila Sunrise”