Friday, February 19, 2016

Fond Farewell, Friend?


Friends hug. Things come together. Or they fall apart. We write one another. Or we don't. And the months intervene to become years. There grows a disconnect. Especially if there is little sense of a real kismet. 'Kismet', it's a quality difficult to define, ineffable in its vicissitudes, perplexing in its perspicacity, and confounding in its coincidental(s). Ducks of a feather? Holland’s Theory? The subtleties of nature so deeply atavistic that we, like foreign tribesmen suspicious of our differences, our otherness, however subtle, are not prepared to breach the walls of personhood and simply flow with the other? Why do we not tick-tack? Too many others in our lives? Too many people we know, must share news with, must ask about (let alone answer questions)? It appears when we do meet again we tend to bring a whole package of judgments, and we cannot but help ourselves. Where is this person 'at,' now? Still, we can hug our friends. (Even though we are not really truly friends at all; just people who know each other.)

Acquaintances of course usually arise out of being around someone in the field. ("I worked with him for 20 years and didn't know he played the piano," one might overhear). We are like that. We like people, even love them, but know little about them. Some we even know 'socially'. Some we've spent time with, shared dinners with, yet still there remains an essential disconnect. The details of the other's life do not register. We do not recall their birthdays. We do not regularly sympathize with their aches and pains and heartaches and accomplishments and newborn. We do not know the daily dictum of their lives. Friendship is there, yes, but...

Facebook is the favoured connector. Many a relationship is started (and forgotten) thanks to it. Thanks to it, I've personally picked up with some old friends and acquaintances from decades past. And at the same time, I've been able to see the posts of people I once knew. 'Creeping', my students call it. "I creeped you," they'd say, (as if reading something that another had posted as public in the first place is the wrong thing to do). Yet the comments and pictures of my old students growing older by the months and years are indeed interesting. Still, there is no contact between us. I have no need to tell them about me. They do not inquire. Nor do I reach out to ask them how they're doing; I can read it on Facebook.

Thing is, there's a concentric circle around oneself rather like that of a dartboard, with oneself as the bulls eye, yet better thought of in terms of being at the same time a holon, like being at the centre of a tennis ball. The outer limits are where we meet the people we hardly ever get to know; the waitress who serves us; the usher who shows us our seats; the store clerk or the ticket taker. The next layer is those we keep on recognizing, whose names we may even get to know, but who also don't quite know us, or we them. The local storekeeper. The local bank clerk. The doorman. Our fellow office workers. Then comes the layer where we are yet more intimate with people. And so on. The degrees to which we allow someone 'in' is the issue. And sometimes, like magic, someone just 'gets' us, and we they, and instantly we know we will always be friends. Always.

As the decades pass we find ourselves getting smaller and smaller with the persons we allow inside. It takes too much energy to blabber on about oneself. (And it takes too much energy to attend to the blabbering of yet another.) We just accept, love, care, and share with the other in a natural flow of accord. Kismet. Or we lose the threads, bit by bit, and that which was a connector at one time no longer serves. A pity, but there you have it. The relationship fizzles, and dies.

Some friends hug. Other merely shake hands. But in the end, feeling is all.


So… How are you, friend?


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