Old Friends & Strange Talks ~ BitterSweetLife

Monday, April 25, 2005

Old Friends & Strange Talks

I ran into an old friend last week; as anyone knows who has survived such moments, the encounters can be surreal. The elements of time and geography may have chaotic effects on the ability of two people to understand each other.

In this instance, the “surreality” was caused, in my opinion, by

a serious error in judgment
chased by some self-help drivel
mixed with an unstable compound
half optimism, half naiveté.

This is in reference to my old friend, sadly. I was recruited to the conversation largely as a listener, and listen I did, as she showered me with biographical statements that

dealt adequately with minutia
but missed the central facts—
a perfect circle of logic and competency
about two inches wide.

Have you ever listened to someone build an “air-tight” argument for something, watching with fascinated horror as they use only about 17% of the available evidence to do so? Such a presentation was made by my friend, as she built her small ring of truth which

encompassed what it surrounded,
oblivious to what lay outside.

It wasn’t that her answers were technically wrong, but what they failed to take into account that troubled me.

What your thoughts miss—
what your words do not reflect—
describing sandburs, your back to a rising ocean.

How does one react in the face of such reasoned myopia? I can’t say I fully know. Every so often I would interject with a question or comment, giving my friend an opportunity to clarify herself or enlarge her frame of reference. It never happened. I was as blunt as I dared, with no result.

You make your case for sanity,
not realizing you are blind;
your demonstrations of sobriety
sidestep the mind.

In the end, I was left with a sense of disbelief—“Is this really all she makes of her life? Was that really all she’s concluded? Is she really trying to bandage that gash with those pieces of string?” These questions melted into vague disappointment. It had been a strange talk with an old friend.

Everything dealt with but the obvious questions,
everything answered but Why?

The problem with having heart-to-hearts with “old friends” is that as friends, you may just be too old to sustain real communication. Crucial give-and-take often requires the elasticity of well-maintained comrades. But you never know.

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Culture. Photos. Life's nagging questions. - BitterSweetLife