“The pox of such antic, lisping, affecting fantasticoes; these new tuners of accents! ‘By Jesu,a very good blade! a very tall man! a very goodwhore!’ Why, is not this a lamentable thing,grandsire, that we should be thus afflicted withthese strange flies, these fashion-mongers, these perdona-mi’s, who stand so much on the new form,that they cannot at ease on the old bench? O, theirbones, their bones!” Mercutio
“If a man does not make new acquaintance as he advances through life, he will soon find himself left alone. A man, Sir, should keep his friendship in constant repair.” Dr. Johnson
“You want a friend in Washington? Get a dog.” Harry S Truman
Consternation seems to be the word of the week.
I didn’t mean to set off any alarms, but in the course of very casual conversation I mentioned that I had given money to a radio station outside the area. After the other end of the conversation ceased hyperventilating he managed to puff out, “But, but we have a fine local station. They’re a big supporter of the local music scene!”
No argument there, other than to say they do a damn piss-poor job of it. Most of the days they play one song after another that would have you think that somebody’s Goth died.
“Steven A. Wilkens, know to his friends as Azriel of a Thousand Cuts, died unexpected Wednesday after being momentarily happy. When reached for comment his grandmother, Viola Wilkens said, “I only tickled him a little. When he was a baby he loved that. What Have I done? WHAT HAVE I DONE?”
And so on and so forth.
The balance of the consternation seems to have crept in via social media. In the past 10 days I’ve notice a determined chin-first uptick in the number of people wondering what to do about having a digital connection with people they no longer have anything in common with. It started with James Urbaniak reading aloud from Brie Williams moving, painful monolog, Status* and ended with learning a new term to day.
According to a panel of experts on NPR – uncuffing is when you send your ex down a digital rat hole, but in a nice way. Rather than using the nuclear option of unfriending, you merely take a break from the individual. You create a little space between you and FB’s algorithm which used to shows you every little thing about your ex because, well, you were constantly in each others’ feeds. Given that this, and Alaska Wolf Joe assures me that it is, the season of breaking up with your old high-school significant other, the issue is in front of many people.
Once you’ve lived long enough you come to understand that not all relationships last forever. But there is the small problem of those who will not accept this face and how each of us reacts to cutting the ties in the digital age. Sometimes we arrive at a point where we are like Grammy Viola and we do have to ask ourselves, “What have I done?”
Sometimes it’s like the old suitcase in the laundry room. My mother believed it was bad luck to give away anything that came to you as a matter of good fortune. One time she won a suitcase at a Knights of Columbus raffle which she very sheepishly brought home. Declaring is “hideous as sin” she put it on a high shelf where it stood sentinel to the washer. It did not move until I turned the house over to the woman managing the estate sale.
The suitcase stayed put partly out of entropy and partly out of an iota of doubt that my mother could have been right. Chucking the thing out might very well have brought bad luck and maybe telling that guy we once worked with, “That was 20 years ago.” would have brought something awful into our lives We’d blame ourselves and look to that one thing to explain the cause.
If only I hadn’t…
Sometimes I think we hang on to certain relationships because it’s something like a religious procedure like counting rosary beads or facing Mecca. That’s what you do because that’s what you’ve always done. In following it through to the end you achieve something that gives you balance.
So how did we get here?
Last summer someone in a FB group devoted to something I used to belong to tried to openly pick a fight with me to create drama. As Alaska Wolf Joe likes to say – when you’re in high school there’s never enough drama, but once you’re done you work like a dog to rid your life of the stuff. I did nothing to escalate the situation. In fact, I said nothing at all.
Nonetheless I feel awful.
I’m not sure if it’s Grammy Viola’s awful or something awful fell on my head because I gave away the suitcase.
Either way, it’s awful.
As the year ends the whole thing still leaves me with much to think about.
But you ’n me?
We’re totally fine.
* Well worth the 13 minutes.