A lot of my time this past year to eighteen months has been spent thinking. What with politics, BLM, all of the sexual predators, our paternalistic society, and the pandemic there was a lot to think about. I even spent time reflecting on myself and the things I’ve done in my own life. There are plenty of things to be happy about, and a number of things that I regret doing and saying. Self-reflection can be a worrisome thing.
I spent a lot of time last night thinking about friends that I’ve lost over the years. I realized a couple of things. The first was that the great majority of those lost friendships was due to neglect. Neglect in that I didn’t take greater responsibility to stay in touch with people who didn’t live close to me. I could have called them on the telephone, but I didn’t for the simple reason that I don’t like using the telephone. I often feel tongue-tied when on the phone.
Written words are easier for me. I can take my time and edit the words that I chose. Changes can be made to better express what I want to say. I have always enjoyed sending and receiving letters and cards. Unfortunately, most of my friends didn’t enjoy letters as much as I. So gradually they stopped responding. As a result of that I stopped writing. And as a result of that, we fell out of touch.
Email came into vogue after I moved from Auburn. Once again I could correspond with people. Unfortunately for those with whom I no longer kept in touch, I had no email address. Still, with newer friends I could trade longer, considered missives. It wasn’t quite as satisfying for me, but it would do. But then, email is for me a more immediate mode of communication. I probably picked that up from work where people expected a near immediate response. At any rate, I found myself dashing off responses rather than thinking through what I wanted to say and crafting that response.
One by one, these friends stopped using email and switched to test messages. With texts you are limited in how much you can say without interruption. It really isn’t as satisfying.
I now know people who have moved on from texts and exclusively communicate through short Twitter statements and with pictures and videos on Instagram. Those media allow you to broadcast to groups rather than individuals. I have mixed feelings about.
Rather than go on about changing communication patterns, let me move on to the second thing about lost friends. It is that they never age. When I think about my lost friends from my years in Rolling Prairie or Auburn they look exactly as they did the last time I saw them. They still have the same thoughts they had back then. None have had another birthday, gotten married or divorced, or had any children. None of them voted for Barack Obama or Donald Trump. None have had a heart attack, gone deaf or blind, come down with Alzheimer’s, or died from Covid-19. There lives have been suspended in time.
If any of my lost friends come across this post, think of it as a letter from me. I’ll do my best to write again soon.