Although “friend” might be stretching it.
Transactional or Relational? Does it matter in the end?
Always felt to me
Situational and that she based a desire to be friends
On her belief that maybe I could do something for her,
Something that would advance her career as a writer.
The first time we met
She had reached out to me
And asked for an interview
After I’d won a big, national
I was excited to be famous,
Or whatever it was that
I was about to become,
And was happy at the prospect
Of meeting her and talking about myself
For the article she wanted to write.
We agreed to meet at a
Cheap 2-star type chain restaurant
By 1:20 she still wasn’t there.
I was angry.
This wasn’t the way
I expected to be treated
Now that I was maybe going to be famous
And even if I
Wasn’t going to be
I was still pissed because,
As I would later learn to articulate it,
If I go to the trouble of getting someplace on time
I expect the person I’m to meet
To be on time also, within reason,
You know, maybe 5 or at most 10 minutes late
But no more than that
Because I’m sure my time is as valuable to me
As hers was to her.
NOT 20 minutes late.
When she finally showed
And started in with no mention at all
Of being late, no apology,
I scolded her with a coldly stated
“I’ll never wait 20 minutes for you
She started in with a bunch of excuses,
Nothing too great,
No bleeding children,
No emergency appendectomies,
No flaming auto/train/airplane disasters.
We got on with the interview.
I kinda let it go
And we kind of became friendly,
Although her friendship always
Had that feel
Of only liking me
In the hopes of getting something from me.
And she was almost always late whenever we’d meet
But never 20 minutes late again
And often with a better excuse.
This is taking too long.
The story isn’t interesting enough to take this much time
So I’ll jump
To the end
And let you fill in the years
Of lunches, months going by with no contact,
Changes in circumstances
To where we are today:
I called her a few months ago
And she never returned my call
But when I failed to recognize her daughter
At a bookstore a few weeks back
The mom, my always late with a bunch of excuses
Sent me a text or tweet or something
Laughing at me. Not particularly unkind
Or unfriendly, but like she so often was
Rather inappropriate and inadequate
given her earlier failure to return my call.
One lesson in all of this
Could be that when some people
See that you probably can’t do
Anything much for them
They are very willing to drop the friendship
Or even the façade of a friendship.
And simply go on with their lives
Being late for appointments with others
Instead of you or me.
As I said above,
This story isn’t worth this much time,
Unless it instructs you on the value
Of showing courtesy and respect for others
And not letting your passive-aggressive
Either to have your fame validated,
Or to make the world prove to you
How loveable and worthwhile you are
By sitting and waiting for someone.
I guess if the story achieves that
It will be worth it
(At least to me).
On the other hand,
There seems to be
No limit to the number of ways
Friendships can fail
And no reason, in the end
To worry about the how and why of it.
Image courtesy of Terry John Pratt