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Facebook Friends or Foes

Southern portal and eastern (downstream) side of the Monroe County Bridge 114, which carries Friendship Road over Stephens Creek (a Salt Creek tributary) east of Bloomington in Salt Creek Township, Monroe County, Indiana, United States. It was built in 1898.
Southern portal and eastern (downstream) side of the Monroe County Bridge 114, which carries Friendship Road over Stephens Creek (a Salt Creek tributary) east of Bloomington in Salt Creek Township, Monroe County, Indiana, United States. It was built in 1898.

How do you know that someone has changed or not changed?

It may sound like a vague question, but I’m serious.  It all came up on Facebook.  One old friend asked another old friend if, since we were once again local to each other, half way across the country from where we grew up, if we ever hung out.  We had, once.  And while I’d extended several other invitations, all of them were shot down (although kindly).  And that reminded me of how our childhood friendship had ended (years and years before Facebook existed).  I had called this friend to hang out, and she told me that she thought I was “too weird” and she didn’t want to hang out anymore.  A crushing blow to a sixth grader.  Now, not so crushing, but another reason to think people are too judgmental of other’s choices in life.  This friend now seems rather “weird” herself in some ways.  But, hey, isn’t our own personal weirdness what makes us unique and fun?

But there’s still a little of that sixth grader in me, and I wonder, has this friend really become as enlightened as she seems?  Or is she still the same girl who was cruel to me all those years ago?  Do people really change?

I have one other Facebook friend I wonder this about.  She also blew me off oh-so-many years ago.  I learned where I ranked in her hierarchy of friends – as long as I was helpful, she wanted me around.  Beyond that, I was Queen in the Land of Blow-Off Land, and she would deign to shower me with her presence only when it was convenient to her.  But I still accepted her friend request on FB because somehow I still cared.  So has she changed?  Does she actually care about me and my life?

I have no idea.  I can’t answer these questions.  I’ve already culled the people who weren’t ever truly friends with me or who hadn’t changed from the pettiness of grade and high school, but sometimes it’s hard to tell.

At the same time, I’ve been happy to rekindle some friendships – people who just fell out of my life for one reason or another: moving, changing schools, bad scheduling.  And there are other people I’d like to find and “friend.”  But what if those people have changed for the worst and would disappoint me?

So how to tell who’s a FB friend or foe?

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Taking Tampa by the Tale – Part I

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It started with a massive panic attack, followed by syncope – you know, a fainting spell.  No, not me. 

I was going to Tampa to start my low-residency MFA in creative writing, and my friend and travel wife (we’ll call her “Sandra”)  was coming along to enjoy ten days of rest and relaxation.  But it wasn’t starting out as very restful or relaxed for her.

She began panicking when we got in the security line at the airport and she saw the new 9/11 craziness that now involves a full-body scan and the removal of shoes, belts, coats, and any other potentially scary things we carry, like cell phones, loose change, and car keys. 

Then we got separated at the ID check.  Four lanes open for paper checking, and my line went fast.  Hers went slow.  Too slow. 

I lost track of her, sat down to put my shoes back on, and chatted with the guy next to me who was also putting his shoes back on.  Then I spotted her, waiting to reclaim her stuff, and she seemed a bit off, so I wandered over to help her, and she told me what happened.

She did something – she’s still not sure what – and the security guard began telling her, “To make things easier next time…” and then she pitched forward into the person in front of her in a dead faint.

She woke back up, having wrenched her knee but managed to avoid hurting anyone she crashed into.  The security agent asked if she was okay, and began telling her, “To make things easier next time…”  But she still didn’t focus on what he was saying.

Then it was to the waiting place until we made it to Tampa….