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Thursday, November 13, 2008

Call Me

By A.J. Llewellyn

A wise woman once told me that true friendship is never serene.

Maybe that's true, but I like serene. I love good friends and can honestly say I am a good one and I have a few too.

Have you ever thought about somebody you haven't spoken to for a long time and suddenly they call you? I have been thinking about my long lost friend (let's call her Dina) who stopped talking to me three years ago. Attempts to contact her were rebuffed and I debated reaching out one more time when she called me yesterday.

I was so astonished I could only marvel at the synchronicity of life. I was about to babble about how much I missed her when I heard a sharp intake of breath.

"Actually," she said. "I'm calling with a business proposition."

Now I was the one who was having trouble breathing. It's been three years since she cut me out of her life after a 20 year friendship because I begged her to use condoms when she was having unsafe sex with a man she really didn't know.

Yesterday, I listened as she started a spiel that I've heard before and did not want to hear again. She's selling phone service. Not just phone service but a glorified pyramid scheme. She needs people to join in a program whereby you start calling people YOU haven't spoken to for eons, pitching them a product they probably don't want.

The only reason I didn't hang up on her immediately was, as I said, I've missed her. The edge to her tone, the sheer chutzpah of her mission however were mind-boggling.

I told her I was not interested, that I could not possibly cram one more thing into my already crowded schedule.

The thing about these telephone-cable-Internet cable deals is that the same person has written the script and I knew what was coming next.

"This job is perfect for busy people, A.J! It practically sells itself."

Oh, really? Is that why she let her fingers do the talking to contact me as she thumbed through her Rolodex?

I was pleased in a way that I was evidently still on it. Not pleased about why she was reaching back to the future to contact me.

Many years ago, I got a phone call from an old lover who called to apologize for his abusive behavior to me, five years after the fact. He was in AA and it was required in his recovery steps. I personally could have done without the phone call. I could have lived forever without having to rake over those old coals, to forgive him for his greater good, not mine.

But I digress.

Dina's not a good saleswoman. She didn't even attempt to add a little sugar to the medicine she was trying to shove done my throat.

Whilst I struggled to understand why she thought it was okay to contact somebody she chose to excise from her life with a business proposition, showed me how far we as a race have fallen. There are some truly wonderful, magical people in this world and for many, a shot in the dark, a call out of the blue from somebody who used to be a big part of the fabric of their existence is a beautiful thing.

But in this day of overwhelmed senses, of endless marketing schemes, somebody trying to sell you something, it's a grimy, unpleasant feeling when you realize that shot in the dark is just that. Fling your business BS to the wall and see what sticks.

Dina is having a gathering at her place tonight to lure the unwashed masses into her scheme. You can bet I won't be there. I wonder how many will. She read off a few names and I realized at least two of the people were others she dropped at whim.

I hope one day she calls me just to say hi.

Or maybe I don't.

I'm pretty sure she won't and for the first time in three years I can say that's just fine. I'm beginning to think I didn't know her at all. I'm beginning to appreciate serene. I have some true friendships that have it. Even without a calling plan.

Aloha oe,



C.R. Moss said...

some people.
there you were a concerned friend looking out for her and her overall health and she didn't appreciate it.
you're a great guy and it's her loss.

AJ Llewellyn said...

Aw thanks, CR!


Jambrea said...

I agree with C.R.

I'll share a story along these lines. I had just graduated High School and out of the blue an ex boyfriend showed up. It was a Friday. I remember it well. It was a little awkward, but we talked for a few hours and then he left. I thought it a little odd, but didn't think any more of it until he showed up again on Saturday. We talked again. I was a little uncomfortable not sure why he showed up and wanted to talk, but again, I didn't think anything of it when he left, but I did wonder if he would show up on Sunday. He didn't. I put it to the back of my mind until Monday when his cousin and a friend showed up to inform me my ex shot himself and died on Sunday. The day he didn't show up. I will always wonder why he reached out, but I'm glad that I was there for him; I just wish he would have really talked to me.

Sorry, that was a little sad, but for some reason your story made me think of this. It is a little sad that she only called to sell you something. I’m sorry AJ.

AJ Llewellyn said...

OMG Jambrea...I am so sorry. What a sad story. I have heard similar things and the former lover who contacted me - an unsettling experience, but he didn't go and kill himself.'s weird how these blasts from the past have either a very good effect or very bad one...


Jambrea said...

I don't think some people realize how much we effect each other on a daily bases. I know there are some people that when they contact me I light up no matter what mood I might be in. ( would be one of those Mr. AJ. xoxo)

Stephani Hecht said...

It sounds to me that you are better off without this person in your life, AJ. You are a wonderful soul and anyone that can't see that doesn't deserve your friendship.

Lynn Crain said...

I had a friend who did something similar to me once. She said it was because I had too much excess baggage in the form of a husband and a family. And then she also said I would never make it.

So, I set out to prove her wrong. I had one business that was a huge success then it crashed with 9-11. Then I decided to put my effort in writing. And now it's started to take off.

I knew how to get hold of her and was planning to do so early in the summer. Then things happened with my youngest that prevented me from actually trying to connect again. I thought to myself I have plenty of time.

On July 29 of this year, I received a call while on a planned family vacation that she had died. My husband sympathized a little but couldn't understand just why I was so upset. This woman had been one of my best friends in college and up until my mid-30s. We had done everything together. While I couldn't understand just why she had excised me out of her life, I still had hope.

While so many of these type of things happen, we still have to have hope that we will meet up with people who like us for what we are and what we can bring to the relationship. I guess that means we have to have hope for humanity.

Now I didn't get to attend my friend's service but did sent a heartfelt letter with someone else. I also posted it on her online obituary. I still want to go to her grave and yell at her. Then maybe will I feel okay with the whole thing.

Still, if there is a reason to like her, I'd try and bridge the gap if at all possible. You don't want to get that unepxected phone call. If you can get it back, do, if not, don't let it worry you because you are a great person.

I know I'm someone better just for knowing you.


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