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.