So, thinking that I was all sneaky and ninja-like, I deleted someone from my friends list the other day. What was originally intended to prevent my apoplexy at her constant, Sarah Palin-loving, Obama-hating status updates became a little drama. She, somehow, discovered that I had deleted her, and emailed me. So... I had to explain to her, without the benefit of vocal tonality and eye contact, why. Well, maybe I didn't have to explain, but I felt like I ought to. I apologized, and then I said that I had done it because of the status updates. And then I sent another friend request to her, and she has ignored it... which leads me into the next phase of this post.
Some other (unmentioned) reasons for the delection.
a. History and Memory: We were never really friends when we lived next door. Why are we friends now? What does that even mean? I mean, a dear samurai-loving colleague tells me that this moment calls for warrior-mind: In this era of electronic anxiety (characterized by John Durham Peters), I am obligated to use my oratorical, electric skills to engage my electric friend.
b. Desire: I don't want to do that. Because we are not, and never really have been, friends. I don't wish her ill. She seems happy and healthy. Her family looks very nice in their pumpkin patch profile picture. And I that is wonderful. She seems to think that I am en route to Hell, but, in the whole white-Christian-Southern-Baptist sense of the world, I probably am. She mentioned, in her last message to me, that we can just agree to disagree--perfect. Done and done, little lady.
c. Laziness: Changing people is hard. Asking them to think = even harder. I try to do it all the time--as a teacher, as a debate judge, as a "friend," as a sister/daughter/lover/student. But where, exactly, do I get my mandate to do this? Who am I to tell these people with whom I come into contact that they are thinking about something in the wrong way, that, if they just take this class or read this book or listen to this song or walk this way, their world will be a better place? Maybe it's better to leave people in the pumpkin patch.
d. Authenticity: If there is a limit to the amount of energy I can expend on these changes, then I want to save it for the people with whom I am actually in love. Facebook and Myspace, as ridiculous as they may be in a variety of ways, have allowed me to reconnect with people I thought I had lost: My best friend from primary school, who made me the person that I am (and probably has no idea how much of an influence she exerted when we were growing up), reappeared in my life, THANK GOD, because of these "social networking" devices; friends from other phases in my life; people who see the world differently and accept our differences with kindness and elan; partners of friends; students; recent acquaintances--who may or may not turn out to be people who live in the pumpkin patch or people who sometimes step into the watermelon patch next door.
Perhaps I am a bad person. Perhaps I should be, as the samurai so frequently reminds me, constantly in warrior mind, and ready, at the drop of an obi, to engage various folks in vigorous clashes of wit and will. Perhaps I failed in my responsibility to the Other when I so ignobly slunk away from a facebook throw-down. Perhaps I am tired.
Whatever the case may be, I am looking forward to a break soon. I will go home. I will drink wassail with my mom. I will touch the hands and hug the necks and kiss the cheeks of dear family and friends. And I will practice warrior-mind, dear Universe, I promise.