Monday, May 25, 2009

You don't know me

Last week, something very odd happened to someone I know. She was having a phone conversation with her best friend since her youth who, in spite of years and distance remained as one of her closest and beloved friends.

As they were talking her friend started asking her strange questions like "Do you know what my favorite singer is?" "Do you know what my favorite food is?" "Do you remember the name of my dog?" She was kind of taken aback. "Well," she stammered, "I think your favorite food is spaghetti isn't it?" She listened for a yes over the static on the phone but, all she got was silence so, she kept talking feeling more and more nervous as she tried to answer, "Isn't your favorite singer Bob Marley?" silence, "Wasn't your dog's name Tango?" a long silence followed.

"What is wrong?!?" my friend said in a explosion of confusion. On the phone she heard a quiet whimper and a shaky voice, "I thought you KNEW me" she cried out and my friend heard tears stream down her friend's face. My friend was taken aback and was deeply hurt by the emotions that her friend was holding in and not expressing openly.

"I do know you," my friend said feebly... "No, you don't!" her friend replied quickly. "Tango died years ago, Bob Marley stopped being my favorite after you moved away, and I stopped liking spaghetti as much when I discovered that Thai grilled chicken salad from that cooking magazine that you sent me. Don't you remember??" she practically yelled in exasperation.

"I don't understand," said my friend, "I haven't been at your house since you got your new dog, Bob Marley was your favorite at one time, and you never told me that you received that magazine I sent you! How was I supposed to know?"

I've been thinking about this ever since and I have come to this realization (it is nothing new just good to realize). "Knowing people" is not something that happens once and then it can be checked off as an accomplished task.

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live the questions now... R.M. Rilke