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Thursday, March 9, 2017

Give and take, how’s this shit work?

I dreamt about an old, past friend, someone who zoomed through my life like a fast, exhilarating storm. Brad was a ton of fun, a LIVE BIG Romantic but (of course there’s a but) he really was, to a rather huge degree, all about himself and his dilemmas. Granted, his probs were much more than pesky hangnails or five pounds that just couldn’t get gone – his marriage was failing, he was estranged from his sons and he’d been laid off from his big paycheck VP gig. Yeah, mondo suck-age.

I was sympathetic. – tried to be a good, listening doobie, offered sensible (in my opinion, anyway), kind, thoughtful advice. Sometimes I just gave him the straight dope though I knew it’d be hard to hear. There wasn’t much room for me and my troubles in this friendship. Brad didn’t demand or steal center stage – that’s just how things were. His needs consumed all others.

Still, I really liked him – felt some level of kinship to him even.

In last night’s dream Brad and I were sitting on my couch all cozy, chatting. I was trying to tell him about my own devastations – The Amazing Bob’s death, that I’m now deaf (I had hearing in this little chimera but was, at the same time, deaf – dreams – gotta love ‘em!), but he wasn’t listening. He couldn’t – his own concerns and botherations were all he was able to see or hear. Just like in real life! Gently, sweetly I persisted to no happy end.

Give and take, how’s this shit work? Brad was by no means the first or only friend I’ve had like this. Is it my own fault that these Need Vampires swamp me to the point that I’m little more than an unpaid therapist versus friend? Yeah, in part. Sure. I needed to learn how to deflect, in a kind way, those folks who were unable to give in return.

Have I been this way with people I’ve known? Is this why Tom and I are now only “Facebook friends.” is this the reason John’s just a nice memory? Would Diane and Nora still be around if I talked less? Eh, mebbe. I think though, in all these cases, the reasons for friendship’s end were broader, more wide-ranging. Sometimes it was just due to time – life’s inevitable transmogrifications.

Mind you, I do talk a lot. I also listen – yes, even now that I’m deaf. I think I’m good with the giving part of friendships and, more often that not, the taking part as well. Jen feels there are significant mega loads of folks like Brad and Cheri in the world – more of them than us'ns. They’re generally nice and fun but too self absorbed to get on this ride – at least not for the full, extended journey.

I’m less likely, now, to become anyone’s gratis Janice. In part that's due to the whole deaf thing. For most non-signing hearies, it’s too damn hard, frustrating and challenging to talk my non-functioning ears off. Hey, a bonus!

How's 'bout y'all? Have you run into a lot of Conversation Vampires?


  1. I've had a couple friends where I realized things were so one-sided that I just couldn't handle it anymore. I can also be a bit self-centered - or a lot self centered, I guess - in my relationships.

    I've gotten away with it, usually, and I've let others in turn get away with it if I really (for whatever reason) liked them.

    Who knows why people put up with this from others, though...

    1. Back in the Cherie days, I was very insecure so that's my excuse there. With Brad? I'm thinking it's because he was stunning and, often, charming, I enjoyed the show for the most part.

      In both cases, I felt so bad for them – their struggles seemed so huge and I wanted to help.

      I love your honesty.