When You Realize How Little Some People Care

No, I don’t mean haters. Haters care far too much in negative ways to the detriment of both themselves and others. I’m talking about friendships and other relationships that die.

Well, what were they really anyway though?

I cannot count how friends I’ve had over the years who I don’t think really cared all that much. And maybe most people unfortunately have had those sort of friendships at one point or another.

Actually though, in my life, most if not all of those sort of friendships died years ago. I had one supposed best-friend who probably never really cared all that much about me ghost me after I had my first child. She wasn’t yet seriously dating anyone at the time and she had expressed what appeared to be some agitation or perhaps mild disdain about how different our lives were. Then one Valentine’s Day while I was pregnant with our first child, my ex-husband (then husband) took me out for dinner and this friend spent a decent hour or so texting me about a jerk who was leading her on (trying to get sympathy and advice from me). At the time I tolerated it and even embraced it because I felt empathy for her, but a while later when I thought she had started lying about this young man to make him seem more innocent than he was and convince herself that it was ok to keep seeing him, I lost my temper. I accused her of becoming a liar in regard to him. She was possibly devastated at being called at liar (she seemed very hurt at the time by that accusation) and while we had a real conversation maybe once or twice more after that she eventually just totally ignored me a year or two later. I wrote her a reasonably calm, sad, albeit genuinely hurt last message wondering about why our friendship had ceased and then let it go. She never responded. I unfriended her at some point as it just seemed logical. Later we became “friends” again on Facebook and I’m pretty sure I was the one who sent the request… We never have communicated beyond that request and its acceptance and that was years ago now.

The thing is, like some adults in my life when I was a child, emotionally I had taken on a sort of semi parental role at times with this friend. But, in her case, when I think of the good advice she gave me or the times she “was there for me when I truly needed it most” I draw almost an entire blank. I’d visit her lovely family occasionally and we’d have wonderful long chats and go tanning, to the beach and shopping at the Cherry Hill Mall. We’d peer at the latest Vogue over coffee or muse about the glory of Old Hollywood stars among other delightful things. Once we meandered around Manhattan and had Italian for dinner. But distance and the inherent cracks in the friendship tore it apart eventually…

Looking back I wish I could warn my younger self. First, I’d tell me to stop trying to help her with all of the guys she dated who were bad for her; trying endlessly to talk her out of wasting her heart or time. Sure I’d still have said something but…not even half as much as I did. She’s in a seemingly happy marriage with a wonderful little one now anyway… And I doubt my attempt to save her from sadness was ever all that valued and it certainly wasn’t reciprocated. *sigh* I just embarrassed myself and seemed like a square old lady, most likely. *laughing* “Uptight” as I have hatefully been called before and since by supposed friends and actual family. No, I can do better: I was an “uptight”, pitiable young woman who didn’t finish her college degree (A half year left! *gasp*) but instead got married like a foolish, outdated idiot.

(Rant: even though this friend knew I had inherited money from my family and was far from destitute she feigned actual care once while suggesting I go on Public Assistance when I considered ending my marriage. “I don’t think it’s wrong.” she said like the pretentious, pretend humanitarian she might have been. I then once more told her the actual Dollar amount I’d inherited because I was confused and caught off-guard by her suggestion. And, of course, she probably ignored that once more anyway and/or erased that information from her memory like she had before. “Oh! Your car is just like my car!” she also said, of course, when my father bought me a car around that time. “It’s not your money!” would have been the next thing she’d likely have said if not for the fact that her parents had bought her her car, helped pay for her education and etc. Right? *eye-roll* Because rightful, honest, normal marital property and parental gifts and inheritance are all evil, suspect, “paternalistic”, “capitalistic” and to be canceled if a hater or uncaring person isn’t included in that group and/or if they decide they’re simply just too damn cool for it all. *eye-roll* Or…if you’re trying to genuinely feel and seem superior and more healthy and successful and you want to delude and convince yourself someone is trashy and poor compared to you when you know they’re not…you might just decide magically that their actual, legally received money doesn’t exist or is somehow, again, magically not as moral, pure or even as real as your money… Yes, I did share a little of this with her in that last message but I did it kindly.)

Anyway, like the adults in my childhood who shouldn’t have wanted, much less allowed or encouraged, parenting from a five year old, she needed to sort things out on her own. Of course. And…like those adults…if she didn’t care about me beyond the lovelier moments then as heartbreaking as it was for me it was a relationship bound to die or be quite diminished. Eventually, at least. Because some people really, truly…dont care. And if they ever did or do care, which may be highly unlikely, it makes little difference regardless when they euthanize a relationship in the end or slowly over time in a genuinely uncaring way.

“I think there are things [name of friend] doesn’t tell you.” said a (real) friend of mine at the time (on a side-note he’s now a screenwriter in Hollywood who has his own Wikipedia page so good for him). I knew he was trying to warn me, but I couldn’t believe he really knew more about her than I did. I thought I was her best friend… “Like what do you mean?!” I asked. He either didn’t literally know more or demurred… But, regardless, he was right in some way. I wish I’d listened. I wish I had known why to listen…

Oh well.

Mark’s grandfather died.

He fought in Korea. Bravely. And actually, he was fortunate enough to see Marilyn Monroe perform live while he was there and he proudly kept a photo of her from that performance in his office. “She seemed like a really nice person.” he’d say thoughtfully with a shrug.

After graduating from Ohio State and being active in his fraternity there he settled down with his fellow Buckeye wife Harriet. There had three kids, there was a school board to lead, lots of volunteering, lots of leadership positions actually. He was a CPA like my uncle… And like a genuinely good, honest lawyer a truly decent CPA becomes a community asset with age and experience.

…The first time I met him was at a family Thanksgiving they hosted at their house back in 2010. Mark’s father, an enthusiastic wine collector, had brought something highly rated for Thanksgiving Dinner for us all to imbibe and everyone sat their drinking it pleasantly with a turkey Oprah had recommended that year (and a few other dishes). It was a frozen turkey that you were supposed to wait to eat as it eventually unthaws over time. Supposedly. But it was…not great. Mark’s (half) little sister by his father’s second wife was crawling under the table. They made her box mac and cheese because she refused to eat the turkey. Mark’s step-mother who was still trying to get along with me then offered me a serving of the mac and cheese as well. I declined.

Mark’s grandfather, who sat at the head of the table looked over at me and said in perfect cadence, “So, what do you think of this family?” I was caught off-guard and didn’t know where to begin… I think I said, “Oh they’re wonderful.” or something like that. I meant it then, as lacking in eloquence as it perhaps was, despite the problems that happened eventually.

But you know…I always admired Mark’s Grandparents. I saw their flaws but I also saw the way they sacrificed for their kids and grandkids. I saw how much they contributed to their communities. I saw how hard they worked their whole lives. I noted the way they took life quite seriously in general.

Mark’s grandmother was prettier than Marilyn Monroe. Well, they were equals at least. She was self-admittedly not a photogenic woman but she was very beautiful… Every week she’d have her hair done at the salon and much like her house it always looked impeccable.

These deceased were all people our world needed. To function. To survive… And now they’re gone, having exhausted their gift of life and used it as wisely as they could. I look around at us, the next generations, and worry…to be honest. And, as much as we love today to hate anyone white or of certain accomplishments and background because there were criminals among those groups who ruined things (and that’s putting it mildly)…there were others who did a lot of good. And honestly…I don’t see a lot of people in any group like that nowadays. People who truly lead well. People who bite down hard on life and make it work for us. Or maybe most of those people wherever they are becoming more and more exhausted, regardless of age, as time rolls on.

Best case scenario there are still people not totally beaten down by evil… People not totally exhausted… Or quickly becoming elderly… Left… Who still care enough at higher levels of leadership to keep things from imploding in on themselves in protest against the idiotic, irrationally self-obsessed leadership of those who ruin what good people build. Built.

I’m not hopeful. I’m preparing for the worst for the rest of my life. Most Millennials and Gen Z are, I’d argue. But I’m one of the lucky ones in my generation who realizes and saw what the good and the hard-working looked like in leadership. In their communities. They’ve been slowly leaving us one by one for decades (still are). And they were the reason we were able to care and thought there was hope until we recognized later that there were imposters who stole their glory for no end other than egotistical, ill, moronic destruction.

Those criminals were poisonous. Don’t let them overshadow the beauty of those who cared, tried and did.

Rest In Peace…