Those were the topics I was told to avoid. Those were the topics Miss Vicky reminded us to avoid. And yet, onward we plunged, fortified by the alcoholic beverages we were toting at 3 in the afternoon. A margarita with Amaretto, a beer in a pilsner stein, and one red wine of indeterminate vintage fueled the far ranging discussion of ethics and would you go there? and how can they say that? and though we weren't all on the same page, we were in the same chapter.
There's not a good choice. #Settling4Hillary. How could anyone be so ignorant, so unaware, so incurious? We've known each other for more than a decade. We've hiked and we've bowled and we've dined and vacationed and shared friends and friendships and I'm always interested to hear what they have to say, what they've been up to, where they're going next. The conversation flows smoothly and gently, with jibs and jabs as appropriate.
No one has ever walked away until this afternoon.
"It's time for me to leave."
We turned, and she was gone.
We smiled, because she's often abrupt and we know that and love that about her. She says what's on her mind, and so do the rest of us, and that's why we are friends. She gave me a "Pull Up Your Big Girl Panties and Get Over Yourself" pillow when she thought I was overplaying my hand. Enough excuses. Get on with your life. It lives on my couch to this day, reminding me that I have friends who are loyal enough to tell me the truth.
So, I worried when she didn't immediately return to our merry band of three, choosing to smile but stay put with a new group. It was a cocktail party for The Happy Ladies Club, so moving on when you were done with a conversation wasn't rude at all. But we were worried. We wanted her back.
Being intrusive and unwilling to let things be, we encircled her and smiled at her and reminded her that we were not arguing, we were sharing thoughts, and we were very interested in hers. We knew that she was smart and thoughtful and we were delighted to have the opportunity to have a conversation instead of a screaming match. We didn't plan to tell her she was wrong on this any more than we would have on any other topic. We were interested. We valued her opinion.
Or, at least, tell us that we were still friends.
At that, she had to grin.
We left politics behind, and moved on to how our dilemma was exactly the dilemma facing America today. We have lost the ability to disagree in a civilized fashion. There is no conversation. There is only rhetoric, shouted from the rooftops, filled with the belief that The Other is bad, wrong, deluded, and to be avoided. It's too risky to take a chance, to voice your opinion until you are certain that your interlocutors are on your side.
That's not who we want to be, and yet here we are. At least we four could hug and know that our friendship is strong, even though we might think some of us are total fruitcakes when it comes to politics.