blips on the radar of life

Our COVID19 existence in 2020 and now 2021 has been odd, strange, and different on so many levels. Interpersonal relationships especially.

We as human beings for the most part are social creatures , unless we were already self-avowed loners and hermits, or had taken a vow of silence. COVID19 has limited and removed and changed our ability to socialize. And redefined it strangely and some people have very odd boundary definitions too.

I am more of a homebody than not. So the staying home most of the time has only gotten to me intermittently. Or has it? I keep finding house projects. This week for example, I decided I had to oil and wax polish all the old wooden chairs. I like old wood chairs, so that was a bunch…before 8:30 AM one morning.

But one thing I have noticed is I have retreated in the communication of it all. I do miss seeing people and I get tired of talking on the phone. Video chatting helps, because it provides that visual connection humans need I think in interaction. We all texted a lot before COVID19, aren’t you tired of it now some days?

Another thing I have noticed is something I first noticed after 9/11: people looking up people they hadn’t been connected to for years and in some cases, never really were connected to – they were just blips on the radar of life. I had that happen to me a couple of times just after 9/11 happened, and I even looked a couple of people up I hadn’t talked to since way before I was no longer working in NYC. I figure there must be some human psychological response to either tragedy or widespread hardship or something- that literal need to check in.

That same thing seems to be happening now during the COVID19 of it all.

I was talking to one of my essentially life long besties last night. She called to tell me about someone who had reached out to her. Literally a name I had not heard since we were 19 years old. The older guy that tested a friendship decades ago, decided to message my friend.

A long rambling message about his life, family, what his wife did for a living. And he literally lives thousands of miles away. And no one has been in touch with him since he called her in college to say he was moving and leaving that day. At the time it was kind of like “Ok bye” and no one thought of him again.

I had to laugh. As a teenager, he was one of the first older guys that I met. Again, we were 19, and he wasn’t just older he was like almost out of his 20s. So in retrospect his attention was creepy, only I don’t think this guy made the radar of our mothers because he was such a short term blip.

I met him, thought he was cute. Like any other teenage girl time in memoriam, I wanted a good friend to check him out.

I introduced them at an outside summer event. It was a club lacrosse game. There used to be lots of those back then. College age and older. Kind of like league ice hockey which still went on, at least until COVID19 hit.

I could tell this guy thought my friend was cute. I didn’t think much of it. He used to call once in a while and we would hang out, but it wasn’t so much a “summer romance”. But while he was cultivating me as a mostly occasional hang out buddy, he was also cultivating my friend. I don’t think either of us knew at first because there was no social media and well, he wasn’t that important. He was more like a cute curiosity.

Then one day I went over to the house he was renting with a bunch of guys. To hang out. It was literally the afternoon, and I had been invited. When I got there, my girlfriend was there too. And the body language was unmistakable. I remember that I pretty much had nothing to say. I literally just left the house.

That feeling from that day I never forgot, although eventually we did forget about him. It was awful, like a punch in the stomach. The adult me knows he was a random sleazy older guy who shouldn’t have been hanging out with teenage girls. The adult me knows he was just playing us both, he probably thought he was something to be doing this at the time. My friend and I got past it because well, he wasn’t important and our friendship was. But it was not a pleasant teenage experience at the time.

So we had forgotten about him until he essentially went Facebook trolling to seek out my friend. I will admit that although I am certainly no beauty queen we checked him out, laughed, and said “ewww” and put him back in the tales of teenage years past where he belongs.

But these things are happening all over. People connecting or trying to connect with people from other lifetimes, who weren’t important back then, so other than way too idle curiosity, why?

I will also note that the time of COVID19 has in general made me reflect some on who I actually want on my Facebook and Instagram. I have quietly jettisoned some people. Mostly people who I realized were drowning in the deep end of the angry crazy posting of drivel and fake news. It’s not that their opinions were different than mine, it was truthfully the anger and vitriol of what they were posting had reached the point that it was stressful and uncomfortable. So it was buh byes time.

Perhaps when we look back on these years many years hence we will laugh at these people who were blips on the radar of life. At the end of the day it’s the whole reason, season, and lifetime as far as who is in our lives. Sometimes it makes for great stories, however.

Thanks for stopping by.

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