Still plowing through Keith Richards's autobiography "Life," and it's just a walloping hearty meatloaf of a book. I read every word as a young seminarian reads the words of a bishop. And for those who have ever had to work with someone who is annoying, self-centered to the point of ignoring all those he considers "beneath" him, controlling, and imbued with the feeling that he and he alone is the reason for the success of the entire group, I can only say, be glad you don't work with Mick Jagger, as Keith has done for over fifty years. Now, it is true that Keith chose to be absent, if only mentally, for a dozen or so of those years, so avid was his drug consumption, but still. To read that Mick Jagger can board an airplane and be greeted by baggage handlers, musicians and other members of the touring party, only to walk past them as if they did not even exist, is hardly surprising, but still. And to read that Keith once picked up a lurid sex novel and found that it was written by one "Brenda Jagger," leading Keith to refer to Mick as "Brenda" to this day, makes me realize that it doesn't matter where you work. Cleaning out grease traps in an abattoir, or playing guitar for thousands for millions, when you work with a butthead, you've got to do something about it!
...Did you ever stay home from school in 4th grade and then come back the next day to find that everyone else had learned to do fractions, and realize that you now have one arm tied behind your back, figuratively, forever? I just have to say that a lot of people skipped the lesson in Driver Ed about how to merge onto a highway. You don't just sail onto the interstate without slowing down or yielding the right of way! And yet, every time that misfortune finds me on the dreaded Baltimore Beltway, immortalized in "Die Hard 4: How Long Can This Go On, Already?" as "The 6-9-5," I see minivan Moms and pick-'em-up Pops blowing off the ramps and right on into the lanes, often at the expense of jittery Joes who are just trying to get OFF the doggone superslab. Same thing with traffic circles, those vortices of doom that dot our area: if you're on the road, you have the right of way. Those wishing to get on the traffic circles, which are really just teeny little Beltways, after all, need to wait til the current occupants depart, often in one piece.
...I had a friend of ten years who decided not to be a friend any more at all. It was odd. And the friendship ended in a way that was not even imaginable ten years ago. I found out that this person chose to end our friendship by un-friending me on Facebook, and then I got a text msg from her mother, informing me in 160 characters or less that her daughter no longer needed my friendship, support or help. Well, look. In these days when such news is delivered electronically, or back in the cave-dweller era when rudimentary grunts were the only mode of speech, now as then, if someone doesn't want to be your friend any longer, there's no use in asking them to still be one.
But I like metaphors and pictorial representations of feelings and moods, and it wasn't until I saw part of The Shawshank Redemption that I saw something that captured the shock and stupefaction that one feels upon receiving the news that the same person who made you laugh and feel good can do just the opposite in 160 characters or less.
And this is how it feels to look into the abyss left behind when a friendship leaves town.
What the hell. We all shine on!