General Benedict Arnold
Today, as has oft happened this fading year, a friend who I have not conversed with in many summers contacted me out of the blue. I will be the first to admit that I lag behind most of my acquaintances with respect to "keeping in touch". It is not that I don't think of them often, for those that crowd my memory will rise to the fore at they insistence of a melody or the similarities of an action, coming to life in my mind's eye. And though life has spirited us all to different corners of the country, I carry them with me.
Social media sites, and I speak primarily of Facebook, allow the world of today a large measure of interconnectivity. If you are curious about an old acquaintance you are able to look them up, read what has been happening in their lives, and comment on it. You can peruse multitudes of photographs, videos, events, and groups with ease as you relive the past that was recorded by friends. For more intimate conversations a personal message may be sent, and the discussion can begin with little or no difficulty. None of which is out of character, even becoming the rapidly approaching norm for this next iteration of societal values.
I keep my distance from Facebook voluntarily, saving myself from the depression that creeps in, be it from old phantoms captured in photographs or joyful posts that predate much more forlorn announcements. I confess that I do not read previous entries in my hardcopy journal for that exact reason. The extent of my interconnectivity is by Twitter, a drinking app, or by text. Beyond that, my world is a small place that consists of nearby friends, family, and primarily work. Too many phone numbers have been lost through the years, and with them the ability to communicate on a more traditional level.
But, it always amazes me when a voice heard only in memory graces my ear when they take the "off" chance of calling the number they have in their phones. Though they are in my thoughts, I can not, for the life of me, figure out why I am in theirs. Memories are recounted, names brought up, questions asked and answered as if no time elapsed since last we spoke. And seldom is the time afterward when I do not revel in the joy they have heaved upon my faltering spirit, for I look upon them in adulation.
I am a mere farm hand working a forgotten piece of nature, disconnected from the world that is constantly encroaching. Comparatively, they have done much better with their degrees than I have mine. In my case, loyalty and honor bind me as they always have. Two of my endearing traits yet also my greatest failings. And that statement is true in all aspects of my life, not just the realm of employment. To me, they have a life I wish I did, they took chances I wasn't savvy enough to take. They have done something with their lives, where I have attached my heart and soul to a specific place for better or worse.
I suspect my devaluation of self is responsible for the surprise that always accompanies "thinking of you". That someone who exists in a vast world with thousand of connections would even have the most fleeting of thoughts concerning a man of my caliber... I did not think myself capable of such an impact, or that my simple acts of kindness and camaraderie would be remembered through the years.
A few in particular have been the source of much amazement: A woman who caught me drawing cartoons in a particular college class, who I think of every time Date Rape comes on (It sounds terrible, which is why I don't bring it up on social media, but at the time it was her favorite song); A man who saved my sanity senior year, whose advice I still live by on certain habits; A Georgia Peach that took away my animosity toward the south; An anarchist that constantly joined me in inebriated discussion. Years have gone by and yet I still exist in their thoughts.
Tis a source of wonder to me.