In Which A Forgotten Friend Sends Ms. Bean An Email

The following experience is not how I do things, but there’s an odd sweetness & humor to this story. Plus, you can’t take things like this personally. You gotta laugh.

• • •

Hosta starting to grow in the stones underneath the deck, early spring.

I got an email from someone, let’s call her Pebbles, who I last heard from when I was in my 20s.

Pebbles had gotten my email address from someone on FB who knew where I was. I’m not on FB, but Pebbles was looking for me because, as she explained in her email, she wanted to re-connect with me.

To be my friend again.

Pebbles’s email was filled to the brim with newsy tidbits about her blessed life as the wife of a successful businessman and her role as a granny of a parcel of fabulous little ones and her passion, which was either going to the beach or playing golf.

I can’t remember which.

Surprised, but happy to engage, I replied to Pebbles’s email asking a few questions about that which she had told me and sharing a few details about what was going in our lives now.

• • •

The other day I got a reply to my reply to Pebbles’s email.

In it she answered my questions about her life and commented on my life.  Like a friend might do, right?

But here’s the thing that makes this communication exchange odd– and like none other that I have had.

Pebbles replied back to me, using the email that she’d initially sent to me and I’d replied back to her on; that’s normal enough. HOWEVER, her response came five years after I wrote back to her.

Yes, I said years.

Not five months. Not five weeks. Not five days. Not five hours.

Five years.

• • •

Knowing me as you do, my gentle readers, you can imagine that my inner Nancy Drew is curious.

Questions abound: where the frostbite has Pebbles been for five years? Do I want to know?

And why did she keep my response email for five years? If she wanted to get back in touch again, why didn’t she start a new email to me– like, you know, people do?

And what prompted her to think of me to begin with? I’d really like to know the answer to that question.

• • •

Nut shells discarded by squirrels on the stones, late winter.

So here’s my plan.

I’ll follow Pebbles’s lead and reply back to her recent email… in five years. I’ll ask the above questions.

Then when she responds back to me, presumably in another five years, I’ll tell you what she says in answer to the above questions. In fact, you, my gentle readers, will be the first to know after me.

Because I have no doubt that ten years hence we’ll all still be here reading and commenting on each other’s blogs. We bloggers are a reliable group of people who tend to live in the moment. We like to keep things current.

But as Pebbles has shown me, not everyone does.

Modern Life 101: When The Text Wasn’t Meant For You, What Do You Do?

THE OTHER DAY I received text messages from friends that I wasn’t supposed to receive.  I was part of the conversation by accident.

We all know that stuff like this happens.

[In fact, it’s a miracle that when I text with Z-D I don’t accidentally include his sisters on the text.  In my phone, they’re all set up together so that I can send group texts.  Meaning that if I want to just text Z-D alone, I have to scroll down my contacts to find him.

I figure it’s a matter of time before I get distracted and text his sisters with something like: Pizza 🍕? Beer 🍻 too plz. You get dinner 🆗?]

SO, YOU’RE WONDERING IF what I read in these texts was salacious, aren’t you?  Did I get some good dirt on these friends who included me, but didn’t really mean to include me?

Well, no.

The texting was about how much one friend adored the daughter of another friend and how she was so happy to have spent time with the other friend’s daughter.

Gushy Mom Stuff, you know?

[But this texting did remind of something that happened years ago when email was new.  I got BCCed on messages going between two married friends who were, it seemed to me, having a lesbian affair that their husbands didn’t know about.

I didn’t need to know about it either, but there it was.]

ANYHOO, I FIGURE THAT everyone probably has a story about inadvertently learning something about someone else because that someone else made a mistake when using some kind of newfangled communication technology.

Like a text. Or an email. Or a voice mail, if we’re really reaching back in time.

I’m talking about eavesdropping, modern-style.

So, kids, spill the beans.

 – – 👀 – –

What do you know that you’re not supposed to know? How did you come to know this? Did you do anything with the information that you accidentally learned?

– – ? – –

9 Links For People Who Like Wordplay

… because information is FUN dammit.

Dear me, am I seeing a photo of a deer? Aye, it is a deer, my dear. Is the deer near here? No, from what I hear, the deer is not near here, my dear. 😁

 • • •

Need a laugh? Enjoy a generic millennial ad here.

But I don’t want to not say this word when I apologize.

Did you know that grok, like Jabberwocky, are examples of nonce words?

Miss Phryne Fisher’s 1920s Australian slang is here to help you increase your vocabulary.

There used to be more to the alphabet.

If you write headlines, how good are they? Find out here. [link revised 9/22]

The Oxford comma has an online dating profile that you can view here.

Looking for some petty phrases to use in your work emails? Click here.

According to this, your craft beer name is your grandfather’s job + a word you don’t fully understand.  My craft beer is: Salesman’s Milieu.

Kindness Deconstructed, A Fun With Foibles Post

Screen Shot 2015-07-07 at 9.27.13 AM
John the CincyZooLion is not pleased that Ally Bean was dissed. *growl*

# # #

I’VE ALWAYS OPERATED UNDER THE ASSUMPTION that kindness is a good thing.

This, of course, is a simplistic point of view.  One that along the way has gotten me into more trouble than you might imagine, allowing me to perfect my eye-rolling technique.

From what I can tell, if someone, for some reason, does not believe that they deserve kindness, then anyone who shows them kindness becomes a problem.

And it’s time for a squabble.

# # #

TO WIT, LOOKING OUT MY WINDOW I remembered that a former neighbor here in the midwest, who now lives on the other side of the country, used to love this time of year.

So, spontaneously, without any expectation of reciprocity, I sent her a fast, sincere thinking-of-you email.

A random act of kindness.

A note saying someone cares about you. 

A positive little message. 

# # #

WITHIN THE HOUR SHE WAS ON the phone, not calling to thank me, but to tell me how bad she felt about herself after receiving my kind email.

That I made her feel like a failure because she never thought to send anyone a thinking-of-you email.

And why did I bother with this email, anyhow?  Was I trying to make her feel guilty?

What was my real motivation?

And my only response, which was the truth but it seemed to irritate her, was that I was thinking. of. her.  She liked this time of year in the midwest and I remembered that.

I was just saying “hello.”  Nothing more.

*eye roll*

# # #

WHILE THE GOLDEN RULE MAKES SENSE to me, I’ve come to discover that occasionally doing unto others what you would want for yourself, can lead to resentment among others.

Somehow, it would seem that some people with low self-esteem, or perhaps the inability to understand generosity of spirit, misinterpret kindness to mean manipulation.

Or showing off.

Or sanctitude.

Or, I guess, some other off-putting behavior, sneaky and weird, that doesn’t say friendship to them.

Meaning that, if you’re primed to believe that the golden rule is suspect behavior, then my kind email marked me immediately as an untrustworthy human being.

Twisted logic, huh?  Go figure.

# # #

“Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity.”

~ SIMONE WEIL

# # #

And Then He Said…

“I’ve found that with email it takes people longer to get back to you, or ignore you, than you think it will.”

~ Zen-Den

Well.  Okay.  You’re right.  But I don’t have to like it– now do I?

And how am I supposed to know if they’re just pokey little puppies about returning my emails?  Or if they’re really ignoring me?  Hmmm?  Answer me that one, He-who-talks-in-koans.

<sound of me muttering while stomping out of the room>

*humph*

[The WP spell checker just told me that “humph” isn’t a word, but “Humph” is a word.  And I just reset the spell checker to always accept a lower case “humph” as a word.  Doesn’t WP know that not all situations call for a capital letter “Humph”?  Honestly, who creates these spell check thingies?]

Making Myself Useful

People think of me at the strangest times.

I received an email from a former boss of mine who I haven’t heard from in five years– haven’t worked for in about two decades.  Not to be cynical, but I figured there was a reason that she thought of me all of a sudden and sent me this email. And I was right.

The first part of her message told me what she and her husband had done. Retired now.  Moved to another state.  Built a house on 10+ acres.  Raising farm animals.

Then she explained that she had written to ask me about events that happened in a bar near where we worked– twenty years ago— when Bailey’s Irish Cream was a new and exotic drink to us. Specifically, she wanted to know if I remembered the names of any of the drinks with Bailey’s Irish Cream in them that we used to enjoy.

I could only think of two drinks, a Nutty Irishman [Bailey’s and Frangelico] and a B-52 [Bailey’s, Grand Marnier, and Kahlua], but I emailed to her what I could remember.  I figured she was hosting some shindig and wanted to have some special drinks.

But I could not have been farther from the truth, as I learned when former boss emailed back and finally told me what she was really up to.

One of her alpacas, named Bailey, had just given birth. And former boss thought that it’d be fun to name her newest little girl alpaca, the daughter of Bailey, after one of those drinks we enjoyed years ago. But former boss couldn’t think of the names of any of them, so naturally she thought of me.

Well, of course. Makes perfect sense.

At first I was a bit miffed about why former boss had contacted me.  But as I got thinking about it I decided that I liked my newfound title of She Who Names Alpacas.  It had a certain ring to it.

So I sent former boss an email suggesting that “Bea,” a shortened form of B-52, would be a good name for an alpaca.  I liked it because I figured that if I was an alpaca I’d want a respectable name– not something silly like Nutty.  Me, a suburbanite, being so knowledgeable about alpacas and all….

Former boss emailed back, said that she liked the name, and promised to send photos of Bea, just as soon as she got around to taking them. Which in my estimation will be about the time Bea becomes a mother herself and former boss, needing yet another “Bailey” name, thinks of me again.