6/21/17 Awkwardness, Friends, Acquaintances, and Other

How many Facebook Friends have you blocked?

I blocked someone today. It is not a habit of mine. I sort of feel guilty about it. But life is too short to take too much guff from people you don’t know, especially someone giving you a hard time about things explained in earlier posts on the same thread. Perhaps one should read the entire thread before commenting. I know that I should. I have gone to great lengths to explain something to someone in a reply to a post only to read a much more succinctly excellent response posted just a couple before mine. It would have been better had I read the previous posts and just “Liked” the better explanation. Mine added nothing. In fact, it confused things. Everyone was worse off because of my post.

As I blocked the admonisher, I looked at the number of other people I had blocked since Facebook provided me with the entire list. In nine years of fooling with Facebook, I have only blocked five people. Since I can’t look at their profiles without unblocking them, I just recalled them from memory. I am satisfied with having blocked them. While I had memories of them, not a single one was pleasant. No doubt, we have not missed each other.

I am a Christian. I am a conservative. Most everyone who knows me knows that. But I have friends, close friends, who are diametrically opposed to my religious and political views. While they may sometimes be disrespectful of my politics (I admit some guilt here, too!), they have never been disrespectful, to my face, towards my faith. They are respectful people with opinions that are their own. I admire them for that. I do not have to agree with them, nor they with me. It’s a dull world where everyone thinks like me. It’s a dead world where everyone thinks like me, since there are people who can think in ways I am not capable of; they make the world bigger with their visionary talents. We all do in certain, perhaps smaller ways, but no less important in the lives of many. We all have talents. We all influence others, or at least some others. Let’s all hope the way we influence others is positive. Let’s all hope we have a positive impact on everyone we meet, even if it’s nothing more than a smile on their face.

There’s a few along the way upon whose face I meant to instill a frown, and did so. They remember that frown, still. A couple of them remember that frown and turn red-faced, when I see them now; they blush and look away. They don’t have to. I forgave them a long time ago; but some can’t be forgiven. They either won’t accept your forgiveness or won’t forgive themselves. I have yet to experience anyone who failed to forgive me when I admitted I was wrong and asked their forgiveness. If they failed to do so, they conceal it well to this day. Perhaps I am just fortunate. Perhaps reasonable people always respond to sincere apologies. I have issued my fair share and then some, since I am impetuous, frequently impertinent, sometimes both. This requires lots of apologies.

I am constantly asking Debbie to forgive me, and she is constantly doing so. There is something angelic about her. Grace grows on her daily and adorns her like the most precious jewels. I don’t suppose there ever was a husband so fortunate as me. I wish she were that lucky. I am an oaf in need of constant training, though some of it is taking. You’ll have to verify with her just how much, lest I overstate my case and have to apologize to all of you for my prevarications.

I remember one whom I did not treat very graciously.

While I want to say this was a few years ago, it was more like fifteen years ago. We were playing at Taylor Grocery just South of Oxford doing our recklessly abandoned Jang-A-Lang show. It was a very busy night and we were chewing up the scenery. There was a stunning blond headed girl seated with a large group out front who had everyone’s attention. During the first break, she came up to me and asked we could back her up while she sang “Rolling on a River” during our next set. I wasn’t too enthused about that. I’ve been down that road before. Apparently she had been a student at Ole Miss and was now a regular cast member on some TV show. Someone told me her name and the name of the show. I did not recognize either one.

You won’t be sorry,” she said. “I do a really cool version of that song.”

What song?” I asked.

Rolling on a River!” She replied.

You mean ‘Proud Mary’,” I said. She looked at me like I was an idiot.

NO!!! Rolling on a River,” she fairly shouted at me.

The Creedence version or the Tina Turner version,” I asked, knowing which one she wanted to do.

Just ‘Rolling on a River’,” she said. “You know it, don’t you?”

Yes, I know it. The band knows it. The question is whether you do?”

She was pretty perturbed by now, and getting pushy, but she was also stroking her hair and batting her eyes, leaning forward to show more cleavage, as if it were an invitation to something more than a mere stage performance. She even got the attention of the boys in the band with her smiles and wiles and a wiggle or two. She was not unattractive, but that was getting her nowhere with me. In fact, it was having the opposite effect, as I became more stubborn.

Is it sexism when women use their sexuality to get what they want? Is it sexism when men decline to be influenced by that? Or is it sexism when men submit to something that seems to be promised with no intention of delivery? Is it sexism to think that? Someone tell me. The lines are blurred these days. On that particular busy night, I may not have even allowed a known musical entity to get up on stage with us the first or second set. We were pretty hot. I may have declined Tina herself, though Tina would most likely not have asked. It was our stage. It was my stage. At least for that night. And of course I would have let Tina do what Tina wanted, but it was not Tina I was talking to.

What’s the words?” I asked her.

Big Wheels keep on turning….” she started in, her best Tina Turner impression, which is not nearly so exciting as Tina Turner, but OK.

That’s the chorus. The verses. What are the words to the verses?”

Left a good job in the city, workin……..,” she said. I cut her off with a wave of my hand.

That’s the first verse. Second verse!” I said.

She didn’t have a clue.

You do a good cover of that song and you don’t even know the words? I don’t think so. Not on my stage at my gig. Maybe later tonight, late in the 3rd set when anything goes, but not during the second set. Not here. Not tonight. Not this stage. We all work hard here. This is our stage. We own it when we’re here,” I declared and turned to walk off as I was still on the stage wasting my break time talking to her. She followed me out the back door.

You obviously don’t know who I am,” she said, and if looks were knives I would have died the death of a thousand cuts. Her eyes were filled with malice. She was not taking no for an answer. I was not delivering a yes. She was furious at me.

No, ma’am,” I replied with a bow and a tip of my hat, “I regret that I indeed do not know who you are, but I’ll bet a dollar to a dime you’ll always remember who I am, because I am the guy who told you, ‘No!’” She stormed off.

At that point, the only thing that could have possibly gotten me to change my mind would have been for her Hollywood entourage to pony up and put a hundred dollars in the tip jar which Ed Dye suggested. Apparently her friends did not think it was worth a hundred dollars. I didn’t expect them to, though a dozen or more Tennessee fans always thought it worth a hundred dollars to hear “Rocky Top.”

The rest of the night I could see her glaring at me out of the corner of my eye, but when I’d catch her eye, she’d blush and lower hers. I was old enough to be her father; perhaps she thought of what her father might have thought about her behavior. There is no doubt in my mind that she remembers me, though I doubt it is with any fondness. At least her blush and lowered gaze told me that she had some shame about her behavior.

I have no idea how many other people ever told her no. I expect several have because she is, or was, in a tough business. I am likely just one of the many, but I’ll still bet a dollar to a dime I am remembered.

God bless her wherever she is. I wish her peace, mercy, health, prosperity, and joy.

I do wish I remembered her name, but perhaps it’s better that I don’t. It would be ungracious to mention it.

If I’d have ever sent her a friend request on Facebook, she’d likely have blocked me. I would not have blamed her if she did.

I wonder how many times I’ve been blocked?

No matter. Life is still full, exciting, and a joy to be in the midst of, and best of all…

you’re still here.

©2017 Mississippi Chris Sharp

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