Thomas Wolfe once said you can’t go home again. I discovered several years that you can indeed go home–you just can’t stay long, and old friends often change to unrecognizable strangers.
When I decided several years ago to get myself out of a loveless, abusive marriage, I spent time and effort reconnecting with old school friends. The internet, which was just beginning to embrace social networking/annoy the bejeezus out of us with textual advertising, was helpful in finding some of them, including my first requieted love. She is now a teacher in the southern U.S. and has had her share of life’s adventures, including two marriages, several children, and a history of military service and teaching. We chatted and exchanged email for awhile.
I discovered how much she has changed (or perhaps how much I changed); we are very different now. She maintained her faith in the Christian God; I haven’t. Her pride in her personal and familial history of military service (she served in the Air Force) has evolved into an almost jingoistic fervor; I support defense of our country and our allies, but not involvement in that rabid pitbull of a country (Afghanistan) or that object of Saudi Arabia’s fear and loathing (Iraq). Our presence in both of those countries is inspired by economics and power grabs, not a genuine need for security.
I find this combination to be the social equivalent of dropping pants and crapping in the middle of a dance floor at a wedding reception, and I finally had to ask her to take me off her mailing list that was annoying the living crap out of me. It made me sad to have to do so, and I suspect she won’t take it very well, but I couldn’t continue to lend moral sanction to someone who espouses points of view I find repugnant and harmful.