Sleep deprivation can lead to a frosty countenance. I’ve been going through one of those phases this week, those inexplicable phases where I can’t get a single night of solid unbroken sleep, and I haven’t been feeling the love towards my fellow man all that much. I had arranged to meet P last night to go for dinner and then see a show at the theatre. I don’t like to use the word ‘should’ when it comes to my feelings any more, but I think a night at the theatre should be something to look forward to. I thought I would feel good about about it because the play we were going to see had had good reviews, it starred some A list actors and, many years ago, I decided that going to the theatre was one of the gifts of sobriety. But I was having one of those phases where I was sleeping badly, I felt a tad frosty on the way out of the door and I had to force a smile throughout the evening. I wouldn’t say I was in a terrible mood, not at all; I was ok, really. Talking wasn’t a tremendous effort, I could sort of enjoy the play once it got going, and I didn’t experience the sort of crash on the way home that normally occurs when I’ve been in a really awful mood and I start to feel guilty about it. It was quite an average evening, with a little frostiness at the beginning. Only it should have been wonderful, I think.
P wanted to talk about his recent falling out with N, the falling out we’ve all been waiting for for years. Since I’ve not been on facebook for the past month, I didn’t notice that P had posted a right leaning political article which caused N to blow a fuse. There were several harsh words posted publicly as comments on the article, then there were some even harsher private messages. For about the past year I’ve been wondering when it would finally happen, when one of them would say or do something to make the other’s polite facade slip. They’ve hated each other for years, let’s face it, they’ve never agreed when it comes to politics and they’ve never been the kind of people who can just let that lie. So after sending several harsh messages to P, N found himself unfriended, to which he replied with a few dramatic text messages last week. P had had enough by this point and stopped engaging with him. It was getting a bit much.
“I may support the government but it doesn’t mean I’m a money grabbing capitalist! I have a social conscience too! I believe the NHS is worth saving!” P sputtered incandescently, seemingly confused by N’s vociferous anger. Now, at this point I could have stopped biting my lip and said a few things I’d been dying to say for the past eighteen months, things that concerned his undying support for the government. I could have really let rip, because despite all the work I’ve done in the past year to accept him for how he is, his voting habits have never stopped bugging me. I don’t want to ‘divorce’ him any more, because I don’t currently think it’s worth killing a friendship of twelve years over politics (I didn’t feel that way last year, believe me, especially around the time of the referendum!), but I haven’t miraculously found a way of liking his beliefs. I will probably always struggle to accept the incongruence between what he says and what he does in this matter – the fact that he claims to care about society whilst continuing to support the government that is destroying it.
I could have said all the things I was thinking and hurt his feelings quite badly, but I didn’t. I just couldn’t be bothered to cause a confrontation. For most of last year I desperately wanted to confront him, to make him stop and really think for a goddamn minute. I’ve never said anything because the right moment never seems to come, and I’ve been putting up with it for so long the urge to smash our friendship gets less urgent by the day. I become more resigned to putting up with it by the day, simply because it’s easier, and somewhere in me I must value such a long term friendship. Watching his friendship with N implode this week is uncomfortable considering just how close I came to doing the same thing last year. Yet despite how much closer I am to N in terms of my political views, I see that the way he’s done it is wrong. It seems he’s deliberately set out to upset P, and that doesn’t seem right to me. P isn’t a bad person, he’d never do that to a friend. I think, at the end of the day, if N wanted to have it out with P he could have been a bit more grown up (and private) about it.