So I have this theory (like most of the others, it's rather half-baked) that while no man is an island, we do sort of glide around, crashing into each other and drifting apart like the continents. Except that instead of occurring over millions of years, these alignments and rearrangements occur in much shorter time frames...years, weeks, days.
It's easy to get wrapped up in "the routine", going to and from work, hanging out in the same places with the same people and missing what's going on with folks that are on the periphery.
I get tripped up by this all the time. I run into someone I haven't seen in awhile and I in my ignorance always ask the worst possible question.
Hey! How's it going? (Looks around) Where's your dog?
(Mournfully) Oh. He died.
I should know better. But what alternative is there? I can't keep up with everyone! And while these situations seem unavoidable, you still can't help but feel bad.
At the WigNSkit, I saw an affable, quiet British gentleman (and I do mean gentleman) who is the friend of some friends of mine. A genuinely nice man. His wife is a rowdy, sexy, firecracker of a woman who's frequently out of town a lot. She liked to slap my ass when she saw me. So of course I open my big mouth to inquire after her.
"Oh. We split up in September." He told me-gently.
Jeezus. I certainly stepped in it again.
I could only imagine the emotional pain that he'd been through. I saw images of him sobbing and listening to Frank Sinatra records, long nights desperately finding a way to comfort himself, weekends spent shut-in with only a bottle of Glenfiddich for company. And now, that he'd gone through this long, dark night of the soul and gotten himself together enough to smile and deal with a crowd who does he run into? Me. Damn.
I console myself over this in three ways. One-I think we were both pretty hammered by that point of the evening. Two-Ignorance is indeed, bliss. Three-Since he did not break down at the mere mention of her name, perhaps their separation may have been good for them both. He was kind enough to let me babble until I could change the subject, though it may have been the famed "still upper lip" the Brits used to be known for (pre-Ecstasy).
Still, just thinking about it makes me wince. However, I might be a little oversensitive.
Either way-I'm sorry dude.