We all have them – thing we can’t see about ourselves or others. People can usually spot them from the outside, but you are “blind”.
Until something happens – in this case it was a virus and a global pandemic.
Where do I start: I have an old friend, one I met on my first day at university. We are part of a group, mostly guys, and one woman – who have been in touch on and off since 1984/85. We all have studied engineering – and over the years have been working in different parts of the world, some have married, had children. When I think of this group I always think of them as close to my heart no matter where we live or how long we’ve been apart.
Every two years we meet, usually close to the place, where one of us lives.
This year the plans were made for Bavaria in October, close to Passau. So I’ve been checking the Covid data and risk areas for a while now, we all have done that.
Our friends in Copenhagen had to cancel first, because of their area being high risk and the needed quarantine in Germany.
My old friend living in Austria with his partner, in a high risk area (as German government sees it) mailed yesterday that they’d come.
This was the second mail, in one before his partner had asked whether we could find a workaround to some of the Corona rules. I told her then what I thought – and yesterday I told them again, what I think about people not caring about rules, when it’s about an infectious disease.
The strange thing is though, that he always followed rules to make a career, he never spoke up for other people – and I was (and still am) always the rebellious one. I remember another friend telling me once “I don’t get how you cope with his behaviour and his being an a**hole…”. I remember defending him because of his family situation. I did that often, defend him – and the one time, about 20 years ago, when I told him how he had hurt me, he just stopped talking. Didn’t reply for the next 5 – 6 years.
Now I told him and his partner how disappointed I am and don’t they care about the group, the risk of infection? Don’t they think the rules are there for a reason?
Guess what I got: a reply , very eloquently written, telling me that he doesn’t care what I think, how he thinks the numbers are wrong and how he found a regulation for people commuting from his place to Bavaria, that he is willing to use. He doesn’t commute there, he doesn’t work there, he has no relatives over there, so the rule doesn’t apply – but he thinks it’s within his rights. He calls it a “grey” zone. And he was mocking me and my arguments.
My first thought was “what a pompous a**hole”- and for the first time in over 30 years I could see him clearly and how he played me with his story. How he always came running when one of guys had said something direct or asked a honest question, always whining.
So, it’s been quite a day, discovering a good friend is an egocentric a**hole. I realize this is a very personal story, but maybe it resonates. I just had to get it out.
P.S. I cancelled my room in Bavaria, I won’t travel – and I am not the only one.
P.P.S. Of course I have my own story and yes, I see the world differently. If friends are not allowed to be honest, especially during a global crisis, I guess they aren’t really friends.
I can’t be friends with someone – especially right now – who puts his “rights” higher than the well being of others, who tells me it’s all about him. Now is a time for solidarity and working on solutions. If not now, when?