Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Not What Friends Do

There's an old saying about dancing with the one who brought you. It recognizes an obligation in social settings which can be extended to other situations. If someone brings you to the dance, it is your obligation to dance with them at least a few times. It's not exclusive. But it is part of the social contract.

There's another side to that social obligation. If you take someone to the dance, especially if it's a long ways, you don't just dump them there and say, "Sorry, this wasn't the romantic night I had in mind. Find your own way home. But hey, we can still be friends, right?"

Bullshit! Unless your personal safety is an issue, your obligation is to take that person home again or at least personally see to it that a safe ride is provided. Things do happen. But friends don't strand friends. It's just one in a long string of things people don't do to each other in any kind of a civilized society. You'd think adults would recognize that, especially after being old enough to raise a family of their own. Heck, it should come with the teen-age driver's license.

So why am I ranting about this? Brenda decided that the on-again off-again relationship with Rich should be downgraded to a friendship - again. The timing was after she hauled him and his gear to a gig at the state fair, and just before it closed. And of course I got to be the one to pick him up after teardown at 2AM, meaning getting to bed at 4AM on a night where I needed to drive 425 miles the next day.

Yes, for safety's sake I did catch a nap earlier and shut off the alarm for the morning. Also managed an extra cup of coffee and went to bed about an hour earlier last night. Plus, Rich reimbursed me.  None of that is the point.

The point is that there are social obligations in this world. When one gives another person a ride, one takes on the obligation to see the whole trip through. Not following through on such obligations is anything between rude and inconvenient to downright dangerous. None of the consequences is anything that someone who is wanting to be an actual friend would wish on a friend. None of those is what a friend would deliberately do to a friend. If Brenda actually comes to her senses, irrespective of any future relationship between them, she not only owes Rich an apology, she owes me one as well.

And I will have to decide whether I can accept it or not. After all, this wasn't just silliness or carelessness. This is about a character flaw.

No comments: