July 30, 2008

I don't know...ARE we friends?

Once again, I am hiding out here at Feisty. I'm avoiding my own blog because I know who reads it. Ordinarily, I would sort of just not worry about it. I've always figured that they don't have to click over, and it is my blog afterall.

Lately, though, all that has changed. I'm thinking of mothballing the blog and starting another just to avoid one reader.


Read more in the extended entry.

I have this neighbor who is a friend. We aren't close, but we do socialize on a regular basis. At least, we used to. Nowadays? Not so much.

I am an opinionated person. I always have been - it is in my blood. Furthermore, I was taught to have an opinion by my father who felt it was poor citizenship not to have an opinion on current events and issues. What can I say? I was taught at the dinner table to have an opinion and to make an argument.

I know that I can be abrasive and that some people find my assertiveness...less than "refreshing" at times. But, I also know that I am never mean spirited when I am debating with someone. In fact, I long ago quit discussing politics and religion in social settings because I came across too much as a knowitall. I consider myself to be a work in progress, but I'm not going to start apologizing for who I am or being an independent thinker.

Anyway, my neighbor is a woman who is not what I would consider an independent thinker. Not that there is anything wrong with that (okay, maybe there is...), she's free to be who she wants to be. As it turns out, she is aware of my blog and a regular reader (she also reads Rosie O'Donnell's blog). And, while I am an independent with strong Conservative leanings, pro-freedom opinions, a free marketer, and staunchly on the side of taking the fight to the bad guys, she is...none of those things.

Understand that I live in one of the bluest states in the nation, in the suburbs of the bastion of liberalism: Madison, WI. She has grown up in this area her entire life and, quite naturally, it has framed her reference on every issue.

In years past, she has never been much involved, or even been concerned with politics. Again, her choice. I, on the other hand, began my political awakening when I wrote to President Ronald Reagan to seek redress over my situation at the age of 6 or 7 concerning the fact that I was been taxed without the benefit of representation. I have been aware of politics and written to members of Congress, worked on campaigns (albeit local ones), and been a rabble rouser ever since. Again, this is who I have always been.

As her political awakening has developed in the past year, she has leaned farther to the left, not more to the center. And, as though she's sharpening her sword for the real fight, she's taken to using me for practice. Unfortunately, she's not as good as she thinks she is (so far).

She's a huge fan of Obama. I am not. Really, really, really not. She doesn't vote in primaries, I never miss them. She considers 'The View' to be an important news outlet. This assertion makes me snort and is the type of thing that sends milk shooting out of my nose. I don't mean to bash on 'The View', I know lots of people watch it. I just don't consider it 'news', but then I don't watch Katie Couric either, so what do I know?

When Obama was still fighting for the nomination in the primaries, my neighbor started to engage me on politics. She wrote me a 40 word email that I responded to with nearly 3,000 words of my own well thought out opinions and concerns. She responded...by sending me a page from Obama's website.

She could spout the party line, but she couldn't support or even make an argument for or against. She tried again to engage me, but I refused to take the bait. Why? Because I had gone to the time of crafting a 15-point, detailed rebuttal to her message that she had responded to by copying and pasting from a digital billboard. It pissed me off!

If we are going to be adults and have a rational, logical discussion, let's do that. That was my issue. I simply don't have time to take her seriously if she isn't going to do the work too.

But it got sooooo much worse.

Naturally, my blog, my rules. Right? So, if I see or read something that I feel needs commentary, I do so. And recently, Obama has been getting a lot of attention from my blog. My neighbor? Did not like this. Not even a little bit. No sense of humor, no seeing the ironies, you get the gist? So, she starts making life hell for her husband and employees and our mutual friends. She's been beating the drum for Obama so loudly that people are making fun of her.

Now, that's her and not me, but I also suspect that she's been avoiding me. She's been exceptionally unavailable, refused all invitations I've extended, that sort of thing. I would take the tack of not giving a damn, but her husband is a friend of my husband...and he's not been available either. When I've asked mutual friends the cause of this I've been told that they suspect she doesn't think she would be able to keep the topic off of politics, Obama specifically, and is afraid to debate me in public.


But now I get the distinct impression that Obama-related blog posts are further fueling this alienation and making the lives of our other friends full of more Obama cheerleading on her part (thus making her the butt of more jokes).

That's why I feel like I can't post to my own blog.

I'm not sure our friendship will survive this. I'm sort of ambivalent at this point anyway; I don't really miss her. Her husband is missed by all. Moreover, I sort of feel like I've tried to extend the olive branch and been rebuffed. I really feel like this is on her now, but if that's true, why can't I post on my own site?

I'm not sure. But if you knew me, if you could see me, you'd realize how laughable it is that she's afraid of me. For heaven's sake, I'm like a female version of the Pillsbury dough boy, with brown curly hair. What's so scary about that? In her mind, do I puff up like the Stay-Puft Marshmallow man in Ghostbusters?

Am I that scary?

Posted by Phoenix at 08:51 AM | Comments (4)