Growing up with parents and other relatives who never really tried to bring anything other than conflict into each other's lives, I always automaticallyassumed that everybody else's circle of family and friends and such got along better. Living in a small town these past few years has brought more than a few challenges to that assumption, since most of John's and my friends seem to have segments of the community about whom they frequently have some less-than-pleasant things to say. John does it, too - after all, living in a place for 30 years produces those kind of relationships (and relationship breakdowns).
Last Saturday showed that "rule" and one of its numerous exceptions. The rule, in my estimation, was heading up to Spring Green with John for a graduation party for two of his nieces - one from eighth grade, one from high school. John's family always seemed like they got along... not robotically well, but well enough to ride some rough shit and still be able to be civil to each other, and anybody brought into the family. Friends and family all around, and (even though the food was real good this time) a good time was had by all who attended (It didn't hurt that there was a Cubs game on throughout, followed by a tape of a school play, "The Three-Piggy Opera," featuring the oldest of the Greenwood great-grandchildren as the Wolf.).
Contrast that with the Fire Department steak feed that evening back in Point. Things went well; we got our dinner and all. Some older lady came up to say hi to John; he said, "Hi, Gerda" and that would seem to have been nothing special. On the way back to the car, he told me who the woman was, and explained why he didn't want to introduce me (a cascade of personal beefs, some related to the theater group in town, some related to the woman's daughter and son-in-law; I only knew the son-in-law, and let's just say he doesn't think highly of John and me being a couple.). I asked him for some details (my inner gossip-hound!), and let's just say I got more than I asked for, as well as another excuse to ask John what it is about his circle of friends and their concentric circles that makes falling out with each other so damn easy.
I wonder what other rhetorical questions are still out there, just waiting for fools like me to act like they have real, concrete answers?