I’ve not been inspired to write in the last few days so there’s some catching up to do.  That’s not to say I haven’t tried.  I tried to write about the theatre stage, I’ve tried to write about the garden and the wonderful six old disabled guys from the big house who turned up on Saturday to help but nothing has really hit the spot.  Until now.

You may have read the blog I did about friendship a few weeks ago.  It’s not there anymore because things have moved on a bit and I thought I would write about that today. 

There were two people whose actions or inactivity had caused me to question the nature of friendship.  The action which left me most upset was by a guy who I had helped out by running him to see a car which he wanted to buy.  I actually did the journey twice and had told him how much the petrol would cost.  He then, quite consciously, gave me a fiver less.  At the time I was so flabbergasted that I didn’t say anything but let the situation seeth and grow inside me until I was bursting with anger about it.  I told a few people and I blogged about it. That made me feel a lot better.  I still felt though that I needed to tell him what had happened.

So I emailed him.  Here’s what I said:

I know you have been trying to contact me and I think you are owed an explanation as to why I haven't responded.

The truth is that last time we were together you upset me and I feel I am past it enough now to tell you why.  

When I took you the two journeys to see and then buy the car I told you the cost of the petrol would be £60.  I then rethought it as I had miscalculated because of the difference between the cost of diesel and petrol.  I worked out the new amount as £50 and told you that on the phone.  You had given me £15 on the first journey which left £35 left.  I didn't ask for the money until right at the last moment on our journey to Queensberry.  I wonder whether you would have offered it without my asking, but anyway I did ask and you gave me only £30.  You made a comment about the shortfall, but it certainly wasn't any kind of promise to pay the extra £5 at some future time. You have not mentioned it since so my conclusion is that you didn't and don't think it matters.  

I am curious as to what made you decide to only give me £30.  Had you thought about it previously when I had told you the amount on the phone and did you think that £35 was too much?  Did you think I was ripping you off? (I wasn't - 77 miles, four ways = 308 miles, 40 miles to the gallon, 5 litres to the gallon £1.30 a litre = £50.05) Or was it a spur of the moment thing because you didn't have enough on you at the time?  Even so you never mentioned it.  If that was the reason then I wouldn't have minded.  I would have said something like "Ok well you can pay me when you can afford it."  But that really wasn't it I don't think.  You just didn't and don't think it was important, and that's what has upset me.  Don't get me wrong, I don't want to know what you were thinking.  I'm saying these things only so they may help you think about it and maybe you can take care in similar situations in future.

A few last things about all this.  

I know it's not a lot of money.  It's only £5.00.  In my summer season it probably wouldn't have mattered so much.  I think I would still have felt the same way because of course, it's the principle. It's worse at this moment because at this point in my life is that a fiver meant a lot.  I am currently living (or trying to live) on £30 a week, so that fiver is the dogs’ food for almost a week.

You knew how poor I am.  I told you about it on several occasions, so I was even more amazed that you could think it wouldn't matter to me.

I would never have done the same to you.  In fact, if you remember, I gave you more money than we had agreed for the recent project.

So for all these reasons, plus the somewhat fragile psychological state I have been in recently, that fiver, or rather the lack of it, as you can tell, has really upset me.

I'm not sure what all this means really, other than I felt you needed an explanation.  

I had a reply almost immediately with an apology and the beginning of an explanation which I wasn’t expecting.  He said he had a mean streak and that it had always been a handicap.  He has since emailed me again and said that he has begun to think more and more about what I said and is trying to change this aspect of himself.

I am so glad I wrote that email, as he has learned something from the experience and I am sure it will lead to a closer and more real friendship between us. And I’ve learned something from the experience too.

So the moral?  Don’t bottle up what you are feeling.  Loosen the stiff upper lip and say it, even if it’s difficult to say.  It’s what friends are for.

Something has also happened to ease the other worry I had regarding friendship with the other person I blogged about and that also involves speaking out and being straight, this time with me the one being told!  Painful but useful!  So all’s well that ends well.

All the best from a road near you,

Mr Alexander
Mr Alexander