A couple of years ago, when I was not much younger but way more naive, I spotted a good friend’s fiance out with another woman. He saw me, looked right at me, knew that I had seen him, then turned away. Clearly, this wasn’t an innocent situation. I was livid; I was now in the awkward position where no matter what I did, I would be wrong. If I kept my mouth shut, I would be complicit; if I told her, she’d be heart broken. Personally, I never bought into this guy, but she was crazy about him. He was a “good catch” in every sense of the word – handsome, bright, articulate, and ambitious. More importantly, she was finally “off the market” and looking forward to starting a family; when he produced the rock, she was ready to seal the deal.
And now this.
As I contemplated what to do, I tried to put myself in her shoes. Would I want to know if it were my fiance? Heck yeah. Would I be upset? Of course. Would I be grateful that I had dodged a bullet? Absolutely.
So I told her.
Let me stop here for a minute and state that I’d known this girl for quite some time; we were best friends since high school, and I had practically grown up in her house. I knew her parents, her sisters, her secrets; we were that close, so I didn’t feel like I was over stepping any “boundaries.” Her reaction was, uh…’not good’.
At first she was outraged. Was I sure it was him? What day was it? What time? Because he wasn’t in town that day/time. He has a brother, maybe it was his brother? No, I assured her. He saw me, I saw him. She couldn’t believe it; she thanked me. She cried, she ranted, she smoked, she drank. Then she left.
Three days later, she didn’t believe me. Not only did she not believe me, she accused me of being “jealous” of her relationship, of taking a perfectly innocent situation and turning it into an unfounded accusation. Unfounded? He was laughing, he was drinking, he was touching, and most of all, he was ignoring. If it really had been that innocent, why wouldn’t he have walked over when he realized I was staring right through him? No matter, I was lying. Her family turned on me. It was wrong of me to bring it up, her mother said; I was sabotaging her happiness. I was the bad guy.
She stayed with him, married him, and years later when we finally spoke again, she ‘cleared up’ the misunderstanding; he was there after all, but was doing a favor for a friend by taking the guy’s visiting sister out for a few drinks while his friend was stuck at work. And he didn’t see me, or else of course he would have made introductions. Of course.
I didn’t get it then, but I do now. My revelation had put my friend in an uncomfortable position. If she had acknowledged her fiance’s actions, she might have had to return to single life, to start her search anew, and of course, to have to admit that she had been wrong about him, none of which she was willing to do after having invested so much into the relationship. Plus, she would have to find another mate, and her clock was ticking, so that was out of the question. In order to preserve her fairy-tale, she had to throw me under the bus. There could be no witnesses. I had left her no choice.
This unfortunate memory is brought to you by: today’s headlines. Like Edward Snowden, I had nothing to gain by coming out with what I knew. I did it to help a friend, to save her from the world of pain that would surely be her future if I just allowed her to go “through the glass, darkly.” I was attempting to right a wrong, without realizing that she would rather ignore that wrong than to be forced to do something about it. Righting the wrong came at too high a price for her.
The NSA has a lot of splainin’ to do, and I don’t think we’ve heard the end of this; in fact, this is probably only the beginning. What if the “gathered data” is more than just phone numbers and times/dates? What if it includes names and content, emails and text messages? What if everything that you’ve ever said and messaged was recorded and held in some warehouse in Utah, just waiting for the day that…that what?
That is the billion dollar question, is it not? The NSA is has built a behemoth, a brand spanking new mega-data warehouse and yet, we have no idea why. Isn’t the “War on Terror” over? If so, what gives?
Turning on Edward Snowden is probably the most short-sighted thing the American public can do right now. He isn’t the bad guy, people; he’s the whistle blower. He’s the one looking out for you. If nothing untoward had been taking place, Snowden would have been happily living in Hawaii with his beautiful girlfriend, making six figures and enjoying fruity frozen cocktails with little umbrellas in them. In fact, he would have been there still had he not believed that the price of not righting the wrong was too high.
Was he wrong to think that we’d agree with him…?