This is not the post I planned to write. I originally intended to write about my recent trip to California. About how I saw my favorite British Premier League soccer team, Arsenal, play in Los Angeles. About walking along the ocean at Venice Beach. About my sun-filled drive along the Pacific Coast Highway, and trip to the San Diego Zoo. About getting to spend time with friends I hadn’t seen in far too long. In fact, I completed two other drafts, but threw them both on the virtual bonfire.  

Instead, I find myself writing about how quickly things can change. About how misunderstandings can mushroom into confrontations, and how conversations typed will never be adequate supplement for face-to-face discussion.My trip to California was terrific. It went almost exactly as I planned. I originally thought I would spend more time in LA, and perhaps visit a theme park or two, but instead decided to drive down the coast, and take in the sights along the way.

I did, indeed, see Arsenal play, and got to meet many fellow fans from across the country. I did go to the San Diego Zoo, Stone Brewing, and several fantastic restaurants. Best of all, I did get to reconnect with friends in both cities. When I returned, however, I was quickly snapped back to reality, and I was not at all prepared.

I was confronted with the notion I had, in their words, “crossed a line” in an early draft of my intended blog post, in which I spoke of how much I enjoyed my visit, and getting to spend time with them. Sadly, my attempt to show gratitude had been misinterpreted as romantic interest, and they felt the need to remind me we are nothing more than friends.

While I had no delusions to the contrary, here is where I differ from many: I am more than willing to tell my friends I care for them. Over the years, I have lost far too many friends and loved ones to cancer, to drugs, to suicide, and to homicide. All of which has made me keenly aware that you never know if you are going to see someone tomorrow, so make sure to let them know you care. Today.  

Sadly, some take these expressions in the wrong way, especially when in written form – where inflection, and intent are easily misconstrued. Now, this is not to say I do not flirt, because I absolutely do. However, I do not like games, and therefore am not coy. If I am flirting, it is obvious and leaves no room for doubt. If I am interested in someone, they know it. Life is too short, and far too uncertain to be cryptic.

In a cruel twist of irony, just weeks prior to this misunderstanding, I attempted to leave all ambiguity aside, and made my feelings known to a woman in whom I was interested. While she didn’t “literally” run away, she did walk away at a very brisk pace. But, there was no doubt about my intentions and, though painful, the face to face conversation was far better than leaving open the chance of misunderstanding that could come from a text.

So, I will continue to attempt to be me, which means telling my friends just how much they mean to me. Telling them how much I care. And, yes, occasionally showing my gratitude via a gift of some sort. I don’t do holidays or birthdays, so I don’t wait for an arbitrary date on the calendar to give gifts. My loved ones are important to me, and I want them to know that, no matter the season.

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