One of the occupational hazards of reading mystery novels is that one fancies oneself a bit of a detective. If one likes puzzles and problems and mysteries, and I sure do , then one tends to see the loose threads of one’s own life as the material for mysteries to solve, and that is certainly the case for me. In addition, sometimes in the effort to solve a mystery one finds other mysteries that are worthy of solving as well, as the scope of problems typically grows when one digs at them, just as loose threads tend to get longer and fray the fabric that they come from until the piece of fabric comes undone. Today, I would like to comment at least a little bit on a mystery that confronted me today, and how I chose to deal with it, as it is the sort of thing that other people may find happening in their lives in the contemporary age.
Late this morning, as I was taking a break from some reading, I looked at my phone to see that a close friend and distant relative of mine had sent me some messages last night, asking what I had thought about the 80th anniversary celebration our congregation had yesterday (my feelings, as is usual about such things, are mixed and complicated), and if I was going to write a personal blog about it (I did). When I went to reply, I found that my reply did not go through. Suspecting what had happened, I tried to click on the friend’s name and found that I could not go to the profile any longer, which reminded me that I had been blocked. As this has happened to me before, what was left to me was a mystery. How was it that a close friend of mine, during the course of the night, without any sort of signal of being unhappy, had blocked me. All I had were the questions asked, which were fairly normal questions and which invited a response, and a cryptic final statement: “i dont know i was drunk,” which did not appear to be written by my friend, but by someone else.
In solving a mystery like this, it is best to operate two feedback loops simultaneously. In one of them, one tries to use one’s imagination and intuition and knowledge of the situation to best understand what is going on, and then one seeks to communicate with the person in question to resolve the difficulty through direct conversation. The second loop I tried to deal with quickly by leaving a text message and waiting for a reply. The first loop took a bit more time, as I pondered that the person whose account it was probably was not upset at me at all. It is possible that there had been an accident, but it was more possible that someone else in the family had been into the account and had caused some mischief. The enigmatic last statement suggested the person involved may have been telling the truth that they were drunk, but there was likely more going on than simply drinking. There was clearly some malice in the mood. Although I am not someone who drinks often, I have never found myself behaving in any way I did not want to do on some level after drinking, merely lacking my customary (and perhaps excessive) sense of restraint while doing so. I judged this to be the case here also.
By mid-afternoon, the first part of the mystery had been solved. I had received an e-mail from the close friend, had instructed her on how to unblock me (something that some other people could probably use a lesson on), and had heard the story at least as it was known by her. There was a prime suspect in case who had indeed been drinking. There had been some destructive wrestling between him and another relative that had led to injuries, and no one who had been there last night while we were all still at the 80th anniversary celebration was willing to spill any details, suggesting the story was something that no one was particularly proud of. And with that the mystery remains, for now. The question remains as to whether any other parts of the mystery will be solved–much of which would depend on someone willing to spill their guts about what was said or done by the various people who were there–two or three people at least. It is also unsure what sort of repercussions will happen–after all, the lure of alcohol and the tendency to behave improperly under its influence are definitely problematic behaviors at least. But that is not a mystery for me to solve.
 See, for example: