Sunday, February 17, 2019
But you got to have friends
Bette Midler's "Friends," in this particular context, has been running through my mind. The Last of Sheila is one very twisted movie. A group of friends/coworkers take a weekend pleasure cruise that reveals just how contemptuous, vindictive and perhaps even murderous they can be. Bette sings over the closing credits.
I think I may have behaved badly with my own friends on Friday night. Or maybe I was right to be annoyed because they are annoying. Certainly I love them. But maybe it was the group dynamic. Maybe I'm a bitch. But I would have preferred Friday night not happened.
Mindy and Alan. John and me. We get together for Christmas/Hanukkah every year. We begin planning it in October. This year it didn't actually happen until February 15. That's three months of, "Oh? Did I say that date? We'll be in Florida." and "I have to reschedule." Etc., etc. It's frustrating. Here's how my life works: I have a calendar; I check it before I commit to something; then I write it down; if something else comes up, I say "no." I believe this is the way people have been planning their schedules since the Middle Ages. More than three months of back and forth is exhausting.
We finally had a restaurant chosen: Boston Blackie's. Convenient to the train for Mindy and Alan. Literally across the street from John's office. A bit of a trek for me, but I don't care. Good burgers. Good sandwiches. Casual atmosphere.
So hurray! We finally have a date and a place we all agree on! Except we didn't.
Day of -- just hours before -- John changes his mind about Blackie's. They don't take reservations, and it's Friday after work. "Millennials" are loud when they get together on Fridays after work. Mindy recommends Rivers, a bistro in the same neighborhood that takes reservations. Rivers is a lifestyle away from Blackie's. It caters to the pre- and apres-opera crowd. Plans were changed. Without me.
I had a doctor's appointment on Friday when the emails were flying back and forth. I didn't think I needed to check my phone because, well, planning since October. Date and place chosen. Why would it change now?
Because it's Mindy and John, that's why.
Mindy works from home. She could slip into a lovely pair of slacks, black blouse and bright pashmina before leaving for Rivers. I was already downtown. At work. Dressed for Blackie's. Old Navy fleece and jeans and heavy boots with treads. I also had cash in my wallet for Blackie's, not Rivers, where everything is ala carte.
Oh, well. Fuck it. I didn't even respond to the emails. I just showed up at Rivers.
Where John was at the bar already. Rivers was virtually empty, but they wouldn't seat us until we were all there. I hate places like this.
Then John starts freaking out about the prices on the menu. He just had lunch at 2:30! He didn't want to pay these prices for dinner!
At this point, I really hated him. First of all, he knew we were meeting for dinner tonight somewhere. Why wait until 2:30 to eat lunch? And he was the one behind the venue change because he decided he hates Millennials. You know what Millennials do really well? They check menus before making a reservation.
Mindy and Alan showed up. None of the three of them like the menu. Everything is "too heavy," "too much." See comment above. At this point, I am trying not to scream.
John asks the waitress if he can order off the bar menu. She graciously acquiesces. I don't know what difference it made, though, since John barely touched his plate and asked her to package everything to go.
Mindy hates Facebook. Alan hates his job. John hates noise ... and Millennials. No matter who or what we talked about, John asked the age of the person at the center.
I was telling a happy story about a new coworker. She's a Senior Vice President, but because of open seating she doesn't have an office and ended up next to me. She's been wonderful to me, helping me with advice and acting like a guardian angel. My point: I thought I'd hate open seating (and I kinda do), but isn't it great that it brought Trisha into my life?
John: How old is she?
Me: I don't know. 45? I really don't know.
John: How old does she look?
Me: I don't know. I guessed 45 because she has seven year old twins and when she told me her sons were seven, she said, 'You were expecting me to say 17, weren't you?' So ...
Mindy: So she had fertility problems? Do you think she had IVF?
Me: I didn't ask.
Mindy: I wonder where she had her fertility treatments.
Me: She just moved to Chicago and ...
John: So she could be in her 50s.
Oh, for fuck's sake! Shoot me now!
While I didn't say that out loud, I know I was snappish all night because I couldn't stand them. My dear friends, I really couldn't stand them. I'd only had one drink, but though it was strong, I wish I'd had more.
When the bill came, Mindy and Alan paid it. Which was gracious, and I was grateful. But even that annoyed me because I ordered the cheapest thing on the menu because that was all the cash I had. I am trying not to dream of the jumbo crab cakes and remember that at least the pasta/chicken dish was free.
I would have been happier home alone watching TCM.
And I love these people! Sometimes I think I'm no longer fit for polite society.