Friendships have a lot in common with a marriage. You are drawn to another person because, among other reasons, you like the same things, or he\she make you laugh, or because he is able to secure a reservation at the most popular restaurant in town.
But then an important issue arises about which you and your friend adamantly disagree. And suddenly your relationship is fodder for The Ladies Home Journal: Can This Marriage be Saved?”
Of course I’m referring to the current presidential election. I can’t recall a campaign that was this provocative or where emotions ran so high as to pose a threat to the very foundation of book clubs, canasta games, or rounds of golf.
Six days and counting, and I continue to eat my way out of Florida. More good-bye dinners with friends we will not see for six months. So what if my clothes have gotten tighter? I am more than compensated by the fact that the non-use of my stove and dishwasher is a great energy-saver.
“Where would you like to go?” is the inevitable question preceding the appointments. The familiar response: “We’re easy; you choose.” By now I know better than to be seduced by this seemingly agreeable remark. It is never easy. Twenty-five to thirty texts and emails later we finally agree on a place. With all the effort that was exerted, we could have negotiated peace in the Middle East.
Why is all of this sounding vaguely familiar? Because four years ago, in 2012, I wrote on the same topic. I’ve decided to republish it. Considering that we are now four years older, I trust I can count on most of you to not remember!
I am frequently confronted by a situation that would appear to be a statistical improbability but is nevertheless true.
My husband and I are out for the evening. Our destination is of little importance. We could be on line to purchase movie tickets, or waiting for our table in a restaurant. Or even preparing to board the first flight to Mars. It doesn’t matter. Invariably he will run into a guy he knows from high school.
What makes this so astonishing is that his high school class had all of 106 students, while my class had about 900. And yet, I bump into nobody.
Is there an official start date for one’s second childhood? I don’t mean the one that accompanies the onset of dotage, but a time of life when you no longer feel silly about releasing your inner pre-adolescent? I urgently need to know, because it’s already June and I’m thinking about enrolling in summer camp.
I never went to summer camp, and I’m tired of being left out! “Left out of what?” you might ask. Left out of all the screeching and squealing that occurs when we are out to dinner with friends, and three out of four (that’s me who’s excluded) discover that they all went to Camp Gitche Gumee or Maka Laka or some other fictitious Native American tribe.
Then they start reminiscing about the lake, and the counselors, and visiting day, and the food, and how they learned to water ski. All that nostalgia about Color War and gathering around the camp fire. If I’m really lucky, I’m treated to a chorus of the good old camp song.
Do you remember when dining out with friends was nothing more than an enjoyable way to spend an evening? When choosing a restaurant depended only on the type of food you preferred to eat that night, and where your table was located may have been a preference, but not necessarily a deal-breaker? When noise level was not a major consideration, and every few sentences of conversation was not interrupted by someone on the other side of the table saying “What?” When the waiter did not have to repeat the specials three times, and then move around the table, and recite them three times again? When your biggest problem was finding a baby sitter?
Those were the good old days before dinner with friends became a negotiation.
The process still begins with a phone call to make the date. Your friend suggests trying the new Italian restaurant, “Cosi Fan Tutti.” “Hold on,” you say. You check with your husband. He wants to know if it is going to be one of those loud places. You ask your friend. She doesn’t know; she hasn’t yet been there. You tell him she doesn’t know. Next question: are the waiters real Italians? Your friend asks what difference does that make? He says, if it’s noisy, and they have accents, forget about it!
The 2011 holiday season has been over for approximately a month now, and even the slowest among us has probably put away the last celebratory vestiges. Christmas lights and tree decorations have been replaced in their cotton-lined cartons, safely stowed away for another year. Dried out evergreens have been carted away by the garbage trucks and the fallen pine needles swept into the trash bins. Wrapping paper and ribbon that wasn’t decimated by greedy hands has been put into drawers to be recycled for future gift-giving. The last of the sour egg nog has long since been poured down the drain, and the dreaded fruit cake pulverized in the waste disposal. Mothers and daughters take to the malls in droves, January sale-shopping being the best antidote for post-yule depression.