Well, this is awkward. The very next day after experiencing a bout of social unpreparedness, I had the exact opposite happen. I was absolutely locked in and ready to interact with other humans — greetings rehearsed, pants on, fly zipped, psychotic ramblings muted to a bare minimum — and whoosh, my social calendar was whisked clean like a magician yanking the cloth off a dinner table. And now here I am with this stupid naked table and a useless place setting and fully zipped pants, and the snooty waiter won’t even acknowledge my metaphorically-speaking existence. Here’s how it happened:
I recently reconnected with two old friends that I hadn’t seen in a while — a guy I used to work with a few years ago, and a girl who used to also tell jokes in many of the same dingy shitholes I frequented during my standup days. It was pure coincidence that I touched base with both of them in quick succession; they were friends from completely separate activities — and degrees of soberness — and so far as I know, never met each other. It was then a supreme coincidence that we scheduled to meet up on the very same day — with him at one of our old lunch haunts, and with her for drinks at one of the aforementioned dingy shitholes. That day was today. Hence the pants, and the careful fly zippage.
I was quite excited to see both these pals again. Because… er, well. The guy and I used to scribble gibberish on the walls together in our old office, and the girl once cast me as a perpetually stinky character who’s brutally suffocated to death in a short film she was producing.
So we’re… um, you know, tight. Or something.
(Hey, given my usual level of social interactions, that practically makes these people godparents to my children.
If I were ever going to have children. Which I’m not. Because that’d just be fricking more people on the planet I’d have to deal with. No, thanks.)
“We’d traded emails, chatting about the usual stuff — abdominal injuries, elephant genitalia, shrink-rayed tiny little pickles.”
Anyway, I was all gussied up and ready to reminisce about old times with these folks. We’d traded emails, chatting about the usual stuff — abdominal injuries, elephant genitalia, shrink-rayed tiny little pickles. But seeing them in person was going to be a real hoot.
(Seeing the people in person, that is. Not the topics of conversation. I don’t need to see any of those things up close, ever. I don’t care how zipped my pants are.)
So just as I’m getting ready to head out for lunch, I get a phone call. It’s the guy, and he’s not feeling well and can’t make it, after all. Bummer.
Ten minutes later — as if they’d conspired to kick me in the miniature pickles while I’m down — I get an email from the girl. Also sick. Unable to get out, and could I take a dingy shithole rain check? Well, meh.
As the coincidences piled up and humped each other in a corner, I was left with no lunch or evening plans whatsoever. Now, I’ll go easy on the two people involved. They’re not feeling well, obviously — and there’s a chance that one of them could read this — so I’ll simply hope that they get better and that we can catch up as planned soon.
(I won’t spend any space here conjecturing about what sort of
STDs health conditions each of them may have. Or whether they gave them to each other.
Because that would be wrong.)
In the meantime, I’ll double-check my deodorant and go over the emails we traded. I don’t remember saying anything inflammatory to either of them — though I suppose if I sent the tiny pickle reference to the pachyderm wang one, and vice versa… hoo boy. I suppose that would cause a bit of a stir. But I don’t think that happened. I’m pretty good at keeping my ridiculous topics and the proper recipients in order.
(I can’t balance a checkbook or remember where I park the car at the grocery store, but this I can do. Talk about your ‘non-marketable skills’.)
The message I’m taking from all of this — as usual — is that there’s simply no way to win here. Be socially unprepared, and the world parties around you — whether you really want them to or not. Gird your social loins for action, and you’ll wind up with an empty dance card, no action, and loins all girded up for nothing.
But at least your pants will be zipped. If you’re lucky. I guess that’s something.