God a message from a Old Friend yesterday. The following is a very extended edition of what I said to him in response to "We should hang out."
Yes, hanging out would be fun, but it probably won't work. It's not like I have no desire to see Old Friends, they're fun and fantastic people. Sometimes, like when you run into each other at a bar, seeing Old Friends is full of drunken glory and giggly stories, while a montage of your escapades together flashes through your head.
But then there's the "we should meet for lunch or something it would be great to see you (insert an exclamation point at the end to prove the excitement that this person feels when thinking about seeing you)."
I should mention: "we should meet for lunch or something" actually means, "I want to find out if you have any gossip about mutual acquaintances but I'm not willing to fork over my night time."
Lunch meetings. Pah. They're all adultish, with awkward hugging and single units of alcohol, and nobody smokes cigarettes anymore, and I can't wear lazy pants and a sweatshirt, and then there's the, "it's so good to see you" and "what've you been up to?" The whole thing is just obnoxious.
Especially the "what've you been up to?" To every single question they could possibly ask me about whether or not my life is moving in a socially-accepted successful manner, my answer is no.
"No, I am not married/pregnant/seeing anyone new/starting a thriving career/continuing my education/living in an interesting apartment/condo/house that does not include my parents." And then I see them flash some feeling, either triumph or empathy, and I set out to change their feelings by claiming I'm a seasoned traveler or something else that makes me seem worldly, and not an unambitious slacker.
Then there's the whole "So who do you still talk to from highschool/work/college?" And you get to go through the list. You have your list, they have theirs. The best thing about this, however, is that you can go back and tell your friends about it later, and talk about how Whatshisname and Whatsherface are finally getting married, and if you saw it coming and believe they fit together perfectly, or if you think the Whatsit relationship is doomed to failure, which is most likely your outlook ("It'll never last.")
And then lunch is over, and you invite the Old Friend to a birthday party or some other event on a Friday night where more Old Friends will be gathering. Then the day of the event, you'll call up the Old Friend and remind them. And O.F. will be all, "Oh my god, I totally forgot, I am so sorry, I have other plans," and perhaps they'll continue to elaborate on those plans, which are most likely a dinner with parents or a movie with Friends From Home or something, and then they'll add, "but it shouldn't be too late, so I'll call you if I can make it."
You both know this is not going to happen.
Perhaps you even add, "Yeah, otherwise I'll call and tell you where we're at, so you can maybe meet us there."
This, of course, will not happen either.
Both of you will agree that this plan is excellent, and then you will uncomfortably make up some excuse as to why you must hang up the phone. Neither of you will call that night, and then all day on Saturday you'll both feel mildly guilty about forgetting to contact the other. Then several days later one of you will send the other a text message, and perhaps you'll do lunch, and then the entire vicious cycle will just start all over again.