Some high school friends and I have been trying to meet up for quite a while. It would seem like no big deal to make a date with old friends, right? Wrong.
I’m telling you right now, it would totally require less communication to try to broker peace in the middle east. This is not a rag on my friends (in case my peeps are reading….clarification to follow—stay with me and put the scanner with the Aqua Net photos from high school DOWN!)
Even though we mostly all live within an hour and a half radius of each other, the last time we all managed to meet for lunch, George Bush was still President—and I swear we’ve been trying to get together again ever since.
You know what happens—you finally get together and get your high school on— or whatever the crowd may be really— and the last thing you say, very sincerely, as you part ways is, “It is RIDICULOUS how long it’s been. It was so great to see you. We have to do it again and not wait so long next time!” Kiss, kiss, hug, hug, and boom—-there you are a year later with nothin’!
Everyone is busy these days, no question about it. You throw kids and activities and sports and jobs and husbands and travel schedules into the mix and its one hot scheduling mess. This isn’t a problem reserved just for my (formerly) peg leg posse. Although we all have much better hair and pants now (THANK GOD), I’m not sure we’ve ever been busier.
See, it all starts out innocently enough….we all have a genuine desire to get together. Problem is, when a half dozen moms try to make plans with their friends, it takes 47 emails back and forth to each other on where to meet, when to meet, what time to meet, what to wear and if it’s with kids or no kids.
When dads make plans with their friends, one email goes out…the one the original guy sent throwing out a date and a place, and one email back from each guy saying if they can make it that day or not. Period. The end.
It’s just assumed if they can make it, then the time and place are fine. No one writes back to say, “My friend’s sister JUST went there and said the service was terrible! Should we pick a different place?”
And kids? What kids? None of the guys even wonder if kids are invited. They just assume they’ll just leave them at home with mom.
And if everyone can’t go that day, then what-ever, only those who can go, go, and they figure they’ll catch up the next go around with whoever can’t make it. There are no alternate dates thrown back and forth and no deep regret and guilt if someone can’t go. If a guy can’t make it, he just says, “Sorry dude, I can’t make it,” or “that date doesn’t work for me”. And what he means by that is….”Sorry dude, I can’t make it.”
What he doesn’t say?
“Well I really can’t make it if it’s at noon. See, my cousin’s son is visiting from Oshkoshbagosh that day—he has a soccer tournament down in Rhode Island—their team is undefeated— and he’s supposed to come up afterward for a short visit—maybe lunch but I’m not sure. He might be gone by early afternoon though, which would mean I could go IF we could meet after 4. But if it’s before like 4, I don’t think I can make it. Do you think we could meet after 4? After 4 would work—wait—oh wait a minute…yeah, after 4 would work as long as it’s not more than an hour away. If it’s more than an hour away though, then I really can’t make it because I’d need to be back to put Muffy Junior to bed.”
This is a guaranteed mine field for the organizer/original emailer. Because if you send out a subsequent email about how Muffy can make it only if it’s after 4, but only if it’s not more than an hour away, you need to calculate how far away the meeting spot is from Muffy’s AND you have others emailing you back saying they can’t meet that late because they have a church/Boy Scouts/piano practice/barium enema “thing”.
And that? That’s when the whole damn tete a tete starts to unravel and you realize you might never see these people until the next administration or maybe….gasp….ever.
Usually at that point all communication breaks down because now there are more questions than answers about where, when and even if this ‘thing’ is still on! Which…starts a whole other litany of emails…..and at some point you have to play the heavy and just pick a date, a time, and a place based on the majority and hope something sticks.
Because even if you do manage to beat the odds and firm up a date, place and time, it’s guaranteed that someone won’t be able to come at the last minute because her husband is sick, her kid is sick, her husband ends up having to work, she ends up having to work/walk in a Brownie parade/broker a peace treaty.
Perhaps if I get this lunch scheduled with perfect attendance, I should ring up Madame Secretary at the White House and offer my services?