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There comes a moment when you’re ready to leave the bar. Yes, your parents always told you that nothing good happens after midnight. And they were right. The only things that happen between twelve and last call are that you spend exponentially more on drinks that you don’t really remember, Uber surge pricing kicks in, and your hangover goes from tolerable to terrible all because you went from getting eight hours of sleep to five.
But those aren’t the moments I’m talking about. I’m talking about those dreaded moments where you feel trapped. Where no matter what you’re doing or how well your night is going, you’re handcuffed. You could be with an old acquaintance, your girlfriend’s friend’s new boyfriend, or just a random guy who happened to have no one better to talk to than you. But next to the bar in between all the commotion, you stand there having the same conversation. Again. And again. And again.
And there’s an understanding between the both of you that you’d just as soon never have that conversation again.
“How’s work been going?”
You don’t care. I know you don’t care. You know how I know you don’t care? Because I don’t care. The reason we’re at this bar is because you and I both have some forgettin’ to do and the only way we’re going to do it is by attempting to talk over this shitty band while kicking back a couple overpriced whiskey-sodas. If I wanted to know the inner-workings of your company culture, I’d apply for a job there. And I’m going to assume you feel the same about me, especially considering the amount of times my girlfriend has told me, “Go on without me, all you’re going to do is talk about work.” Oh, which brings me to.
“Got any trips planned?”
Yeah, let’s see. I’ve got that wedding next weekend where we’ll have this same conversation, and then that gender reveal the weekend after where we’ll have this same conversation, and oh yeah, that other wedding the next weekend where we’ll have this conversation again. Let’s just cut the shit and be real with each other – the only reason we know one another is because we stumble upon each other every few weddings and give out a casual yet hesitant, “How’s it goin’, man? Great to see you,” only to do it again a month later. You know the story of my life just by lookin’ at me: I live my life wedding to wedding, shower to shower, and then God sprinkles in a bachelor party or golf outing just to make sure I don’t up and leave in the car that I’ll be paying off for the next three years when it will inevitably die. So yeah, I’m a real Carmen Sandi-fucking-ego.
“So how long have you been dating _______? When are you going to get engaged?”
Are you really going to harsh my mellow by asking me when I plan on dropping five figures on a piece of rock only so I can then go spend quadruple that on a wedding? I’m already having panic attacks about checking my bank account in the morning and now you want to know the inner-workings of my brain when it comes to me financially committing to my girlfriend? I get it – you’re probably looking forward to that open bar. Yeah, I overdid it at your wedding and I feel badly about that, but those tequila shots weren’t going to order themselves and I didn’t think it was that big of a deal to reach behind the bar and grab that bottle of Moet. And now I’m realizing you’re going to do double the damage at my wedding which I both respect and dread.
Oh, but to answer your question, I have no idea. I’m still trying to figure out who bought me this drink, man.
“How ’bout this weather we’re having?”
Defaulting to weather chatter is the equivalent of publicly acknowledging two things: that you don’t have anything better to talk about, and that you don’t want to be in the conversation in the workplace. Listen, we’re both wearing sweaters and button downs which means the temperature is probably somewhere between 50 and 65 degrees outside. And it’s the middle of autumn, which means we both know the weather is one of two variations – miserable or tolerable. There’s really no in between, so we’d be better off kicking each other in the crotch and never speaking again rather than partaking in the charade of discussing whether or not meteorologist Joe fucking Thunderstorm thinks there’s going to be rain next week. He has as much clue as you or I, which is none. But great seeing you, man. Glad we caught up. .