Sunday, October 16, 2005
I went out for coffee with a couple of friends to discuss a project we're involved with. Out of the three of us, mine is the age in the middle (not to be confused with middle aged). The elder (haha!) of our little group and I have spent pretty much our whole lives in this one small town, but separated by enough years to have few friends in common. The youngest in our group grew up in the Bronx and married a man whose family name graces every memorial in town dating back to the Civil War, and even a street name. She kept her own name, though folks around here thoughtlessly take it away from her fairly frequently.
It felt great to arrive at the coffee shop and sit down with my hot cocoa and two friends, yet there's this awkwardness that comes with being a party of three. We took a walk afterwards, and I rediscovered the lack of room a sidewalk offers for a triple breadth. As a teenager, I'd have had to juggle conversation topics in my head while jockeying for position, but as a grown-up, I discovered that this frantic social play is unnecessary. Somehow, we managed to move sort of amoeba-like, never leaving anyone behind for more than a few steps. Thank God for adulthood.
I don't know that I'd have dubbed the conversation 'awkward', but there were definitely moments that two were able to share better than three. For example, they are both Catholic, I am not. As such, they attend the same church and are involved in the same functions, which they took the opportunity to chat about while I was present. I didn't feel left out, but at the same time I didn't have much to offer to the conversation except an anecdote from when I was 8 and badly wanted to attend the mysterious "CCD" meetings because my friends did.
Having grown up in the same town as one of my companions, we got around to chatting about how things used to be - completely leaving our 5th year resident third at a loss for words when the conversation moved beyond her time. She was good enough to call our attention to this fact, but we blithely blathered on, ignoring her pleas of ignorance.
The best part about the outing was my self-imposed curfew. I arrived on time, and vowed to leave no more than two hours later. As much fun as we were having, we might have continued to chat for much longer, but that would set a precedent and influence future get-together planning. I figure, if we hang out for five hours (or some too-long period of time), the next time one of us calls the others to meet for coffee, we will be thinking, "Do I have time for a five hour commitment?" The way our lives go, the answer will more often than not be negative. So two hours, and that was that. Not too short, not overkill.
I think this is the kind of social life I can manage, instead of vice versa.
posted by hilary at 4:45 PM |
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