So a week or so ago, before I achieved my superhero like powers, I was out with one of my closest friends.
Of course, being a bloke, I don't actually have close friends - blokes don't talk about stuff like emotions and feelings and issues: we talk about sport. Sport was invented so that men would have something to talk about to each other, rather than just sit there in stony silence until it was time to go home: I truly believe this.
Which is why it's such a shame that I have no interest in sport - but there you go.
Anyway - we shall call my friend Dino, for reasons that will go unexplained. We could equally call him anything, i guess - but that was the first name that came to mind - so, Dino it is.
So - me and Dino were out in our "usual" - and the fact that we now have a "usual" is a clear sign that we are getting on a bit, mentally if not physically. Only old men talk about going to the "usual" - but nonetheless: we have a "usual"
The "usual" is an old-man's pub as it happens. The kind of place where three generations of the same family have been drinking, where the music is quiet enough so you can actually have a conversation without having to use a megaphone. A few years ago we might have wondered from place to place a bit, but we like it here now: it's busy enough to be interesting, without being crowded: there's a good mix of people who leave you alone, the bar staff are always friendly (but not too friendly) and you can have a conversation - something that is important when you only see each other once a month or so.
We go through the usual questions about work: complaints mainly about how our geniuses have, as yet, failed to be recognised by appropriate renumeration - and then I get a text.
The text is from a girl that we both know. See - I met Dino through work about 16 years ago now and he was the sole recipient of the Funniest Thing I Will Ever Say In My Life (sad that it was only one person who got to hear it, but there you go) when we both shared an over-warm office in what must surely be a special corner of hell reserved for those with no ambition.
We will call the girl Daffy (having started on the cartoon thing) - and the text was to say that she was out with Bugs (ok - maybe I'm stretching the cartoon thing here now), another girl that we both worked with.
Back In The Day the four of us would go out after work some nights, trail around the bars and clubs and return in the wee tiny hours. Most of the time, as I lived some distance away, I was Designated Driver and Registered Sober Person.
But since I left the company 7-8 years ago now I have barely seen Daffy and Bugs.
Daffy is out with Bugs - and they want to know if I'm free to meet up at the end of February. This is somewhat unexepected, but I text back and say maybe, should be yeah
And that's when it comes: what I was expecting in the first place. A) they want to know if Dino is available and B) they want to go clubbing - to somewhere that plays the sort of stuff we used to listen to Back In The Day (i didn't even know the harpsichord was still about, to be honest, but there you go)
And immidiately I'm annoyed, again. Because it's like this every single time. Whenever we get together, for whatever reason: they always seem to want to make it some big reunion thing. It has to be the four of us together, or none at all.
And it annoys me because Daffy and Bugs already see each other on a regular basis, they already do the things they are suggesting to do. It's been 12-18 months since I've seen either of them: what I want to do when I do see them is have a chance to talk: to catch up on their lives - get to know them again: not to try and re-capture my youth. Those days are gone, and quite frankly its for the best
Also - being out with Daffy and Bugs together is somewhat difficult - they immediately go into girlie mode and it's almost like you are just there in the background, hanging onto the tail ends of their evening.
I don't understand why it is so impossible for me to just meet up with Daffy, or Bugs, for a coffee and a chat from time to time. If they want to meet up with Dino they can do that as well - but it seems that the four of us together is the deal breaker and that my company alone is never sufficient for them.
I wouldn't be saying any of this if Dino didn't feel the same way: I think we both feel that we've grown up since those days and neither of us feels any desire to try and recapture our youths.
To be honest I never really enjoyed the club scene that much: I never quite knew where to put myself and how to start conversations: the thought of hanging out with people XXX years younger than me in a nightclub sends shivers down my spine.
It's not too much to ask is it, to just have a normal friendship with both, where one, or the other, of us meets up for a chat? You can never go back