Monday, January 25, 2010

Dumped by the Lunch Crowd

I'm in with the in crowd;
I go where the in crowd goes.
I'm in with the in crowd;
And I know what the in crowd knows
From "The 'In' Crowd" (Billy Page)

My little town blues
Are melting away
I'm gonna make a brand new start of it
In old New York.
From "New York New York" (Kander and Ebb 1980)

Lunch Attendees
A hundred years ago when I lived in Melbourne, I was a member of a lunch crowd. Actually "lunch mob" might be a better name for it. As in "mob mentality" ...

This was a select group - apparently. I say this because almost inevitably, when a lunch was planned, one of the crowd would NOT be invited. "Let's have lunch but don't tell X. She'll only want to come too and after all not ALL of us HAVE to go to EVERY lunch," one of them would whisper. I used to wonder why the whisper. Obviously the "X" in question was not within hearing distance. But then again, I USED to always think that I was never the "X". That I was ALWAYS invited.

It has only now occurred to me that how would I KNOW? The thing about being an "X" is that you don't know about the lunch that you are not invited to.

It took me a some time to acclimate to the machinations of the Lunch Crowd. This was because I was not an original member, not one of the Founding Mothers. I'd spent a lot of the time - ten years - living in the country-side with the man-who-doesn't-believe-in washing-machines. And as everyone knows, if you don't believe in washing machines you are unlikely to believe in lunches at restaurants. In any case, the Lunch Crowd didn't DO country. I became a member of the Lunch Crowd when I settled in Melbourne as a grown-up, after my children were school-age.

How this came about I do not know; I just sort of morphed from being a normal person into being a fully-fledged member of the Lunch Crowd.

I'd completely forgotten about the Lunch Crowd. I'd forgotten about its neuroses, its co-dependencies. Its enabling. In fact in light of these disfunctionalities, I doubt that the Lunch Crowd could have been launched in the 21st century. Back in the late eighties co-dependencies and enabling were unknown forces, or perhaps known only to a few psychologists who no doubt were ahead of their time. I doubt even those trendies knew about "disfunctionalities" though. Seeing as I just invented the word ...

I'd forgotten how hard it was - remembering WHICH lunch had been held without WHICH person knowing about it. "Was it the lunch held at the Universitas Café in April that 'X' wasn't asked to? Better not mention it today," I'd think as I drove to the lunch of the day. And because of this tension, this worry about putting one's foot in it, lunches were edgy nerve-racking sorts of affairs.

Yep, I'd forgotten - until yesterday. Yesterday it was ME who was dumped from the lunch! Actually it was a coffee thing, not a lunch, but the same rules apply when the LUNCH CROWD is involved. How could this happen? How can one be dumped from a coffee thing when living 12,000 miles from the coffee shop?

The answer my friend is, "easily". Easy that is, when LUNCH CROWD makes the rules.

It started innocently enough. I thought I'd phone a Melbourne friend, let's call her 'S', to whom I'd recently sent my Obama photo, for her Australian Labor Party fundraiser. She'd promised she'd email me when it arrived but I hadn't put much faith in her promise (see, I haven't forgotten everything). I had however forgotten that she was a member of the LUNCH CROWD. Not surprising since I'd forgotten(should that read REPRESSED?) the very existence of the LUNCH CROWD.

"Yeah," she told me, "it arrived last week." I was about to ask how she was and have a bit of chat when she said, "Gotta go. Am having coffee with Y and Z in Carlton. It starts in twenty minutes and I have to shower first." So I said goodbye and hung up.

Then I thought, "Oh I'll phone Y," as I'd sort of gotten into a chatting mood and had been unable to satisfy my chat quota. I phoned Y's home phone. No answer. So I phoned Z. Z chatted a bit and then she said there was going to be a coffee with S and Y. "I think I'll phone up and it'll be like I'm there, like the old days," I commented. "Great," Z said, and I asked what time. "In an hour," she answered. This should have started the warning bells, but it didn't. Twenty minutes. One hour. LUNCH CROWD ...

I said it would be too late to call as it would be midnight in New York. "I might call Y now, on her cell phone," I mumbled. We talked a bit more and I thought "yep, I'll call Y."

And I did.

She answered her cell phone with an abrupt annoyed-sounding, "Oh YOU! Well I can't talk now I'm in a HURRY!" Clunk.

Huh? I was bemused. And then I realized. The penny dropped. I was the "X". The "Uninvited". I was dumped.

Uninvited when you can't even attend! Coming so suddenly, and hard upon the heels of the being dumped by a man from a relationship thirty years after we separated (Breaking Up Is Hard To Do), it was all getting too much.

Looks like I'm no longer needed or wanted by my friends in old Melbourne town. I am now a dumpee!

Well I'm not going to be an enabler-dumpee. No co-dependencies here! No way José!

I'll cut the ribbon and move on. And hey, I'm in New York.

King of the Hill.
A-Number-One.
Top of the list!!!

1 comment:

Boggy said...

Hmm. Y'know, that wimmen behaviour is the pits. I've seen it all my married life and I hate it. My lady is the most sensitive person I know and when she used to get that treatment (and you all do unless you're very ugly or boring) it would really piss me off.
But as we age we say, "WTF" and let it slide off the back. I think she's got the Salinger attitude at last. "Who wants to be around that many people anyhow, even on the 'phone."

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