The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up Friendships

The gripping conclusion to the “things you learn when you travel with others” saga (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4).

3 years later, I have scaled back my meetings with this half-shitty group of friends to roughly once/year, and have probably seen them only twice since that enlightening wedding weekend in the summer of 2015.

The first time was a few months after the 2016 election when Leela was somehow surprised that a) Blair and her husband had voted for Trump, and b) they had voted for him not due to economic anxiety but because they believed he was a successful businessman who was going to fix the country from “going down the shitter.” And that was discussed after Travel Ban 1.0 went into effect, which had caused chaos in airports, legal permanent residents and US citizens alike being detained and their belongings searched, including a NASA scientist and Muhammad Ali’s son. But hey! If it doesn’t affect you personally, everything is going just swimmingly.

The last time we got together was in the fall and my sister was going through cancer treatments, but Leela really wanted me to come. Upon arriving at the restaurant chosen by Marcy [as usual], I discovered that in order to secure a reservation for a group, Marcy had committed to a set menu that she had chosen and which was heavy on gluten-free food and meats for her and very light on vegetarian food for me. Since we split the bill, I ended up spending $140 on salad, a couple slices of margarita pizza and wine while the others took home leftover GF calamari, meatballs and meat ragu pasta.

A few weeks ago, Cody sent out an e-mail wanting to schedule the next get-together. Marcy immediately chimed in that she wanted Mexican food. Leela now lives in Woodstock full-time and is working hard to launch her jewelry business, so she is not the most flush. With that in mind but not wanting to spell it out, I suggested leaving the restaurant pick to her since she is the one visiting from out of town and might want to visit one of her old haunts. A few days passed with no response, so Marcy followed up asking who was making the reservation

[The following is edited lightly for brevity and clarity]


From: Me
Sent: Wednesday, April 25, 2018 2:11 PM
To: Blair, Marcy, Cody, Leela
Subject: I think you all know what time it is…

I had suggested Leela pick but of course she doesn’t have to. I just went to Urbanspace near Grand Central — it has a bunch of different kinds of foods to pick from [including Mexican ☺], like a fun food court with beer, wine and cocktails:


From: Blair
Sent: Wednesday, April 25, 2018 2:21 pM
To: Me, Marcy, Cody, Leela

If I have a say, I’d prefer not to eat in a food court, it’s too much like stopping with my kids in the mall…#adultime!

Honestly, that’s exactly how I expected Blair would respond but I still figured I would suggest it anyway since the food ranges from $5 tacos to fancier stuff like lobster rolls with gluten-free and veggie options, so we could each get whatever we wanted. But I knew it was a long shot.


From: Marcy
Sent: Wednesday, April 25, 2018 2:22 pM
To: Me, Blair, Cody, Leela

Who goes to a food court for a group dinner?! No service and zero level of intimacy. I cant handle this.

Marcy: never not on brand.


From: Me
Sent: Wednesday, April 25, 2018 2:25 PM
To: Marcy, Blair, Cody, Leela
Um, I do? It’s fun and low-key. But interesting response, thanks.


From: Marcy
Sent: Wednesday, April 25, 2018 2:31 PM
To: Me, Blair, Cody, Leela

I will do what the group wants. Sorry been a busy day and that was a little bit of a rude response! I’ve actually never been, so cant really judge 😊

At which point I muted the conversation thread.

What am I to do at this point but to screenshot this exchange and send to various friends? The consensus appears to be:

And Leela texted me separately:

In addition to these precious human specimens, I have recently jettisoned some additional dead weight in the form of a college friend who has always been abrasive, but has taken it to the next level since Trump’s election. He now feels entitled to tell anyone who disagrees with him even slightly how wrong they are and that everything is the fault of “free market capitalism,” even Venezuela. I am really not going to miss any of these people; my blood pressure and sleep habits are already thanking me.

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