Tag Archives: Friends

Andre and his extra Mets ticket

I was on the Internet the other day, when I saw on my Facebook news feed that my old friend Andre put up a status update: “I have an extra ticket to the Mets game tonight. Hit me up if u wanna come!” And I haven’t seen Andre in close to a year. We’d been really old friends, but all of our recent interactions had this way of self-destructing. I was actually a little surprised that we were still even Facebook friends.


But I figured, why not? So I sent him a message and said, “Hey man, I’d love to go to the game with you!” and I waited. He didn’t get back to me that day, or the next couple of days after that either. I tried not to think about it, but I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t driving me a little crazy. Because, come on, why are you going to put something like that out on Facebook? Obviously none of your close friends are interested, and so now you’re just kind of reaching out, all of your second and third tier friends. And if I’m really honest here, I wouldn’t even consider myself a third-tier friend. But still, I’m on some tier, and I responded.

Game day arrived, and I still hadn’t heard from him, and I really shouldn’t have done anything, like, I know, the better grown-up adult part of me knows that I should have just left it alone. But I couldn’t, and so I sent Andre a follow-up message. I wrote, “OK, well, I guess you don’t want to go to the Mets game with me. Thanks for getting back to me.”

And he wrote back within an hour, “Hey, yeah, I’m going with Cliff, sorry.” That was it, no hello, no how’s it going, nothing about how we haven’t talked in over a year, how it would’ve been nice to catch up. And whatever, you don’t want to spend a whole game with me? That’s fine, I get it. Yeah, maybe three or four hours together would have been a little much. But he could’ve at least responded, maybe put out an offer to grab a drink and catch up some time. You don’t even have to follow through with actually getting together. But you just put it out there, it’s nice.

OK, Cliff’s going, fine Again, I tried to get it out of my head, but the way in which he ignored me, how I had to go fishing for that response. And then the way he just wrote me off, the nope, sorry. Oh yeah, what a sincere apology. I’m really glad that you’re sorry. Why do you put something like that on Facebook anyway? You really think I care about going to a Mets game? Why didn’t you just send a text to Cliff in the first place?

And then I really couldn’t stop thinking about it. I wondered, who responded to that Facebook message first, me or Cliff? And so I tried to pull up Andre’s profile, but it wasn’t popping up. Did he unfriend me? Because he was on my news feed just a few days ago. I was getting a little obsessed over this, but at least I acknowledged that I was getting obsessed, and so I didn’t feel as bad searching my news feed, going through every single post for the past week. As long as I was aware that I was acting kind of crazy, I didn’t mind so much.

And yeah, finally I found it, the original post. It wasn’t actually Andre’s post that had popped up, it was one of my other friends, Steve. The way Facebook displayed it, I guess I can see my own confusion now. It showed me, “Steve commented on a post,” as if Steve’s comment on Andre’s post was worthy enough news to be displayed on my news feed as a standalone story. Steve wrote, “Oh man, I’m busy, but we should catch up soon!” And then, even though I clearly wasn’t Facebook friends with Andre, for whatever reason I could see all of those comments to that post, maybe because I was still friends with Steve or something, I don’t know.

“Definitely! Hope all is well by you!” Andre posted underneath Steve’s message. And down the line it went, lots of people responding in the negative, Andre replying with a friendly acknowledgment, he clicked the like button next to each response. And there was my comment, finally, all alone, unliked, unacknowledged. A day after mine, Cliff wrote, “Yeah, sounds good, I’m in.”

So whatever, again, I don’t even care anymore. I mean, that’s not true, I’m obviously still pretty keyed up over being ignored, but what am I going to do, right? It’s just, I was trying to be the bigger person here, which sounds like bullshit, right? Because I was going to be the one getting the free ticket. But it wasn’t about the ticket. I just thought it would have been cool to rekindle an old friendship. But that’s fine, you want to be a jerk about it Andre? I don’t care. You be the smaller person. I’m not getting involved anymore than I already have.

Windsurfing Groupon

I bought a Groupon a few months ago, it was for these windsurfing lessons, four hours two times a week for two months for five hundred bucks. I was having lunch with my friend Frank when I saw the deal and I asked him, “Hey Frank, doesn’t that sound cool?” I and I was really just saying it to say it. But Frank lit up, his reaction was immediate and enthusiastic. “That looks fucking awesome,” he told me. “I would totally be down to do that.”


And like I said, when I saw the windsurfing package, there wasn’t really any active part of my mind that thought, yes, this is what I want to do, I need to go windsurfing. The only reason that I showed Frank the offer in the first place was because we’d been hanging out for like half an hour, and conversation wasn’t really happening, to the point where we were already lost in our cell phones.

Then when I showed it to him, I’m not even exaggerating, he was all about that Groupon. “Let’s do this!” he looked me right in the eye and I couldn’t help but feel excited. “Really?” I just wanted to double check, and he was like, “Totally!”

The Groupon expired in twenty minutes, and I showed him, I said, “So should I do it? That’s cool? Five hundred bucks?” and he said, “Absolutely, I’ll get you the cash tomorrow.” And I hit the button, purchase. I received a confirmation email right away.

And we sat there for the rest of however long we hung out for and talked all about how cool it was going to be, learning how to windsurf. We wondered what kind of gear we’d need, and so we spent a little time searching online windsurfing forums, learning the very basics about windsurfing, like what to expect our first time out, stuff like that. At one point, he even showed me some windsurfing equipment that he’d found on eBay. He was like, “Yeah man, after the two months are up, we should totally go in on all of the equipment together.” And this guy’s whole everything, his attitude, his smile, it was infectious, I was like, “Yeah! We totally should!”

And then the next day Frank texted me, he was like, “Hey Rob, I actually just took a look at my work schedule, and I don’t think I’m going to be able to make that windsurfing thing happen. But you’ll be able to find someone else, I’m sure of it. That was such a great deal!”

Of course I was pissed off, eventually. At first I was just really confused, and then very disappointed. Because, and it’s really hard for me to admit this, seeing as how everything went wrong so quickly, but I couldn’t even go to sleep that night. I was so excited, just laying there in my bed, thinking about what a great bonding experience this was going to be for us, how from now on, anytime we were bored, we could just head to the beach and start flying across the surf. I even did a bunch of research into storage spots near the water, how much it would cost for us to keep all of our gear and equipment at a location right by the shore.

“Dude, I already paid for this package,” I texted him back, and like five hours later, he sent me a response, saying, “Yeah man, and I’m telling you, you’re going to have trouble picking who you want to take advantage of this unbelievable offer with you!” And for a minute anyway, it’s like he had this way of giving me a mini enthusiasm boost via text message. Yeah, I thought to myself, this is still going to be awesome. “And I can basically teach you everything that I learn at the lessons, so we can still go in on all of that equipment together if you want.” And the next day I got his reply, he typed back, “That’s sounds like something to think about!”

I started calling my friends, trying to sell them on the windsurfing package, but the responses were all nearly identical: “Windsurfing? I don’t know I’m not a strong swimmer. Wait, five hundred bucks total or each? I don’t know, that’s a lot of money. Can I get back to you? All right, I mean, I don’t think so. Maybe, but I don’t think so. Put me down as a maybe. As a tentative maybe.”

It’s like, for whatever reason, I couldn’t capture even a fraction of whatever it was that Frank had that got me so excited about windsurfing in the first place. In fact, the more I tried to recruit someone else, the less it sounded like something that I’d be even remotely interested in. No, I didn’t want to go to the beach twice a week for two months. That’s like way too big of a commitment. And don’t I have a vacation planned between now and then? What about getting out of work on time? Why didn’t I think of any of this before I clicked “purchase?”

I got in touch with Groupon corporate and they were like, sorry man, a Groupon’s a Groupon. I called up Frank but his cell phone kept going straight to voicemail. I was leaving all of these text messages, stuff like, “Man, I can’t get anybody. You need to help me out here.” And he’d respond back like every other day or so, “OK, OK, I’ll figure something out.”

And then, yeah, the day before the first session, he totally figured something out. “Here’s your five hundred bucks,” he showed me when he stopped by my house. “For real?” I said. “Who’d you sell it to?”
“My friend Pete,” he told me. And that was a huge relief. I don’t know why he couldn’t have been a little more straightforward with me, but whatever, I was off the hook, it felt great, like a huge knot had been untangled in my gut.

Only, I was checking my Instagram earlier today, and Frank put up like twelve photos of him and Pete windsurfing. Man, it was like a windsurfing commercial. “Windsurfing is so much fun!” was one of the captions. Another one said, “I think I’ve fallen in love … with windsurfing!”

And yeah, maybe I’m being a little petty, but was it me? Do I not seem like the kind of guy who would be cool to learn windsurfing with, for sixteen two-hour sessions? I sent him a text later that night, “What happened with the windsurfing?” I asked him, “I thought you said you couldn’t make it?” And he texted me back right away, “My plans changed, windsurfing is awesome! You gotta sign up! I’ve never felt more alive!”

And so, I really want to try it. There’s this awesome deal on Living Social right now, it’s three hundred bucks, but you get unlimited windsurfing lessons for two weeks. I could move my vacation days around and work something out. Does anybody want to do it with me? Because Pete and Frank are doing it and it looks so cool. Wouldn’t it be great to be in like a four man windsurfing group of friends? Think about it. Let me know, ASAP.

My friends and I went to Atlantic City

My friends and I all went to Atlantic City a few weeks ago, and after dinner, we were hanging out at this one hotel, at night, they turn the whole pool area into this giant outdoor club. So it was pretty cool, it was early, but not too early, just early enough that there was still enough room to walk around, get a drink without having to elbow anybody out of the way.


Anyway, I planned this whole prank out way in advance. I told my buddy Steve, I said, “OK, so we’re going to throw Kenny in the pool. Cool?” And Steve’s always down for a dumb prank like that, always. In fact, I was doing everybody a favor by actually putting some thought into this. Because if things progressed naturally, Steve would have inevitably had one too many drinks, and he would have just gone for it, I’m telling you, somebody would have been thrown in that pool.

Which, don’t get me wrong, it’s a great joke, a classic. But you have to think about cell phones. Which sucks, because before cell phones, if there was a pool, it was just assumed that someone was getting knocked in. But everybody has an eight hundred dollar computer in their pocket now, it’s not cool. So I took Steve to the side and I said, “Great, so I want you to wait until Kenny is kind of close to the edge of the pool, and then I want you to kneel behind him and try to take his cell phone out of his pocket.”

“Well what if he catches me going for it?”

“Look, I’m going to distract him. I’m going to ask him to hold my drink or something, or I’ll be handing him a drink. So he won’t notice. And even if he does notice, he won’t have any hands to do anything about it. And if he makes a move, just yank it out, all right? Because that’s when I’m going to push him.”

And Steve loved it, he was like, “Ha! That’s awesome!”

But Steve didn’t know that this was only one layer to my plan. Because my real goal was to get Steve in that pool. Remember what I said before? About Steve always doing something stupid like that? Yeah, well I wanted to give him a taste of his own medicine. And so did Kenny. And Phil. Phil got pushed in last summer. It was a mess, he had his phone in his pocket. As soon as he got out, there was a big fight over who was buying him a new phone. And this is totally crazy, but Steve, that lucky bastard, he went on some sort of a gambling tear that night. Nobody knows exactly how he did it, but he made back the money, the eight hundred, enough to buy him a new phone.

But there was definitely a lot of bad blood, especially from Phil, so he was in on this too. His job was to, right after dinner, switch Steve’s phone with this old broken iPhone I had lying around the house. That way, when Steve wound up going in the pool, he’d pull this phone out, he wouldn’t know it wasn’t the phone from his pocket, and we could watch and laugh as he freaked out, we’d say stuff like, “Don’t worry about it man, just do what you did last year, go win yourself a new phone, you’ll be good.”

So it was all set up, Steve was kneeling behind Kenny, right by the edge of the pool, and that’s when Phil came out of nowhere and kicked Steve in, hard. Only, Steve had his hand in Kenny’s pocket, and, I don’t even know how he managed to hold on, but he did, and he pulled Kenny in with him.

“Shit,” I said to Phil, because that wasn’t part of the plan. “You switched the phones though, right?”

“Fuck no,” said Phil. He wasn’t smiling. “Seriously, let him win his own phone back this year. I fucking hate Steve.”

Yeah, this definitely wasn’t going according to plan. Then two security guards came out of nowhere.

“All right guys, everybody out.”

And that sucked too, because they didn’t kick us out last year. And now here we were, everybody stuck outside the club, none of the cabs would take us back to the hotel because Kenny and Steve were soaking wet.

Kenny pulled me aside and said, “Dude, give me Steve’s good phone. Let him take the broken one.”

“Man, Phil never made the switch.”

“What switch?” That was Steve, he heard everything because Kenny was talking way too loud.

More words were exchanged. Phil and Steve almost got into a fistfight. We got back to the hotel and Steve went straight to the casino to try and win back another phone. Phil was completely belligerent and disappeared, like we didn’t see him for the rest of the weekend. Meanwhile, Kenny just kind of stood there looking at me, “So what, I’m out of a phone?”

And yeah, I felt bad. This wasn’t at all how it was supposed to go down. But couldn’t we just win the money back? I mean, Steve did it last year, it’s not impossible, right?

“How much money do have on you?” I asked Kenny.

“I don’t know, like, two? Two fifty?”

“Perfect, me too. All right, so we’ll just double it, right away, five hundred on red at a roulette table. Come on that’s enough right? And with my old broken phone, that’s got to be, what, I don’t know, fifty bucks? What’s that web site that buys broken phones?”

“You think it’s worth fifty bucks?”

“Yeah, there’s a huge secondary market for parts overseas …”

I’ll fast-forward a little bit. We got the cash. We put it on red. And it landed on one of the two greens. So they didn’t take all of the money, but they took half. I told Kenny, “Do it again, there’s no way that happens twice.”

And no, it didn’t happen again, it landed on black this time.

“Black,” the roulette lady said.


“Sir, please refrain from cursing on the floor,” That was the pit boss.

I was like, “Are you guys kidding me? Why’d you all get so strict this year?”

And that was it. I told Kenny I’d give him some money, but I don’t have eight hundred bucks, and so I guess I’ll just give him like fifty bucks every week for a while, I don’t know, I don’t think it’s fair that I have to pay for the whole eight hundred, I mean, he was in on it too, and so was Phil. But nobody’s heard from Phil. Nobody’s really heard from anybody. That was like three weeks ago and nobody’s really talked at all, not except Kenny and me, and that’s strictly business, nothing but cell phone stuff. Man, I’m thinking the whole trip was a bust, I don’t know, I don’t really see how any of us moves forward from here. So that sucks, and even if we do wind up hanging out again, I definitely doubt anybody’s going to be down for AC again next year.


I was at this trivia night at a bar by my place a few nights ago, and one of the questions was, “Agoraphobia is the fear of what?” And I knew it, I’ve heard this trivia question a thousand times before. I told my friends, “I got this,” as I snatched the answer card from the middle of the table, and I started writing right away, “Fear of open spaces.”


And my friend Bill objected, “Rob, you can’t just write stuff in without consulting the group.” But I knew it, OK, “Bill, I one hundred percent know the answer to this question, all right? It’s agoraphobia. It’s a fear of open spaces. It’s the opposite of claustrophobia. OK?”

“OK Rob, that’s fine, but it’d still be cool if you could just talk it out with the rest of the group before you just grab the pad, OK?”

And I said, “Bill, do you have a better answer? Do you have a different definition for agoraphobia?” And he didn’t. So that was that.

Only, when they were reading the answers back, the announcer said, “Agoraphobia is: the fear of leaving your house.” And I said to my table, “Do you think she’ll count our answer?” Because, yeah, it was kind of the same answer. They were worded totally differently. But if you think about it, right, claustrophobia is that fear of being cooped up, right, and so if you want to be cooped up, like if you like hanging out inside, that’s the opposite. You’re going to be agoraphobic.

So I waited until the end of that round and I went up to the quizmaster, she was busy putting everybody’s scores into the computer, but I just needed her attention for a second. “Hey, quizmaster, remember that agoraphobia question from before? Did you accept our answer? Fear of open spaces?”

And she looked up at me and was like, “Agora-what? Huh?”

“Yeah, from before, agoraphobia.”

And she put down what she was doing and clicked a few times on the computer screen before reading something out loud, word for word, “Agoraphobia is the fear of leaving your house.” Even the intonation was identical, she repeated it exactly like she said it the first time.

“Right, I remember the answer. But we wrote fear of open spaces. Which is kind of like a similar way of saying what you said, right? Because trust me, I know this answer.”

“Look man, I have to go by what’s on the computer, OK, so, I probably didn’t give you guys credit for agoraphobia. Sorry dude.”

And I took out my phone, because while she was busy butchering the answers to well known questions, I just had to double check, on the Internet. I found some Google search and I was like, “Look, just take a look here …”

“Dude, I just have to go by the computer, all right? And seriously, no cell phones during trivia night, OK, that’s not cool, I could disqualify you.”

And so, whatever, she wasn’t budging. Of course I felt like she was on a power trip, I mean, give me a trivia mic and I’d probably be just as ruthless. But this wasn’t fair. And when I got back to the table, Bill made sure to position the pen and pad like totally across the table from where I was sitting.

We were in a six-way tie for third place for most of the next two rounds, and everyone kept giving me the stink-eye, making sure to remind me that we could have been in a five-way tie for second. “Are you one hundred percent sure?” Chris said, mocking my self-assuredness from before, every time I pitched an answer to the rest of the team.

It was useless. Even if nobody knew the following answers, they’d never give any of my wildcard guesses a shot. Whatever, there was a music round later in the night, and we only got like two or three answers, so even if we had scored that agoraphobia, it wouldn’t have done us much good.

“Besides,” I kept badgering Bill on the way out the door, “Did you have a better answer for agoraphobia? Did any of you?” And nobody answered. Because nobody did.

And then when I went home, I went on my computer to really get a full-screen definition of agoraphobia. And this one web site said, “It’s not the opposite of claustrophobia. It’s a fear of any situation in which there is no escape.”

Which, that includes an open space right? Come on, I remember so clearly studying for the SATs, agoraphobia, the fear of open spaces. Where is all this stuff about anxiety and panic attacks coming from? Isn’t that just like a fear of everything? And even if that’s the case, don’t open spaces also fall into that category of everything?

I’m just saying, man, agoraphobia, if they’re going to run a trivia night, I’m not saying the quizmaster needs to know everything, but just a general familiarity with basic stuff, that would be nice. Doesn’t that seem like a quizmaster prerequisite? Right?

Classic Phil

I had a party at my house a few weeks ago, and I’ve always hated the idea of excluding anybody, so I kind of cast a wide net in terms of invites. It was too wide, I know it, I hate having to do stuff like this, but it’s either invite everybody or don’t have a party at all. Because the last thing I want is for someone’s status update or shared photo to ruin it for someone else, that, sorry, I had a party and I didn’t invite you.


And am I really being cool about it? Looking back, I don’t think I’ve ever been cool about it at all. I kind of spread the word in advance to the people that I would have invited had I allowed myself a more exclusive get-together, and then like two or three days before, I put out a general announcement to everybody at work, friends on Facebook.

All I’m really doing is reaching for the bottom, right, like who else is not only not going to have any plans on such short notice? I feel like a jerk even laying it out like that, but that’s exactly what it is, all right, people with nothing else to do, just waiting for a last minute sympathy invite.

The party was on a Saturday, I sent out my mass invite on a Thursday. Friday morning this guy Phil at work sends me an email, “Hey Rob, what should I bring?” And what do you mean what should you bring? You ever been to a party before? Just bring some beer, a bottle of wine, I don’t know, a bag of chips. This isn’t high tea here.

But what do I say? “Don’t bring anything.” Because what are you really supposed to say? You tell people not to bring something. You kind of hope that they bring a little extra booze or some snacks. Not Jell-O. OK, that’s just weird. That’s what Phil brought. He brought some weird molded Jell-O thing, like something straight out of a sixties cookbook, a big, green ring with stuff floating around in it.

“Hey man, I made some dessert,” and he was smiling, like I was trying to get a read on him. Was this some sort of a joke, like a gag gift? But I swear, I couldn’t tell, and while a part of me really wanted to laugh and be like, “Ha, that’s hilarious,” I just really wasn’t that convinced that this Jell-O thing wasn’t anything less than a hundred percent sincere.

I was right in the middle of laying out all of the snacks, pouring this giant bag of tortilla chips that I had bought at Costco into a big plastic bowl. I had all of this party stuff spread out around me. And it wasn’t because I wasn’t ready yet, OK, it was because Phil showed up exactly at eight o’clock.

Like was he walking around the block? Just waiting for the clock to strike eight so he could knock on my door? Nobody else was here yet, and I was clearly still setting up, but he has this thing in my face, it wasn’t even wrapped, like I don’t understand how he got it all the way from his place to my place, was he just sitting on the subway with the Jell-O on his lap, breathing on it? It’s too much.

And I get it, OK, like I can be socially awkward sometimes, I have that same tendency to overthink everything. And yeah, when I get invited to a party, I’m totally stressed out about what time I’m supposed to show up, right, but I’m not the guy walking around the block wasting time so I can show up at just the right second, OK, I’m the guy walking around the block waiting for just the right time to make an entrance that looks natural, like I’m not obsessing about how many people have arrived before me, or if I’m too late.

OK, so I understand. But this guy is like me but with absolutely no inhibitions. Just, it’s eight o’clock, ding-dong, here’s your Jell-O. Maybe it was a joke. “Ha, that’s funny,” I did say it, hoping he’d laugh back, because come on dude, I’ve never seen a dessert like that in real life, and maybe it’s really tasty and everything, but nobody’s going to eat that. And tell me you had it wrapped up, please, tell me you ditched the wrapping outside, something, because I can’t get over the exposed jiggly surface, like somebody two seats down from you on the subway sneezes, it just seems like a giant germ magnet.

“What’s so funny?” and what do I say to that? “Nothing,” I said, “Just something I was thinking about from earlier, something funny happened.” And he was like, “What happened?” and I wanted to be like, Phil, come on dude, just help me out a little here, OK, just stop with the follow up questions, just put down the Jell-O man, come on dude, just let me finish setting up here.

“Where do you want me to put this Jell-O?”

“I don’t know man, anywhere’s fine. Just grab yourself a drink, OK, just hang out while I finish getting ready.”

And I’m telling you, that fucking Jell-O was like the hit of the party, I don’t even know where that cake slicer thing came from, because I definitely don’t have a cake slicer, like Phil must have brought it, OK, he must have had that thing in his back pocket. But everybody had like cake slices of Jell-O, I wanted to give out a warning, like, “Jesus, Chris, don’t eat that Jell-O,” and Chris was like, “Why? This Jell-O is awesome. Classic Phil.”

What was I not getting? “You’ve had this before?”

“Yeah man, Phil brings it to all the parties, that’s like his thing.”

And I was just thinking, how come I’ve never been to any parties with Phil before? Like I don’t care, OK, it’s not like I have to be invited to everything, OK, I know that not everybody does the whole blanket invite thing like I do. But not once? How many parties are people having that Phil’s invited to and I’m not? Because I would have noticed that, OK, I’m telling you I would have noticed a green fucking Jell-O ring cake with pieces of canned pineapple floating around in it.