Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Week in Review XV – “TopTier Friends”

The Week in Review XV – “Top Tier Friends”

I pass judgment on perfect strangers on the way to work. It’s uncalled-for, unreasonable and unmerited really, but it’s a necessary part of my heat-distraction-mantra. OK, who am I kidding? I do this year-round, but at the moment it goes something like this: “it’s not that hot… it’s not that hot… hi – have you SEEN your hair ... it’s not that hot… it’s not that hot…. oooh, buddy – only gay men can wear jorts and look good in them - désolé… it’s not that hot… that guy’s suit is tailored far too well for him to be single – or heterosexual – too bad… it’s not that hot… it’s not that hot …” oh come on – skinny b*tch in jeans is clearly on drugs to be in denim and not be affected by this heat…” and so on.

Anyhow, it doesn’t work, because by the time you arrive at the subway even your sunglasses feel like a constricting, heat-radiating nuisance. And I’m a glasses-on-on-the-subway kind of gal… obviously so that I can stare directly at the strangers on my car in closer quarters and continue to pass judgment. I also think about what it would be like if something terrible were to happen and I was forced to spend the last minutes of life with these freaks on the uptown R train at 10:00, errr, 8:50am on a random Tuesday morning. That’s a bit morbid though.

You know how sometimes you do Sunday morning brunch with your friends and it turns a little too boozy for your own good? (Read: You know how 75% of the time you do brunch with friends you continue drinking until you eventually self-destruct, black out and kick-off the work week feeling like you’ve been run over by an uptown R train full of sweaty strangers lacking sartorial direction?) It was one particular weekend brunch a couple months back that I found myself locked in the back of a molester van in Chinatown with two fellow A-listers while they bargained with a Chinese immigrant over fake, quilted Chanel bags. Ahh, the American dream.

It always starts innocently enough. That day we’d met at the Plaza fountain to run the 6-mile loop in the park. The very hint of exercise made us ravenous. After we finished that landmark triumph in athleticism, we walked over to Sarabeth’s on Central Park South and asked them if we were presentable enough to dine at their establishment so long as we sat outside. It only takes one person to order that first drink at brunch to get everyone else to join in. To her credit, P-Pants also ordered an entire pot of coffee. A few hours later, it became apparent (to us anyhow) that we needed to head downtown to see the latest illegal productions of high-end rip offs, sad as they may be. And why not? None of us had been to Chinatown in years, so it was really a sort of cultural exploration too.

Twenty minutes on a downtown C-train later and we’re in the thick of it, still in sweaty running clothes and still buzzed. This calls for a quick stop at everybody’s favorite mall pizza chain restaurant, Sbarro, to pick up a surprisingly good selection of beers to brown bag for our journey through bags on the black market. When all was said and done, though there wasn’t enough time for Bed, Bath & Beyond, it was actually a pretty nice little Saturday. We saw at least five people get arrested, bought Chanel from the back of a windowless molester van, snagged a few necklaces that broke immediately upon returning home, and got a fake “I’m not a Plastic Bag” bag for $25, when the 3000 authentic Anya Hindmarch ones sold at $15/each as a special promotion to encourage hugging trees.

So, I’ve been rambling on about this to illustrate the point is that there are certain things you only do with top tier friends. It’s that small inner-circle that’s part of the larger circle who you can count on for an immediate and resounding “yes, I’m in” to whatever it is you suggest. They’re the ones you think of first when someone offers you 4 tickets in a suite to see Bon Jovi in his mecca… Jersey. They’re the ones who cause the biggest disappointment should they not be able to attend said Jerseyfest, leaving you to feel lost and let down like it’ll be the hardest thing in the whole world to find someone else to go with you to see these living legends of rock play live while you’re being spoon fed free food and drinks. Only a top tier friend would steal beer from a mentally challenged cashier at the grocery store in Hampton Bays to cheer you up on your birthday when you’re in the middle of a stage-5-breakdown-anxiety-attack, convinced you’re getting fired from your job you love. Not that it really happened, or that Doobie was the one who would have done it if it ever had happened. To her theoretical defense, she told the cashier the beer was free and he just believed her.

I’m convinced no one actually likes all of their friends, so I’m hesitant to believe that everyone doesn’t have some A-team- All- Stars that they favor. Now, it may be difficult to pick them out as we get older and continue to meet new friends. Right now, for example, Facebook tells me I have 588 friends, but I am pretty sure I don’t know 75% of them. I think it might be easiest to break friends down into categories and carve out the top tier from there. The way I see it, you can generalize into about 3 categories of friends:

  1. The ones you grew up with. Whoever you grew up with that you still talk to… they are your top tier friends in this category and probably always held that spot. For me, they did. For some, they may be the only friends in this category. Actually, some ppl might not have this as an applicable category anymore.
  2. The ones you went to college with. Now, it goes without saying that we all have fond memories with these crazy f**kers, but the gold star friends from this group are the ones you still talk to constantly, who haven’t gone batsh*t crazy after leaving the comfort of the judgmental group en masse. They left the nest and learned how fly, whereas some of the others left the nest, took a wrong turn and ended up in an oil spill off shore and are now dependent on PETA to scrub them clean while Americans watch on CNN, sigh and say, hmm what a shame. That doesn’t even make sense. Anyhow, these are the people who follow through on the pact you made four years ago to travel to Germany for Oktoberfest 2008 and good thing too, because it’s going to be epic.
  3. The ones you’ve met since leaving college and entering this so called real world
    1. The ones you work with. You spend 75% of your life with these people. It helps when you like them too. It’s even better when you can sit with them on a 3-way instant message conversation all day, snorting laughing, while you plan out the scenes of the fictitious movie you’re writing on advertising and betrayal starring all the classic characters you talk about behind their backs. These are the people who you punk, telling them they need to call a bar to confirm a party, when really you’ve given them the number to the strip club Scores, and they aren’t even mad, just happy to finally be in on the scam.
    2. The ones you’ve met in NY (or fill in the appropriate city here _____). This can mix with those in 3a. For me it’s those people with whom I shared apartment 3a on 55th st… all 25 of them, without getting sick of each other. Seriously. Well, minus the 3-month stint with the hyper hyena girl we got off Craigslist. I thought for a split second that these might be the most mature set of friends you’ve got, and maybe in some way they are. They have no problem leaving really great seats in the Garden long before the OAR show is over because you’ve all realized that you’re the oldest people there and need to go hang out with adults. Mature decision. They also have no problem making a cauldron of rum-soaked sangria on a random Saturday afternoon and then staying out till the sun comes up because you were so into the GNR dance party going on in the living room you didn’t realize it was 9:00am. Immature decision.

Now I considered another category centered on people who know how to act like adults when splitting a bill at a big table. I stopped myself from going there (nope, no I didn’t) in high, desperate hopes that not everyone has to deal with people who don’t quite get it. Seriously, there are few things more irritating than watching that bill come to the table and having people try to itemize what they’ve consumed. It makes me want to crawl out of my skin and float away from the table when someone pulls a bill out from the night before (actually happened once) or tries to say something to the effect of, “umm, I only had a side of iceberg lettuce and 3oz of house wine.” Yeah, hi, I also was at the table you lying lush, and I noticed you put down a lot more than that. My thoughts are: What‘s a couple bucks among friends? , it all equals out over time and at most you’re saving yourself about $10. I get it if you work for some freakish communist who thinks $35K is fair compensation in NYC in 2008. I’d say something upfront too so I could buy myself a $17 watered down vodka/soda later on at the bar. However, if that’s not the case, then WHY would you ruin lunch/brunch/drinks/dinner by making everyone feel awkward, walk out of the restaurant annoyed and inviting unsolicited criticism from perfect strangers, only to hop on that downtown R train thinking, “Well that sucked, and damn it’s hot. I hope something bad doesn’t happen so that I have to spend my final minutes with these freaks. I don’t even have sunglasses.”



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