The Rhythm of Lunch

I often find myself having the conversation about how hard it is to make adult friends. No one is ever totally sure why it feels creepy to ask someone out on a friend-date for the first time, but everyone is sure that it does. I have a few theories, the most sentient one so far being that as a kid and a teenager, you are unburdened by self-consciousness and only have to know that you like the same things as that person likes. There's no question of how your overture will be received or if the resulting friend-date will be awkward as hell. When you are kids, if someone doesn't want to be friends with you, they will probably either not talk to you in the first place or just throw rocks at you when you walk down the street. Our carefully cultivated ability to smile-and-nod, something we work on to set others at ease even when we are not, ultimately serves only to foster doubt about whether or not a potential new friend is genuinely interested in getting to know us.

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Sometimes I'm afraid I'm the only one who thinks things like this. I suspect, however, that I am not alone. Luckily, we've found the salve: meals. And when the adult friends in question also happen to be co-workers, the salve, more specifically, is lunch.

Lunch buddies, in a world of uncertainty and smiling-and-nodding, are a priceless commodity. I can't speak for all of us, but for me, if I choose to eat with you, it means I really like you. It means that I want to welcome you into the part of my day I like the most. It means that I think we have things to talk about besides who left all their shit on the printer for three days or who eats chips really fucking loudly at their desk all the time (even if we end up talking about those things a lot). Sometimes you find a few lunch buddies that become indispensable to you when considering lunch plans.

Usually when this happens, something else really special happens, you fall into a particular rhythm of lunch. Sometimes, you'll all decide independently that you want to go to the same place. Sometimes, you'll all bring your lunch to the office on the same day and have a picnic in someone's office. Then one day, you're sitting at lunch with your lunch buddies and you start to notice that you already know who will order first, who will pour the tea for everyone at the table, who will get the same thing they always get, who will invariably spill something on their shirt and who will always insist they owe more on the tab than they actually do.

Why am I telling you all this? It has come to light that one of our lunch buddies is moving on to a new office. A sparkling, shiny, wonderful new opportunity full of new people to smile-and-nod at and, without question, more lunch buddies to be made. Maybe one of them will even be a vegetarian and a bean-lover, like you. Of course, there will still be lunches with the same combination of buddies in the future, but they will be undoubtedly fewer and farther between. The great thing about lunch is that it starts to seep into the rest of your life.

So, dear, departing lunch buddy - I wish you all the luck in the world, although I suspect you will not need it all. And I look forward to the fact that you will now be a dinner party buddy, a Settlers of Catan buddy (nerd alert) and, in the most genuine of terms, just a buddy.

Also, we're going to go to Churrascaria Plataforma and eat SO MUCH MEAT while you're gone.

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