I really am just a god of smell.
It’s truly the greatest tragedy of 2020 that I can’t share my stench with other people.
“The One With All the Coughing”
The winds of change are in the air. Blowing my smell all over the place. I really do need that shower…
It’s nearing the end of the year. And the end of an era, as it’s time for Rachel and Chandler to move out. No more Joey and Chan Chans…
And what better way to mark this occasion than for David Schwimmer to direct his first episode!
If you ask me he’s earned a break after all the Ross he’s had to deal with this year.
He does a decent enough job, but it’s an episode low on humour and high on pathos. Barely anything’s happening, and there’s a pervading sense of melancholy. And the same is true of this Friends™ episode.
Joey and Chan Chan plan to mark the occasion by doing nothing at all. But fall into the trap of telling Monica. No surprises, Rachel hasn’t packed yet and the boys are dangerously close to getting roped into helping. Guys, haven’t you learned you can’t plan to do nothing anymore? Particularly not with a baby. Ok, maybe I’m projecting a little…
I’m sure many other people have experienced this. Isolating with your partners, you reach a certain point where it starts to become difficult to do your own thing. You can have all the time in the world, yet the worst thing you can say is “I don’t want to do something with you this evening”.
As Joey and Chandler discover, if you want a bit of space, you’ve got to make PLANS. As long as they don’t involve doing nothing.
Someone who’s failed at making plans is my sister, who hasn’t had a great time this year. She’s started hoarding a bunch of stuff in her flat, which has put Rachel’s room to shame. My poor mother and father had to help clean it up. With none of the enthusiasm of Monica helping Rachel pack.
This goes some way to explaining my mother’s attitude in trying to get me to take the tumble dryer. The stress of dealing with my sister has made her mother her other children a bit too keenly. We still haven’t found any space for it. Maybe there’s some way I can connect it IN my car? I could offer a portable laundrette service to people.
Oo. I just got a weird pang of nostalgia. Remembering Rachel and Ross’s first kiss in the laundrette. Sometimes I forget how far we have come together.
It’s strange that when I started this idiotic project, one of the main goals was to encourage me to stay in touch with my Real Live Friends. It’s never been harder than this year.
Rachel is leaving, but only moving twenty blocks. Chandler’s only moving across the hall. What’s the big deal?? I’ve already lost Joey Number 1. It’s almost a year since I tried to re-establish contact and he’s just surreptitiously removed himself from our WhatsApp™ group.
And now David the Science Guy AND Monica Number 2 are about to emigrate for work for a few years. Not together, it should be said. Imagine the furore that would cause! Phoebe would be devastated…
Chandler Number 1 has already been abroad for a few years, though still joins our Zoom™ catchups. Maybe that’s a positive to take from this year? We’ve probably all been together MORE than we would have. Leaving aside any discussion about quantity over quality…
But it’s pretty devastating to have lost the last free year for a while with not one but two other couples. More so given David the Science Guy is about to embark on the same journey of parenthood as me. New parents can feel isolated and cut off from their friends, I’m not going to lie, doing it cut off from my non-New York based Friends™ has been hard.
Monica isn’t the only one who’s cut deep by Rachel pointing out she only gets calls from her partner and mother.
Real Live Sitcom Moment:
We did have some respite recently, we were able to leave baby with a grandparent and go out to a restaurant. Our second such evening since becoming parents. Our second date of 2020.
It was a jolly affair, and delicious, a needed reminder of what a good time we can have together. For a second we were able to forget all the difficulties the year has brought, and the world around us. Until a heavily spiced sizzling dish was brought to one of the tables opposite, and everyone in the room simultaneously started coughing.
Even with this reminder of the outside danger, it didn’t put a dampener on things. Quite the opposite, as we all fell about laughing.
Humour will get us through.