A time when the dead come back to haunt us.
And, it seems, Phoebe’s birthday. I think of all my friends she’s the one you’d most expect to have a birthday on Halloween.
We’re about to go out for my wife’s birthday too. Sorry Phoebe looks like I’m double booked!
I can empathise with Rachel and Ross’s difficulty in having to get a sitter. I can’t remember the last time my wife and I were able to go out together.
My Friends too are struggling to remember the last time we were all together.
Queue Monica: “What are you talking about? We’re all together right now”
Rachel: “Uh, Mon. Chandler’s not here.”
“The One With Anger”
No. He may be in Tulsa. And yet he’s not. He’s gone. And only fifty four years old. We’re left with the ghosts in the machine. A faded, fucking, reminder of who he used to be.
It’s difficult to know how to express my reaction. I’m so used to anger being one of my strongest emotions. I’ve thrashed out my frustration at “the unbearable lightness of being” on the drums almost as many times as he made me laugh.
And here it is again. The anger at the injustice. Yet another childhood hero gone. And more than any others, he WAS the character. As he said himself.
My wife informs me the reason Chandler went to Tulsa was it coincided with a stint in rehab.
It must have been strange having himself, as Chandler, being tempted back into smoking. Whilst he dealt with much darker addictions.
I think I’ve said before that I’m not tempted by cigarettes anymore. I wish I could say the same for my other addictions. Alcohol, social media, videogames. All have a hold on my life that at times can obscure my ability to enjoy it. Which makes me hide away in the escapism even further.
It’s difficult when partners come into it, as Monica finds when Chandler returns (if only…) and stinks of smoke.
Can you forbid a partner from smoking? It’s a difficult question. After I stopped and my wife continued I never would have dreamt of suggesting it as a red line. Yet now we’ve both stopped, I’ve made it clear how strongly I feel that we both stay clean. Though I live in fear of her one day making an ultimatum about my smartphone.
One of the ultimate problems with addiction is you need to find it within yourself to stop. There’s this sense that you need to “be ready”. Other people’s help and support is vital. But at the end of the day change can only come from within.
Back to the birthday.
Rachel doesn’t want to leave the baby. A lot like my wife. Though, in her case, it may be because she doesn’t want to spend a whole evening alone with me.
Rachel and Ross experience the nightmare of locking themselves out, and the baby in. I’ve imagined that so many times. And let me tell you, Ross is being far more relaxed about it than I would be.
Though I’ve never done it (perhaps thanks to my high levels of paranoia…) my wife has locked herself out a few times. At least she had the kids with her. Although I’m not sure it’s actually better for them to be out in the cold with her… Come to think of it. I should really go open the door and let them back in.
The most recent time she attempted to break in the back whilst waiting for Granny to show up with a spare key. And was yelled at by a neighbour! It turned out it wasn’t even cause he thought she was a burglar. He was just annoyed at her making so much noise.
The troubles of Chondler and Roschel mean Phoebe and Joey are left waiting for dinner. And Joey’s getting hangry. I do feel really sorry for Phoebe here. Reminds me of our wedding. We had certain family members not make it simply because they had an argument in the car and decided not to bother!
Well, let me tell you, they WONT be being invited to the next one.
When everyone does finally arrive I feel a wave of anger again. Things sparkle so well with all six of them together. (Plus Judy Gellar at the bar, getting sauced with the baby). I can’t bare to think of how they must be feeling. And I feel another level of sorrow too. Knowing that soon, my time with them will also be cut short.
I see them all leave the restaurant one by one. And it’s hard not to feel rage at the knowledge the same will happen out here. Away from the comfort of Netflix™. And without ending with a funny scene with Joey and a birthday cake.
Real Live Sitcom Moment:
One thing that’s helping with all this existentialism is I’ve been managing to see friends more recently. This time it was the turn of Ross Number One, Joey Number Four, and a few Gunthers.
As is traditional with this group, we had far too many beers. (Perhaps we’re all Chandler’s really.)
We went out for a takeaway wrap, only to accidentally be ushered into the restaurant proper. Much like Rachel and Joey, we had our own awkward face-off with the waiters. And, after establishing that wraps were very much not on the menu for a sit-down meal, decided to commit and have a proper meal.
And it was brilliant!
We were all left wondering why we don’t do it more often. Perhaps, a hangover from our student days where a sit-down meal was often unaffordable. In the face of our crippling bar tabs.
And speaking of hangovers. I was left regretting it later. And not even the next day.
I woke in the night on my friends sofa, desperate for the toilet. I made it in time, but found I’d pushed myself a little too hard in attempting a stand-up wee as I suddenly felt faint. Just about managing to return my Johnson to my trousers, I stumbled out into the kitchen and had a little lie down.
I was a little worried about the embarrassment of being found asleep on the kitchen floor… But fortunately the adrenaline from my fear of having a heart attack and being found dead balanced it out.
After a few moments I composed myself, made it back to the sofa. And slept the rest of it off.