When I was single, I used to lament the challenges of meeting new friends. I've spent most of my life as the stranger in town, looking to settle down but haunted by demons from my past. OK, maybe not so much haunted as bored and eager to meet new people who'd at least be willing to grab some nachos once in a while. My friends from college were too far away, my co-workers were all married and lame, and I've never heard of guys making friends at bars unless it was after a fist-fight. By the time I hit my 30s I wasn't even trying any more, content to rent Japanese anime and Christopher Walken movies until I finally met Oodgie. Oodgie, for her part, was at least born and raised near the city, even though most of her friends had retreated to Wisteria Lane by that age, leaving her to cry herself to sleep at night while waiting for me to complete her (a slight exaggeration, perhaps, but, this is my memoir...the underlying message of redemption still resonates with me). Between the two of us, we could cobble together a night out once every couple of weeks, but it's no mystery as to why we sobbed with joy when we got Tivo...we were house-bound most of the time.
Something illuminating happened this weekend, however--we realized that the secret to a successful social life was to have a kid! It's so simple! Nine-months of gestation, three-months of sleep-deprivation, followed by a frightened, blinking emergence into the civilized world in search of others such as yourself. Thanks largely to Oodgie's relentless pursuit of daytime activities she's managed to make a bunch of friends in our neighborhood, all of whom are similarly enslaved by the nap schedules and mood-swings of our kids. We were out every night this weekend with the newest members of our tribe, and even ran into some of them randomly at brunch as I was eating my breakfast sandwich made with--no joke--Belgian waffles instead of bread (dec. a. dence.) We aren't sure what to do with our new found popularity, having no experience with it in high school, but we're happy to have an escape valve that combines good company and convenience. It's hard enough to equip ourselves just to leave the house nowadays; we feel fortunate that we've found some solid cohorts within a few blocks of home.
I always assumed my friends with kids would blow out of work early or turn down invitations to my Octopus Tap Initiation Party because their day-care threatened to break knee-caps if kids weren't picked up on time. Now I'm starting to wonder if they were just more excited about downing a bottle of Shiraz and a wedge of Saint Andre while Junior is checked out in the next room.