Kramer: "Alright, that's it. I gotta move in with you Jerry."
Jerry: "I don't know, Kramer. My only concern is that, livng together after a while, we might start to get on each others nerves."
Kramer: "Alright, listen to me. I've got a great idea. You're a heavy sleeper, right? Why don't we switch apartments?"
Jerry: "Or I could sleep in the park. You could knock these walls down, make it an eight room luxury suite."
Kramer: "Jerry, these are load-bearing walls. They're not gonna come down!"
I was over at Little Joe's house a couple of weekends ago, on a Saturday night. A guy who we'll refer to as... Wolfgang was over there. I would consider Wolfgang more of a friend of a friend. Normally, Wolfgang has his wife with him at least 80% of the time when he's around. But not this night. I was just about to ask where she was when he blurted out, "You know I'm getting divorced, right?"
No, obviously I hadn't heard. "Yeah," he continued. "I've been staying here since Wednesday." Apparently, the falling out had just occurred within the past few days. We sat there the better part of the night listening to Wolfgang go on and on about how his wife, we'll call her... Lorena, had gone off the deep end.
This is a precarious situation. I've lived long enough to know that you don't say anything bad about a friend's significant other while they are still in the relationship. Or while there's still a chance they might get back together. No matter what you think of her, how she acts, what type of whorish reputation she might have, or how thick her moustache is.
So while he was calling her everything but a white woman, I knew I had to be careful what I said. So we sat and listened as he went on for a couple of hours. And by listened, I mean, ignored as much as possible. For all we knew, they might be back together by the next day.
Meanwhile, I was thinking about my friend whose house it was. How uncomfortable was this for him? Obviously it would be somewhat inconvenient. How did this come about? How long would Wolfgang stay? What would I do if a friend asked me if they could move in with me indefinitely? Will Laura ever come back to General Hospital?
I don't have all the answers. I guess there really are no rules. It's a real life situation you just sort of figure out, or make up, as you go. This is why I think it would be helpful if we had a Friend Handbook to go by. That way, Little Joe could have gone, "Ah, OK, says here on page 38 that I am required to allow you to stay, if and only if you have no family within a 40 mile radius. And you're only allowed to stay a maximum of one week."
Jerry: "You wanna go with me up to the Bronx and see if there's any flyers on George's car?"
Jerry: "I coulda said just about anything there, couldn't I?"
Here's another situation. A few weeks ago, a friend called me around 9:30 on a weeknight. I was already in my bed clothes. Which, let's face it, I probably would have been in my bed clothes had he called at 4:00 in the afternoon. But that's not the point. He said his girlfriend was dropping him off at an exit on the interstate and he needed a ride home.
Well, I didn't give it a second thought. Immediately put some pants on and got ready to go. I'm quite sure that's what the Friend Handbook would have said. Page 77: "If a friend gets dumped off on the side of the road by a girlfriend/boyfriend/lover/spouse, you go get them."
Apparently, they had gotten into an argument in the car. And she told him they could either talk about it, or she would drop him off and he could call Bone to come get him. He called Bone.
George: "So that's it. All of my darkest fears, and everything I'm capable of. That's me."
Jerry: "Yikes. Well, good look with all that."
George: "Where you going? I thought I could count on you for a little compassion."
Jerry: "I think you scared me straight."
Zoom forward to last week. I'm having dinner with yet another friend. This friend is single, early thirties, etc. He tells me he's dating someone. Fine. Then he decides to drop this bomb on me. "You know, this is the first time I've ever really dated a girl." Do huh? How am I supposed to respond to that? That's not even in the handbook.
As my weekend wound down last night, I found myself over at Little Joe's again. Entirely too late. It was nearing midnight as I was getting ready to leave. This conversation, or something very close to it, ensued:
"I don't know. He's been gone all day. Do you think I should try to call him?"
"He's been gone for nine or ten hours. I figured he'd be back by now."
"Aww, you're worried about him."
"No. But what if he's in the pokey?"
"You don't know what that is?"
"Yeah, I know what it is. But no one calls it the pokey anymore."
"Oh. Well what do you call it?"
"Prison. Jail. Cooler. Slammer. Big house. Lock up. Marriage. But not Pokey."
"Well, excuse me."
"OK, Marshal Dillon. Why would he be in jail?"
"He said he had to go see his ex-wife about something. Last time he went over there, she pulled a gun on him."
"Wow. I'm startin' to worry that my car is gonna get keyed over here or something."
"Why? She likes you."
"No, she did like me. Now she's a completely different person. When you break up with a girl, she turns psycho."
"Really? I don't think I ever experienced that. I guess none of my girlfriends ever liked me that much."
"Well, call him. I wanna see what he says."
"But if I call, it's like I'm checking up on him. I'm not his daddy."
"Hey, he's staying under your roof, he has to live by your rules."
"Eh, he probably just had a booty call, or fell asleep or something."
"Or both. Well, I gotta go. If my car blows up when I start it, call the police."
It was funny listening to my grown male friend agonize over whether or not to call and check up on this other grown man, his new (and hopefully temporary) roomate.
To call or not to call? That is the question. Where's your trusty Friend Handbook when you need it.
"Just three miles from the rest stop, and she slamson the brakes. She says I've tried to be but I'm not. So could you please collect your things..."