This status update was posted on January 23rd, as I sat in one of my favorite Irish Pubs, The Chieftan, in San Francisco. It was a rainy afternoon and I had just finished measuring a prospective new office space on behalf of the company I worked for, in order to estimate the number of desks we’d be able to fit. I was alone and having an early dinner when the table next to me was suddenly engulfed in a work party. Like most of my previous status update stories, this one was written on my phone as I listened in.
“I need #cocaine,” screams the handsome man at the table next to me. Shhhh says his gray haired companion, who knows they are in public. The two women laugh while the waitress takes their order and prays for widespread human sterility.
“You can call your friend in a moment,” the Loud One says, “first we have to drink to friendship, and to family, and to Dan’s baby!”
Dan is doing his best to smile, cuffs the Handsome Man like a dad cuffing his kid after a baseball game. “Call your friend, Jake. I need cocaine too.” But Jake is laughing so hard at nothing he can’t hear anything and Dan resigns himself to being toasted.
“What’s the baby’s name?” Gray Hair asks, and Dan looks into his cubes of vodka and tears and says “Sloane” and the Loud One shrieks.
“You said it was a girl!” she cries. “You said it was a girl!” like she’s being attacked by the name of Dan’s daughter, like the unborn baby’s hand is wrapped around her arm and pulling her down into Dan’s wife’s suburban uterus.
Dan nods, sucks shreds of vodka through shards of glacier, shrugs, contemplates gender conformity, reminds her, “you missed the 80s” and carries on with this explanation while the Loud One whoops and says “You were only five! You were only five!” while everyone else nods at these #facts.
“Cheers,” the Quiet One says and they all raise glasses while a waitress who hates them all and dreams in Spotify playlists barely dodges Loud One’s tumbler free paw, extended punch into the air as if to grope for the edge of the grave Baby Sloane is suctioning her into one biological clock tick at a time, hysterical laughter and all.
“I really love your jeans,” Gray Hair tells Dan, Old Man Rivering some comfort to Almost Old Enough To Be A Dad in the way that only an un-hate-able coworker can. Dan smiles, notices Jake is missing, prays for cocaine to show up one last time before he’s got to be #sober on the regular.
Loud One screams “Why?” out of nowhere, for no discernible reason and the waitress rushes over like a Greek queen anxious to quell a prophecy just as Jake opens the door all smiles and brandishing his phone: “Bro, it’s gonna be a hell of a #Bumpday!” but Dan’s already texting his moments from labor wife and the Uber that shall take him to her, in that order, and with equal affection.
“Shut up!” screams the Loud One, “shut up about that!” but it’s too late and the waitress cuts them off like a surgeon slicing a vasectomy.