This is a story about my anxiety, and the thought process behind the things I say. In this case, a single sentence. Just one noun, really. A particularly squirly one, crafted from an odd situation: the intersection of a casual conversation and a delicate reference. A delicacy that, in all likelihood, exists only in my mind.
I was in an email chain with three friends I used to eat lunch with every week. Tom and Sean work up the street, and Brandon is my old boss and longtime friend. He was recently in the awkward position of having to let me go, hence the delicacy.
We were trying to figure out if there was time for one final group lunch before I leave, since I’m moving to San Francisco. I had just been told when my movers were showing up, so I finally knew my schedule.
“Looks like I can make it! It’s in my calendar.” Send.
“Sweet! Obviously your choice on where to meet,” Sean replied.
Reply all. “Oh, hmmm…” I thought while typing. I know! The Thai place! I can’t remember the name…
The one across from…where I used to work…oh god what do I call them…
DropForge? No, the studio name changed, that’s not them anymore. Using it sounds like I’m in some weird denial.
WGCells? No, we never really called it that while I was there. Sounds too formal in an obvious way.
Brandon’s office? No, it’s more general, but still sounds too formal. Like I’m pointing out that he’s claimed the territory.
Brandon’s work? No, now that it’s casual it sounds like I don’t exactly know where he works. Like I’m pretending to have forgotten.
Brandon’s? No, it’s not as specific, but it’s so informal that it depends on context. It would work in an active chat, but this looks like I’m rushing an email.
The Transit Center? No. It’s technically factual, but the reference is so unexpected that they might think I mean a different place.
The Bellevue…Whatever…Tower? No, I can’t even remember that building’s name.
That Thai Place? No, I like the switch in tactic, but there are too many Thai places. Maybe I mean a specific favorite, like the place we used to eat at. A classic.
…oh come on, am I really going to have to look up the name of this place? Is this what my life has come to? Fine, you win – OH WAIT! I remember now.
…eh, now that I think about it, we should eat somewhere else. I liked their convenience and speed, but we should take our time with this lunch and do something special. Oh, I know the perfect place!
“Let’s do Lot #8!” Send.
…shit, it’s Lot #3.