My husband just called me at work and said "Guess who's in town?"
The false enthusiasm in his tone could mean only one thing. Somehow, some way, my husband's college friend Simon (not his real name, and certainly not what I call him) has somehow persuaded Customs and Immigration to allow him to return to the United States from South Korea, where he writes for an English language newspaper. Only in Seoul could this man obtain a job that involves stringing more than three English words together. He's a native speaker of English, but I know plenty of them who aren't capable of putting together a coherent thought orally or in writing, and Simon is one of them. This does not prevent him from having many opinions, on many and varied subjects, all of which subjects he knows more about than you do, and all of which opinions he's happy to share with you.
Maybe now you're thinking "Oh, but maybe he makes up for that, with charm, or manners, or at least daily showers?" Well, you're thinking wrong, my friends.
This is the man who vomited profusely in my sister's back yard at our engagement party. We gave him substantial props for actually leaving the house first; he doesn't generally extend this courtesy, as the upholstery of many friends' cars can attest to.
This is the man who, at our wedding, after who knows how many drinks, told my dear friend and her husband (Jewish) that he was not surprised that she worked as a fundraiser for a nonprofit, since "Jews are so good at making money". At the audible gasp from others at the table, he said "What? It was a compliment! I said that they're GOOD at something! Just like the Chinese!" (pointing to the Chinese best man). (My friend and the best man high-fived and my friend's husband yelled "hey! Get all the Blacks and Mexicans over here so he can compliment us all at once!")
This is the man who had a hard time understanding why I wanted him to stop telling the story about the back room of a strip club in Hong Kong when my children (then 5 and 2) entered the room.
This is the man who, at least monthly, forgets the twelve hour time difference between Seoul and Washington DC. The upside is that at least a 3 AM phone call no longer causes an "Oh my God, who died?" panic attack; I just know that Simon's been enjoying a mid-afternoon cocktail or ten, and I unplug the phone.
"He wants to have dinner! I can get my mom to babysit!"
"You know, your mom has been looking EXHAUSTED lately. Seriously, don't bother her...you guys just go, have a good time, and I have the kids"
"No, I think my mom's been missing the kids. She'll be happy to babysit"
"Really? Because she just saw them on Saturday. And Friday. And Thursday."
"Yes, but she really missed them yesterday."
See, I'm not the only one who wants to avoid an evening with Simon. Aside from his utter lack of social skill, airy disregard for personal hygiene, and inability to hold his drink, Simon is also a marathon talker, who wants to confide his many troubles at great length, and who wants his friends to "be there" for him. Meaning the evening will start out with a lengthy (and nearly entirely one-sided) discussion of everything that's wrong, all of the sons of bitches whose fault it is, and how he can't get a frickin' break. And that will be the fun part. Then we'll end up half-dragging/half-carrying him to my husband's car, and decanting him into his sister's living room late in the evening, while she tries to bargain with my husband to just take him to our house. All of those rumors about how North Korea is always kidnapping people in South Korea and dragging them off to mysterious indoctrination camps outside of Pyongyang, and Simon remains at large.
OK, I don't have time to hang around here blogging all day. I have a few hours to develop an airtight excuse and to mercilessly abandon my husband in his hour of need. Later.