Pros and Cons

In about an hour, I am going to call some friends to go out to dinner at Cottage Inn. In my hand is a messily scrawled chart: names of friends down the side, two columns across the top listed “pros” and “cons.” I don’t want to look at the darn list any more lest I get a headache, but I’m pretty sure I’m the only person who can objectively figure out who I should invite. I’m obviously not perfect (if I was, I would have this figured out by now), but I’m pretty sure I’m the only one who didn’t go completely haywire last week.

I’ve got the names down in the order in which we were sitting: Devon, Angela, Katherine, Eric, and Sally, though Angela and Katherine might have been switched. Everything I can remember about the last time we hung out is written out with circles or arrows in my attempt to make chronological sense of it all.

Devon has the least notes, pros or cons, of anyone on the list. He ordered a Caesar salad and didn’t say much the whole night. He was wearing a faded jean jacket, which Eric made fun of, and an Atlanta Braves baseball cap, which I made fun of. I think he took it off when the real fighting started, but when Sally chucked a breadstick at Katherine’s head, he said he wanted nothing to do with any of us ever again. I’ll probably end up calling him just in case.

It was hard to keep track of all the things Angela said and did, so I have a lot of abbreviated sentences and question marks by her name. She shared a large cheese and artichoke pizza with Eric, Katherine and me. She wanted pepperoni but we outvoted her, which put her in a glum mood right away, no doubt. After Sally hit Katherine with the breadstick and Devon left, Angela took her diet sprite and splashed it all over Sally’s new outfit. Katherine is Angela’s sister and they’re really close, super close, like those identical twins you hear about on TV except that they’re a year apart. Anyway, there I was, soaking wet because I had the misfortune of sitting next to Sally, when Sally leapt to her feet and screamed at Angela and Angela screamed back at her to screw herself. We were in a booth and I had the aisle seat, so Sally pushed past me and stormed off to the restroom to get paper towels.

I’ve got “short fuse” listed under “cons” for Angela because she was technically the person who started the entire fiasco. Like I said, she was already upset about the pizza, and when Eric made fun of the way she was eating it (“like a mouse,” I think he said), she decided it was a fantastic idea to say “well maybe if you ate the way I do, you wouldn’t be so fat, huh?” Now it just so happens that Sally is Eric’s girlfriend, so as you can imagine she was furious.

Katherine’s got about the same pros and cons as Angela. When Sally and Angela started arguing, Katherine tried to change the subject to the breadsticks on the table and who wanted the last one. I said I’d take it, but Sally drowned me out. She told Katherine to stay out of it because “Eric is my boyfriend, and boyfriend trumps sister any day, honey.” I could see that Sally’s sharp tongue had accidentally ignited a spark in Katherine, and I glanced over the pizza at Devon to make sure I wasn’t the only one who knew things were about to get a whole lot hotter. We both winced as Katherine started a “how dare you say that anything trumps my sister” rampage, one that we’d heard time and time again, but never in a public place like Cottage Inn and never with friends. I felt the eyes of basically everyone in the restaurant on us as their voices climbed, so frantically I grabbed the breadbasket and quavered, “Someone needs to take the breadstick before I eat it, I’ve had too many.” Sally grabbed the bread and obviously felt it belonged on Katherine’s head.

If I call Angela, I have to call Katherine, but if I invite the two of them I doubt Sally will want to come, and she’s the one who got me to go out to these dinners in the first place. I’m still on the fence about them.

I’ve been friends with Sally for a couple of years, but Katherine’s gotten to know her well because they’re roommates. I found out a lot about their sleeping habits, courtesy of their Cottage Inn rant. Evidently Katherine has a habit of saying gibberish in her sleep, while Sally stays out until “freaking three in the morning” hanging out at Eric’s dorm, going to parties, and “probably getting completely wasted, and don’t expect me to be able to come to your rescue when you pass out in some frat boy’s yard in sub-zero temperature”.

I’m don’t remember what Sally ordered for dinner.

Eric has a bunch of notes in the “con” column, simply because of the whole “boyfriend trumps sister” thing. I’m not a fan of Sally-and-Eric, though I enjoy their company when they’re not together. No, that’s a lie. I don’t even like Eric by himself. I guess there’s just nothing we have in common. Plus, anyone who makes fun of my friends needs to reevaluate their life choices. My friends are fantastic human beings. When they’re not fighting with breadsticks and diet sprite, that is.

If I don’t invite Eric, Sally will probably spend the evening with him instead, so it would be better for me to invite Katherine and Angela. Then again, I’m really not in the mood to listen to them venting about Sally, which they’re sure to do.

We all left Cottage Inn with ruined appetites, so I’ve got a bunch of leftover pizza in my refrigerator. If worse comes to worst, I can always heat up a slice and eat by myself.

Actually, that’s probably the best idea I’ve had in weeks.

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