Friday, February 25, 2011

An awkward lunch in the city

Having lunch in a cafe at the bottom of an office block the other day I witnessed a familiar scene. A young woman, presumably on maternity leave, had returned with her baby to have lunch with another young woman, presumably one still working in the office above. The second young woman made the appropriate admiring noises in the direction of her friend's baby but you just knew her heart wasn't in it. At the end of the lunch she stood there patiently while her old mate gathered up the baby's extensive travelling kit and got ready for the road. They said their fond farewells. One skipped towards the lift, the other started to negotiate the revolving door.

I suspect this was the last time they would meet like this. On reflection the mother would not consider it worth the trouble. The working girl, who found the whole thing a bit boring, would find a reason to put her off if she suggested it. One's got a new centre to her world. The other one hasn't. In the half hour it took them to have lunch you could sense them both realising this.


  1. Anonymous1:29 pm

    They'll meet up again in 12 years time when they're both single. Happy ending?

  2. This happens a lot at my office. Everyone gushes at the newborn and trots out the same cliches to the new mum. All well and good and I don't want to rain on anyone's parade but after 2 failed attempts at IVF it's not easy to force a smile. I love our 2yr old niece to bits and don't begrudge anyone the joy a new baby must bring but some mothers seem to assume it's their right to have praise showered on them. I wish them all the best and I am happy for them but please don't expect unbridled joy from everyone. They could just be having a bad day but they could, like me and my wife, be jealous as hell.

  3. Working girl was hit by the stark realisation that other people's children are just not that interesting at that age.

    I've done this myself. You meet your old pal who arrives laden down with baby stuff but conversation is impossible due to feeding, etc., and what little talk there is is all about babies.

    I've made a mental note many times not to see them again until they can come without their children and normality can be resumed.

  4. I think I saw this on DVD last night, in an episode of Modern Family.

  5. What exactly are you supposed to DO when someone brings a baby into the office?

    Apart from observing "Yup, it's a baby alright..."

  6. It's difficult to give as much time as one would like to family these days without the career being affected. The reverse is also true. It strikes me that both women in this scenario would silently entertain, however briefly, the notion that they might be missing out on what the other seems to enjoy. Most of us, in varying degrees, are - as Jackson Browne said - "caught between the longing for love and the struggle for the legal tender".

  7. One so observant, with both ear and eye tuned to the pathos of the everyday, should really be writing fiction!