Friday, January 13, 2006

Hang out not. Do. Or do not. There is no hanging out.

Hang out not. Do. Or do not. There is no hanging out.

I have declared a moritorium on hanging out. It is the dumbest concept ever invented. It isn't even a verb. It might be a clause. Anyway. With hanging out the idea is this: A person is with another person and is enjoying their company (singular or plural). One of them says, "hey. Let's hang out." Which should not be interpreted to mean "we're actually going to do something." This phrase should be interpreted to mean, "I don't have any specific plans other than my usual melange of evening puttering, so why don't you come over so that I can have you in my general vicinity." There's no guarantee as to a time that this will occur, or that it even will happen. Because anything trumps a 'hang out.'

The thing I don't understand is the very nature of the invitation, or rather, the non-invitation. You aren't setting a time, a place, or an activity. There is nothing planned, you are not being entertained, nor does the invite even guarantee that you will interact with the other person. They may talk to you about whatever they would have been doing anyway. So the invite basically boils down to: "come watch me do nothing for an unspecified period of time. Maybe."

Does this annoy anyone else? I get so frustrated at hanging out because I take it as a 'plan.' I am going to be doing something with someone on said evening. So I rearrange my schedule, get my extracurriculars out of the way so that I'm available for them to call with specifics.

On the chance that they do call, then I'm trapped at someone else's house watching them watch tv, check email, cook dinner, talk on the phone, clean their room, fold laundry, or whatever, trying to pretend like I'm having a good time. Because they always ask that, don't they? "Are you having fun?" No, actually, I'm bored and mad because there are a million other things I should be doing with my evening that I put off or rushed through to come be with you. And you aren't even talking to me. Sometimes I get smart and bring a book or some quilting. But really people! Why do we need to plan to amuse ourselves at someone else's activity?

And then there's the more common occurance. "Let's hang out I'll call you" turns into a no call no show.

There is a time and a place for true "hanging out." We saw it last night, as Dad and I were discussing it over Asian food. The waitress' boyfriend had brought homework to the restaurant so he could "hang out" with her when it was slow. Then he got a phone call from work. He ignored the call and asked her, "Do you want me to work, or would do you want me to come hang out with you?" Dad wanted to poll them about hanging out, but thank Goodness he didn't.

There are times when hanging out is fun. But it's when the expectations for the evening are clearly laid out before hand. In college Adrian and I lived on opposite sides of the same apartment building. We sometimes cooked together, since cooking for one is miserable. We'd go place, go out for dinner, run errands together, you know, do things. Often, when I'd have an alteration to do or costuming emergencies, or recital dresses to finish, I'd call Adrian and ask him if he'd like to come keep me company and watch movies while I sewed. And he would. But he knew that's what he was doing. And he'd bring something he needed to do, and if he needed to go, he was only two doors away and could run home.

Nancy, Denise and I pop in and out and chat while we're all doing things. But again, we live there. So it's not a big inconvenience.

So, my hanging out days are over. If someone wants to do something, call me. If someone wants me to come over and watch a movie, or play a game, or sit around and chat, pick a time and let me know. If you want to plan an evening where I have something to do and you have something to do and lets do it together, pick a time and let me know that's what we're doing so I can bring something. And if plans change, CALL ME so I can get on with my evening. But PLEASE no more "hanging out."