Safe Distance

GrinTonic_AF

“Thus every man passes his life in the search after friendship, and if he should record his true sentiment, he might write a letter like this to each new candidate for his love.”

— Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

Subject: Re: RSVP for your “birthday bash”

From: Michael.Lardthwaite@coldmail.net

To: G.Fitzgrimple@aridmail.net

Hi Grant,

The email you received from me (Subject line: “Mike is Having a Birthday Bash on Thursday”) was not intended as an invitation to my “birthday bash” so much as a notification to you of its existence. So although Margaret and I appreciate your RSVP, it is not an applicable RSVP.

In case there is any confusion on your part, Margaret and I do not think you are a problematic person, nor somebody who would be bad to have at a party. We simply do not know you very well, and we only invite family, friends, and friendly acquaintances to Mike’s bash. After deciding not to invite you, it occurred to us that simply not inviting you to the party might register as “passive aggressive,” which is why we decided to also send you a notification email. That way, you know that we thought about you and that we have a real reason for not inviting you.

Although you are not invited to the “bash” itself, you can still partake in the festivities from afar. Feel free to sing happy birthday at some point on Thursday (probably around 7:30) and go bowling anywhere other than Friend-Zone Bowling Alley (38 Magnolia Bush Lane). You may also feel free to share in the general spirit of camaraderie we will be feeling that day. NB: Tapas are not going to be on us, so you’re not missing out on a free dinner. We hope to see you around and maybe wave at you sometime.

Sincerely,

Mike & Margret


Subject: 🙁

From: G.Fitzgrimple@aridmail.net

To: Michael.Lardthwaite@coldmail.net

Mike,

I apologize for assuming your notification was an invitation. Sheila and I talked it over and we understand your reasoning: we really don’t know each other that well.

Please let me know how the birthday goes and if you have another birthday sometime.

Happy Birthday.

Grant and Sheila


Subject: Just letting you know

From: Michael.Lardthwaite@coldmail.net

To: G.Fitzgrimple@aridmail.net

Dear Grant,

The “birthday bash” is going well. We went bowling and now we are having tapas.

Sincerely,

Tapas Monster (a la Cookie monster)


Subject: Re: your email

From: G.Fitzgrimple@aridmail.net

To: Michael.Lardthwaite@coldmail.net

Dear Mike,

Sheila and I wanted to let you know that we found “Tapas Monster” very amusing.

It lightened up our evening. We had milk for dinner.

Yours,

Milk for Dinner


Subject: Possible Offer

From: Michael.Lardthwaite@coldmail.net

To: G.Fitzgrimple@aridmail.net

Dear Grant and Sheila,

If you’d like, I can sign most of my emails to you “Tapas Monster.”

Sincerely,

Tapas Monster (optional)


Subject: Re: Your Possible Offer

From: G.Fitzgrimple@aridmail.net

To: Michael.Lardthwaite@coldmail.net

Dear Mike,

Sheila and I would like that.

Sincerely,

Grant and Sheila


Subject: Confirmation

From: Michael.Lardthwaite@coldmail.net

To: G.Fitzgrimple@aridmail.net

Sincerely,

Tapas Monster


Subject: Next Saturday?

From: G.Fitzgrimple@aridmail.net

To: Michael.Lardthwaite@coldmail.net

Dear Tapas Monster,

Sheila and I were wondering what you and Margaret are doing next Saturday. We simply want to be notified. If you enjoy replying to this email, maybe we can make these notifications a weekly thing.

Yours,

You know who we are!


Subject: Next Saturday

From: Michael.Lardthwaite@coldmail.net

To: G.Fitzgrimple@aridmail.net

Grant,

Please don’t address me as “Tapas Monster.” We agreed that I would sign my emails “Tapas Monster,” not that you would address yours to “Tapas Monster.” When I opened your email I was very alarmed not to find my name in the first line and instead to find something else (this being “Tapas Monster”). Please do not shock me like this again.

Next Saturday, Margaret and I will be driving up to Greenwich Vermont State Hospital to see Margaret’s father (Stage 4 synchronous diaphragmatic flutter). We understand that you are not inviting yourselves to join us. Margaret and I agree that this would be for the best. However, please feel free to travel there in your own car and visit an adjacent room while we are tending to my father-in-law. Might I recommend Mrs. Fortesque in 1301C? She is tolerant of visiting strangers. Should my father-in-law occasion to utter his last words, feel free to listen in through the wall. But again, as per our agreement, we will not be making this visit with you.

Yours,

Tapas Monster


Subject: We are moved

From: G.Fitzgrimple@aridmail.net

To: Michael.Lardthwaite@coldmail.net

Dear Michael,

Being so close to you in the hospital was a really neat experience. Sheila and I agree that the highlight was listening in on your father-in-law from the room next door. At the soulful moment of his departure we couldn’t make out his precise last words over Mrs. Fortesque’s playful banter, but your father-in-law’s tone seemed like one of sincere love and acceptance, and this truly impressed Sheila and myself. The most important thing is that you and Margaret were there, and that we weren’t – because that would have been weird as we don’t know each other that well. Life is a mystery, everyone must stand alone, and we certainly felt alone with your grief yesterday.

Sincerely,

Grant and Sheila Fitzgrimple

 

Shon Arieh-Lerer is a writer and comedian. He is the artistic director of His Majesty, the Baby (hismajestythebaby.com) and his twitter handle is @ShonAriehLerer.