The season has become suddenly desperate for David Tang as this weekend has revealed his lack of bench depth among his friends. While his friend group is among the strongest in the city when 100%, unexpected absences have left David in dire straits.
As every friend manager knows, you must strengthen your secondary rotation in order to weather the stretch runs of the season, especially toward the end of Q3, when business trips pick up for professionals and teachers begin their class years.
David has already called up his Mains, five buddies from the football league, but they’re all out of town for various reasons; two on holiday and three on business trips. He phoned them up knowing they were away, but he was starting to feel the early pangs of loneliness, and it was nice just to hear their voices. When he’d first learned that they would all be absent, he had hoped for the best, assuming he would be able to easily find someone who would be up for hanging out.
Yet again, we see that the smallest assumptions can cause seemingly unshakeable institutions to crumble.
David’s buddies from the office are all unavailable: Rodger is hanging out with his family, Jessie is with her weird boyfriend, and unpaid intern Candy is inexplicably speaking at a yet another professional work conference. David’s last chance for accompaniment, the three acquaintances he went to a training event with last week, are not options; two are at a retreat, and the third just isn’t ready for a spontaneous call up to the big lights of the grand stage.
Forlorn, David took a walk on the sidewalks, because the early autumn weather in Shanghai is beautiful for a stroll, though beauty unshared can be a cutting presence when one is unwillingly solitary. He tried making eye contact with passerby, in the hopes that one of them would smile and welcome him to a game of Climb Trees, or Frisbee; no such luck. No one responded to his friendly chatting in restaurants or convenience stores, his out-of-town friends weren’t picking up his international calls, and even his amiable elderly neighbours weren’t home, likely out dancing in a park.
His options were truly, dismally exhausted. There was literally no one left to hang out with.
Finally surrendering to the inevitable, David retired home to stream the Walking Dead and the final season of Parks and Rec, alone. He was only able to avoid despair by holding out hope that he could turn things around next weekend, or perhaps during a morale-lifting mid-week fixture.
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