Like 90% of the adults in this town, my friends and I tend to meet up after work on Fridays for "happy hour." Since we're all fairly poor and tend to be rowdy (that is to say, some of us are Not Welcome Back at certain local bars), that usually involves gathering at a home or behind the warehouse where one of us runs a business. Different locations lean toward different outcomes, from giant bonfires and bb guns to political arguments over too much whiskey.
Growing up, I wasn't part of a group of friends. Okay, to be honest, I sort of had no friends at all. Weird kid, socially awkward, liked to read - you hear me. I used to watch commercials where little gangs of teens or preteens got together to eat happy meals and josh each other and just long with every cell to have pals. Hell, that's probably why I loved The Goonies so much.
Somewhere around 17 or 18, I started figuring out the whole making friends thing. I suspect I just wasn't meant for school-based social circles. I've made my peace with that time, and I've had plenty of good friends and tight crews in the past 14 years since I got out of high school. But I still have a problem saying, "nah, I'll catch y'all later. I don't feel up to hanging out tonight." That nervous ninth grader is still in there somewhere insisting that I have to take any chance for a social life.
I didn't sleep well last night, and I don't particularly feel like happy houring later. I'll get the calls of "where the hell are you? grab a twelvepack and come on!" and feel guilty about making a quiet dinner and maybe watching a movie. But, it's sort of a happy guilt. I've got buddies that like spending time with me, honestly. When I'm not around, they look for me. I sort of wish I could go back to middle school me and tell me that the hard times don't last.
Maybe that's why I'm generally cheerful now. I feel bad for people who peaked in high school. Anyway, unless my mood changes by the time I escape work today, my friends can do this one without me.