It’s very difficult to find friends nowadays. I don’t mean make friends. That’s easy. I mean, find them. Like, where the heck are they?
When I lived just outside of New York City and I wanted to meet a buddy at Grand Central Station, I simply said, “See you under the clock at noon.” This was where everyone met. On some days, several hundred people were crammed under the iconic timepiece looking for friends, lovers and drug dealers.
Everyone knew where the “The clock” was. If you didn’t, there was a good chance you were from another planet. It was like saying, “Now, which Empire State Building do you mean?”
But things are different now.
I was meeting my friend Bob for coffee the other day at one of my favorite places for breakfast, Le Peep. I told Bob to be there at 9 a.m. sharp because I had a doctor’s appointment at 10:30. It was 9:15. Where was he? He’d never been late before. When I told the waitress that I was waiting for a friend, she suggested he might have gone to a different Le Peep by mistake.
“Does that happen often?” I asked.
“Oh yes. Every day. You see, here in Indy, we now have several Le Peep.”
“I told him to meet me at the Le Peep just off 82nd Street.”
“Well, we have a few that are just off 82nd Street. How about an omelet while you wait?”
“Could you call and see if he went to a different Le Peep?” I asked. “He’s not answering his cellphone.”
“Which Le Peep should I call?” she asked. “Which one did he go to?”
“Well, if I knew that I wouldn’t be here now.”
I tried his cell again.
“Hello, this is Bob.”
“It’s Dick, where are you?”
“I’m at Le Peep. Where are you?”
“I’m at Le Peep, also,” I told him.
“I don’t see you.”
“I’m at the Le Peep next to Kohl’s.”
“Which Kohl’s,” he asked. “The one next to the Walmart or the one next to Kroger?”
“The one next to Kroger.”
“The Kroger near the Monon or the Kroger near CVS?”
“The Kroger near CVS.”
“The CVS across from McDonald’s or the one next to Dairy Queen?”
We finally determined his location.
“Bob, I’m running late, but I’ll come to the Le Peep where you are. I’ll have to hurry so I can still make my appointment.”
“Should I order for you?”
“No. I’m bringing an omelet with me.”
By the way, in this column I am trying to make a very serious point about the importance of accurate and precise communication. Be exact, leave no room for doubt and you will avoid any confusion. I would be happy to explain this to you in person. Let’s meet at Starbucks tomorrow at 9 a.m. Don’t be late.