With our increasingly busy professional lives, most people divide their social interaction time between two groups – the inner circle (weekends, some weeknights) and the outer circle (mid-week 50 minute lunches called “catch-ups”). The mid-week lunch is a perfect way to retain a friendship by exerting the most minimal amount of effort.
The build up to the Catch-up is generally like a game of chicken. It’s like 2 cars driving towards each other, with the first to steer away, losing the game. Often Catch-Up Chicken begins with a random meeting on the street with the words “we should catch-up for lunch one day soon” signalling the start of the game. Then follows an extended email exchange whilst a date and time is set, outlook calendar invitations sent out and accepted to “lock it in”.
Next is the most interesting part of the game. More often than not, one person bails on the Catch-Up – just like the car steering away just before contact in the game of chicken. The date is usually then rain-checked and then starts Round 2 of the game.
Thursday was the culmination of an epic game of Catch-Up Chicken with my friend Maggie. This 20+ round belter had been going on for over 1.5 years or so. It had involved venue relocations, third party contestants, email address changes, proxy catch-ups, optimistic Friday night cocktail bar crawls and more rain-checks than I care to remember.
But finally, on the prized 2nd last day in the CBD before I left for Japan, our game ended. Maggie and I caught-up over one of the better city lunches I’ve had for a long time at Kinfolk, which is a Bourke Street café that is run as a not-for-profit and raises money for some great causes. The food is rustic and fresh – we shared a Vietnamese Poached Chicken Coleslaw (great Viet flavours, fresh cabbage, tender chicken) and Dark Rye with fresh sliced tomatoes, basil and olive-tapenade (simple but perfect). I’ve also done the brekky here and strongly recommend it, especially the coffee which rivals anywhere in the city.
So for all those who regularly partake in Catch-Up Chicken, here are 4 Key Rules of Engagement:
1. Never schedule a catch-up on a Monday – you are much more likely to cancel on a Monday than other days.
2. Do not tolerate multiple cancellations – your time is valuable too.
3. Control venue selection – you don’t want to end up eating a kebab.
4. Prepare a good excuse in case you want to bail early.