Pity Me

“I don’t like eating out at families for Shabbos,” my Flatmate said. “I hate being the nebach case at the table.”

“You think that’s why people invite us?” I asked. “Really?”

“Well why else do you think they do?”

“For the pleasure of our company?” I replied, suddenly doubtful. Maybe my company isn’t all that scintillating. Maybe the only reason people invite me over  is because otherwise they imagine me alone in a dark room with cracked walls, lit  by a single, dangling, lightbulb, sitting at a wobbly table eating dry bread salted by my own tears.

Then I laughed. That was ridiculous. Who could imagine I had such a pathetic existence? No, they definitely invited me over for a much-needed break from discussing community politics and preschool options. They probably appreciate having someone new around to provide a more youthful perspective and broad-ranging conversation…

Friday night, as we proffered our parting thank yous to our hosts, the hostess leaned in and urged us to invite ourselves over any time. “You know Elisheva, who lives a few doors down from you? She has a hard time finding meals for Shabbos. She told me that sometimes she eats all alone. I feel so bad! But sometimes the week just gets away and I forget to invite people. So don’t feel uncomfortable about calling, okay?”

Pop. That was the sound of my bubble.

Okay. So maybe they don’t invite me for varied conversation. Maybe, I go to them for varied conversation. The truth is, if you want to imagine me in a nebach situation, it would be a teeny drop different than the dry-bread-in-a-dark-room situation.

You’d have to imagine me in a brightly lit, spacious apartment, at a table brimming with food and surrounded by friends, all carrying on an LCD conversation about… dating. It sounds so familiar, I suspect we had the exact same conversation last week.

“Hey, anyone try any new recipes lately? Read any good books?” I try.

Blank looks.

“Um, how’s work?”

“Ugh, not on Shabbos.”

“Goethe? Post-modern art? How about that government shutdown? The weather?”

“C’mon. This is what I come here for,” a guest says. “To get in my weekly crabbing about dating.”

Sigh.

Diaper brand comparisons? After-school daycare? Bring it on.

Nebach me.

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11 thoughts on “Pity Me

  1. As married people, we try to invite singles because we think it’s bad for the Jewish community to only socialize with people in the exact same stage of life as you are. And you can fit more single than families at the table, especially since we only have 8 chairs. So we try to invite families some, couples and singles often. It works nicely for us right now.

    Someday though, we’re going to have to get more chairs/a more expandable table.

  2. I wouldn’t mind being the invited nebach case. I get bored of eating shabbos meals with my roommate after a certain point. There wouldn’t be much to discuss regarding my dating life (or rather, lack thereof), and if they want to talk- they’ll have to make shidduch suggestions, which I don’t mind as long as they have a clue of what I’m looking for.

  3. I can talk diapers/wipes all day long with my married friends! I probably have the largest collection of diapers and wipes of any single guy I know 🙂 So like what’s with Huggies wipes not being shabbos friendly but have great pick up? Do I separate them before shabbos or just get pampers/costco? Pampers diapers for newborns are good because they have a space for the umbilical cord bump, but I like HUggies better after.

    Okay, my best friend’s wife is pregnant and I stock up every time dan posts one. I’m not completely nuts 🙂

  4. Shocking but lacking. Huggies’ newborn diapers have a deeper space for the cord- better than Pampers which only dip a drop, not low enough to go beneath the cord stump.

  5. I don’t get it. Why do you buy diapers? Do your friends change their babies so frequently at your place? Or is this your go-to baby gift?

  6. Diapers are a practical gift, I suppose, but a bit like cash in their impersonality. A monogrammed towel from Lands’ End costs hardly more than a jumbo pack of diapers, right? But it’s usable for at least 10 years, and the recipients will always remember you when they use it. A diaper – doesn’t last very long, and goes in the garbage immediately.

  7. Well he refuses to buy baby stuff before the baby comes because of ridiculous ayin haros. Almost as bad as segulahs imo. I figure this way he has them right when the baby comes but he made me take it out of the house before his wife came home. So it stays in my apartment till then.

    My sister told me she thinks it’s the bets gift. Anyway, diapers are expensive and I got some good deals (and again he wouldn’t do the deals before baby comes).

    Anyway, I got him tons of other baby stuff, but clothes are the easiest and he refuses to tell me the gender (again ayin hara!!). Gender neutral clothes everyone hates using…

    I don’t need them to remember me. Anyway, even if I did, all they have to do is look around the apartment in most any room as there’s gonna be something there from me. Diapers and wipes they have to buy so I’m saving them from spending that money. Monogram towels are an extra.

  8. We invite singles because we like them! They’re still our friends even though we’ve been sucked into the gaping maw of parenthood. And they make us talk about things that aren’t poop and did-she-roll-over-yet related. Not all marrieds think of singles as nebach cases…

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