The Inside

What do you really know? One of the great philosophical questions that has had us bewildered since the ancient times. I think Oprah even wrote a book on it, although she obviously at the end of it both had solved the mysterium magnum and discovered a bunch of things she knew for sure.
Well, I myself came down to merely one truth.

What I definitely know for sure is that relationships have one hidden factor to them that we rarely ever talk about. An indispensable component operating constantly in the background of every human interaction, like wheels in a clock. Sometimes it’s almost unnoticed, it is in a glance between two spouses at a dinner party, it’s in a sudden laugh between two best friends. But then there’s times when it is so obvious it just can’t be missed. There’s people out there that have made it into an entire field of science, people that flourish on confused minds and uncomfortable laughs, that which feeds into the power of the few on The Inside.

Since this was the only truth I knew for sure, other facts could merely be seen as highly likely assumptions. As the one I had about the unofficial obligation to accept an invitation to your new colleagues’ “girls night out”, or as it was referred to in the groupchat “The G.N.O!!!!”. I can’t lie, I was desperate to make a good impression, since this was the first job I actually had applied for with higher aspirations than making rent. So, even if my head fluttered with possible excuses to stay home and binge watch Netflix, I typed before I changed my mind;
“Yes sounds like fun! Where should we meet?

The beginning of the girls night out was to take place at a bit more fancy place called “L”, either owned by someone who cared way too much or way too little. A place that served both well-renowned Asian fusion and had hotshots on the menu just couldn’t go wrong. The restaurant was located on the highest floor of an urban botanical garden, only reached by an elevator that radiated in shifting neon colors. The entire building pulsated with lounge music, I could feel even my smallest of blood vessels pounding to the base. Everyone was beautifully numb, ageless and faceless. I had not been surprised if you could order a cocktail that came with a personality at this place. 

I saw them from afar, I was ten minutes early but apparently the G.N.O!!!! had already started. All four of them held a glass of Negroni like it was a goblet of victory. Lipstick covered napkins, half-eaten olives and two rounds of empty cocktails were spread out over the table. The closer I got the slower my steps became, from a 2 meter distance I seemed to not be walking anymore, merely balancing on the floor while small changes in the air moved my body closer to the group. It took a while until they noticed me, or may I say “acknowledged my arrival.” They were highly engaged in discussing the phenomena “low hangers” and who was I to intervene? Finally, one of the girls looked up at me and exclaimed in a primal sound of what could have been true horror, but I suspected it was excitement since the rest of the pack followed. I was welcomed to sit by the table.

It would have been easier to infiltrate North Korea than this group of girlfriends. The only time I received genuine laughter was when I mistakenly shot soy sauce in the true belief it was a leftover Jägermeister. But the gloat over my stupidity wasn’t enough to pass behind closed doors, as I had suspected, they were Insiders. Thus, they were not interacting, they were competing, and the games were closed for newcomers. This was in fact not at all a G.N.O!!!! This was a bloody battlefield, the lounge bar was a modern amphitheater and I was sitting front row.

And so it began. The battle of the inside jokes.

One girl yells “schamalangu” and the other one bursts into hysterical laughter like a broken hyena. A bartender walks by and the other falls off her seat and whispers loudly “O M G he looks exactly like the popcorn-bacon baldie!” Three out of four faint over the excitement. One looks confused, covers up with nervous laughter and flickers the place desperately after a comeback. No one can go to the bathroom by themselves. Everything is a loud contest. Most importantly, everyone is a queen. A table filled with screaming drunk royalty. But nonetheless, the games are still on, and there seems to be extra points to gain for the ambitious ones.

To understand the working components behind this level of inside jokes, one must understand that it is built up on different factors working interdependent, usually in duality. The higher the stakes, the bigger the potential loss. This is compiled into a couple of essential rules which can be divided into three core fundamentals. Rule number one is the level of complication inside the inside joke, rule number two is the amount of time it takes for the other contestant to understand the reference, and rule number three is all about the comeback. 

For example, one of the girls just adds different primal vocals after another while frowning her forehead and sticking her tongue out in aggressive circles at the sight of an old man. It takes exactly 0.38 seconds for her counterpart to understand that she is referring to last year’s vacation to Italy, where she got a not so pleasant cunnlilingus from a bald guy. So you see, this is worth a whole lot, but let’s say the same poor stranger walks by and one of the other girls gesticulates vividly, like it is a game of charades, but is met merely by confusion and farfetched guesses. It takes exactly 3 frustrated minutes and a long explanation to reach the finish line, well that right there could end the entire friendship, or even worse, jeopardise the whole area of competition.

By the end of the night the games had come to a draw, the scores were exactly equal and the players so weak none of them had even had the strength to “woooh” before doing shots. It was by now just silent drinking. The competition had come to a standstill.The last couple of insiders had been long and complicated, references from the past were mainly shots in the dark. Jokes began and ended in vague stoic mumbles. “What was I saying?” No one made an effort to answer, they were disoriented, dehydrated from the alcohol, depleted . And for some reason I could not let it end like this. I knew what I had to do. It was time for me to enter the games.

“Excuse me sir!”

The contestants reacted as if woken from deep hibernation. What now? The waiter reached our table.
“I would like to order 4 jäger shots, and one soy sauce”.

As hopeful as bells ringing on a Christmas morning, four sets of sparkling eyes lit up under layers of thick eyelashes. All four contestants looked at me and took a deep breath, and said simultaneously.

“O M G, do you remember when…”

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