The Mysterious Case of the Disappearing All-You-Can-Eat Chinese Buffet Get Together 2010

As Britain shivers under yet another Weatherpocalypse, it’s worth noting that wind, snow and rain can have serious consequences, even in a country with as boring a climate as the UK. For it is just over a year that snow stole from me mountains of delicious lemon chicken and egg fried rice.

It’s a tradition among my circle of friends that we always celebrate Christmas with an all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet. It’s no more elaborate than that, really, relatively uneventful simply because ‘eventful’ would imply ‘not eating’.

(Although one year a rogue junkie ended up sitting down at our table – he nodded at us, we nodded back, and we all did the British thing of ignoring the anomaly until a bunch of staff charged in and escorted the guy to a waiting policeman. None of us thought about asking for a discount.)

We were all set to do this during Christmas 2010. Names were taken, tables were booked, we were all looking forward to it.

And then the snow came.

Those of you who live in, say, Alaska, will probably sneer at us in disgust, and rightly so, but nowadays Britain has only to see a few flakes of snow and suddenly it’s traffic chaos and panic buying. As a result the roads got so snarled up that the all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet was cancelled, because no-one should have to die in order for me to get my lemon chicken.

(Except, of course, a chicken.)

Now we’re a group of pretty intelligent adults. Rescheduling a meet-up should be a piece of cake. And yet we’re also in our twenties and thirties, where getting a group of friends together at a given time requires only slightly less planning than the Normandy landings. And that’s a good thing – everyone’s building relationships, careers, families. It’s the natural order of things.

And yet there’s a lesson here that I haven’t always kept in mind – friendships require work, and it’s easy to become more caught up in ‘busy-ness’ than it is to catch up with people. The world offers us all a thousand and one ways to keep in touch, but we’ve still got to be emotionally smart enough to use them.

And yet there’s another lesson here – true friendships are resilient, and they can cope with the disappearance of an all-you-can-eat Chinese. But that’s just another reason to be proactive and to make sure we celebrate our friendships and our friends. And I’m guilty of not always doing that enough, but I guess here’s an opportunity to say I’m thankful for my friends and I’m glad you’re around.

Maybe a Chinese is in order.


6 thoughts on “The Mysterious Case of the Disappearing All-You-Can-Eat Chinese Buffet Get Together 2010

  1. Stephen

    This is definitely a lesson I need to keep in mind too. A new year’s resolution.

    And you! You and I should each order Chinese meals and eat them on Skype. Plan

  2. thestormyblonde

    I can completely understand where you’re coming from. My friends and I have sailed off to university this year and it was, as you say, an organisational feat akin to the amphibious landings of 1945. We sat down, chatted, made spectacles of ourselves through wild laughter, and went our separate ways. It didn’t feel like ‘enough’. But after reading this I will be sure to make a massive effort – I think the cliche is most certainly accurate: friends are forever. 🙂

    1. matthewhyde Post author

      Yeah, I think it’s a fairly universal experience. It’s a good thing to remember at the start of a new year, that relationships need to be intentional….


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