You’re leaving the city for the holiday weekend with a group of friends. It seems simple enough: 48 hours at the Fairchild family cabin in the Poconos. Drinking. Floating on an inner-tube. Eating multiple hot dogs. What could go wrong? Pop-culture will have you thinking axe murder, but there is a far more insidious threat no one is thinking about: THE EMAIL CHAIN.
While you’ll only be on vacation with these people for a couple days, you will be forced to interact with them on a near-constant basis for weeks. Unlike a group text, there is no way to unsubscribe, and let’s not forget that you actually need some of this information. The email chain will start with good, practical intentions, yes. But soon it will morph into one of the most annoying things to ever happen to you. It will become so confusing and unwieldy you’ll start having dark thoughts; Ones that will have hoping for the second coming of jesus or maybe just an axe to bring along with you on the trip.
As a public service, I have outlined the different characters and phases of this contemporary atrocity. Go into your next holiday weekend fully aware of what you are getting yourself into. Your sanity, and that of your friends, depends on it.
The Type A Host
The Overenthusiastic Best Friend Of The Host
The Obnoxious High School Friend Of The Host
The Boyfriend Of The High School Friend That No One Really Knows
The Couple Who Are Nice And Bring Snacks
The Single Girl Who Might Cry One Night In The Bathroom
The Completely Silent Person Who Refuses To Participate
Phase 1: 1 month before the event
The Type A Host emails their Overenthusiastic Best Friend with a plea to go out of town for the 4th (“ugh, the city is so dead and humid that weekend, let’s get out of here!!). BF, of course, LOVES the idea and asks if “the cabin” is available. Host checks and good news: the other side of the family isn’t freeloading that weekend. Great! They run the idea by the high school best friend — she’d be pissed if she wasn’t included — who unsurprisingly had been wondering where her invite was.
Phase 2: 3 weeks until the event
It takes a week but the girls settle on a guest list and add the other 6 people to the chain. Here’s where **** starts to get crazy. Everyone replies all with some variation on “yay! can’t wait!” Someone mentions board games and pot and “how many bottles of rosé are necessary?” The thread rapidly becomes a hellscape of wants, needs, jokes and maybe a reference to something happening in the news. Boyfriend No One Knows chimes in with something awkward, and Silent is annoyed and still silent. Silent takes the opportunity to start what I call a “sub-thread” with Single to talk **** about how intolerable the thread has become.
Phase 3: 2 weeks until the event
The host interrupts the rabble rousing to get serious. There are lots of things everyone needs to know: complex directions, arrival time, what to bring, the weird smell in one of the rooms (sorry!). Everyone thanks the host and reiterates their excitement and gratitude. Remember: you can’t ever thank someone enough on an email thread. The more the better. Actually, you should try to thank them a minimum of 5 times before the holiday weekend and 5 times after — all on this thread.
Phase 4: One week before the event
The Host will follow up two times with different critical details. Turn left at the fork right past Andover St. Don’t take big shits in the bathroom on the first floor. The couple will take the opportunity to kick off a round of “Are you guys ready?! Can you not wait?! Has work been such a drag lately and you just really need to relax?!” Great, because it’s time for 10 pump up emails. Let’s all talk about how excited we are and will ourselves into having a good time. The Dropout sends a gif like this, then follows up with the Host a day later to cancel because of “work” (probably just couldn’t handle the thread anymore):
Phase 5: Day of the event
This is when the thread becomes a logistical nightmare. It has given you enough content to fill a ******* book, but most of it is utterly useless. In the car, you’ll have trouble locating the information you actually need. This will only be exacerbated by people updating you in real time with their every move: Single Girl is stopping at Dunkin! The type a host will be there in 20 just grabbin’ some chard from the farm stand. Did someone get rose, wonders the Best Friend? Your phone will be buzzing off the hook with countless coordination emails fr0m these fuckers, but somehow three of you will end up buying bottles of ketchup ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Phase 6: Monday after the event
I had the best time ever, didn’t you? Yes, you did. Reiterate as much as possible. Everyone has to or it will be rude. Make sure you single out a detail like the lovely view of the lake or the absolutely scrumptious side salad the couple cooked. This kind of flattery is necessary to secure your good standing in the group/invite next year. The boyfriend of the high school friend will go over the top here, in attempt to make up for an awkward comment he made about Single Girl’s bathing suit. It won’t work, and the High School friend will dump him by the summer’s end.
Phase 7: 3 days after the event
Oh boy. Buckle up. You all spent an insane amount of money on ruffles, etc and now you need to figure out who owes who and how much. Everyone on the thread goes quiet and waits for someone else to figure it out. Because the host is a really good person — it’s unclear why she is friends with any of you —she takes it upon herself to do the math. After a couple of emails back and forth to work out the details, everyone begrudgingly forks over $100 via Venmo. Don’t forget to include a “cute” combination of emojis to show you are cute/cool and unconcerned with the insane cost of the snacks: ⛺️
Phase 8: 10 months after the event
After money is exchanged, you’ll think you are safe; that the line of communication is finally closed. Sorry, buddy, but it’s not that easy. Randomly, 6 months after the holiday weekend you’ll get an email from the Overenthusiastic Best Friend Of The Host. Remember that conversation everyone had when they were drunk about getting eaten by a bear? Turns out that actually happened to someone, in the same town as the Fairchild family cabin. Can you believe it?! Cue a series of response emails: LMFAO!! LOL!! WTF!! This thread of “jokes” will continue until it’s time to start planning the next year’s holiday weekend. Get ready, because Phase 1 is about kick off.
*Over the course of your life, you will be all of these characters at least once.
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