Problem is, how do I back out gracefully? E rightfully pointed out that just ignoring the ex-editor's call would be downright rude. He seems to think she wants to offer me a part-time job -- I seriously doubt it, and even if she did, I'd turn it down.
At the heart of the matter is my old nickname, "***'s 'bitch'" (*** being my ex-editor). I do have a tendency to pick one person as leader and retain my loyalty through perceived "big mistakes" and other observations by new hires. One gal who is still there is particularly venomous (behind ***'s back, of course), and she would be one of the "girls" I'd be having lunch with. I would look like a total hypocrite -- more to myself than to ex-co-workers, whose opinions I shouldn't really care about -- and under those circumstances I seriously doubt I could carry off any kind of normal conversation.
Yet, I don't want to burn any bridges. Not that I see myself ever going back to work for *** (or with the associate editor who moved up the ladder right after I left, MUCH to my further annoyance), but I'm not about closing doors before I find the open window. See how muddled I am? I hate mixed metaphors.
The whole idea leaves a bad taste in my mouth. If I bow out of the freebies, I'll have to contact the MIA ex-co-worker, who usually supplies me with books. She's already given me a handful, and I'm worried that knowledge of that fact might put her in danger (freebies are fine....doubles of freebies is excessive). The stupid things cost about $5 each for employees, and I'd hate her to lose her job over that (she's indicated things are already not going well for her). Thing is, I really WOULD like copies of "my" books (the ones I don't already have), and can't believe they haven't just been sent to me as they came out.
Ex-employees, no matter how hard they worked before they left, are still at the bottom of the thank-you list. And we apparently have to suffer (through lunch with "the girls") for our consolation prizes.