Jan 28, 2008

On Being Flaky

I've been trying to collect my thoughts over the past 24 hours and calm myself down, but I'm still upset. And here's why: People are flaky.

For over a month now, I've been planning a Weekend Art Brunch for friends and acquaintances. I found an artist willing to do a studio visit with us and assured him there would be a group of interested individuals showing up that day. I stayed in this past Saturday night to bake and assemble treat bags (which were insanely cute) for all twelve folks I was expecting. I woke up early to set up and clean my apartment so it would look nice for everyone.

Then the emails and text messages began to roll in. Canceling, canceling, canceling. Some people didn't even bother to send a message, they just didn't show up. I was crushed.

Three of my friends did show up for me. We had a nice brunch and a lovely talk with a really great artist. I had to explain to him that our group was so small because people are flaky. So embarrassing on numerous levels.

So am I writing this as a guilt trip? Yup. But also because I'm upset about the phenomenon. I've had this happen to other people as well and it's a horrible feeling. Maybe it will be different next time but next time, I won't be the host.


Buzz Andersen said...

Welcome to San Francisco--flakiness is a way of life here :-). (Followed a link from Liane's Twitter, BTW, in case you're wondering!)

the slackmistress said...

This is the worst. And I bet it's because of the weather. Not "I couldn't get there, the roads were closed off" but "it's raining and icky and I don't feel like going outside."

I hate when this happens (and Buzz, it's not just SF!) It's like someone peed on your birthday cake. :(

urban_mermaid said...

this is *the* worst :( you know, when i moved to san francisco, my friend told me this party rubric for party planning in san francisco:

take 10% of the people who say they are going to be there and add back two. it used to work like a charm, but in the past year or two, i've seen it getting much much worse.

even v said that it was horrible!!!!

barce said...

I am totally sorry I couldn't make it. I have been working for 2 weeks straight. I was at the cow palace working a booth saturday and sunday for work.

Part of the reason I had an easy time flaking is because there's something about social technology that makes people seem way cooler than I could ever be. So when I flaked, I felt, well, it's no loss that I'm not there.

I blame myself, and I blame technology. All this crap on the internet is the objectification of one's social sphere, so of course it's pretty easy to treat people like things.

In the future, if you do not want people to flake, you have to use old school technology. Every party I've set up the old fashion way: cards, half-hour face to face conversation, will cause flakage to occur only through an act of God.

In the future to make sure I don't flake, I'll use a phone call to confirm, "Hey I'll be there." That verbal statement makes me really committed.

Anyway, I still feel pretty bad about flaking, and will show up at your place old school with a calling card that you can accept or not for making plans to make this up to you.

Mace said...

I peed on Jenny's birthday cake!

I feel bad, even though I think having a sore throat so bad that all you can do is cry and not talk is an okay excuse. Why do I still feel guilty then?

Jesse Wiedinmyer said...

I'll agree with Buzz. That sort of stuff used to drive me absolutely batshit when I lived in San Francisco. Have a dinner party with fifteen confirmed attendees and have three people show up. Or have dinner plans two or three times in a row with someone who would decide that they couldn't make it.

The one thing that I learned the hard way about all of this. I remember having a conversation with one person who swore that although she and the rest of the circle of acquaintance were kind of flaky day-to-day, they were the people that would be there for me in the clutch. If I recall correctly, after my father died, she crossed the street the first time she saw me coming.

I guess some things you learn the hard way.

The one thing that I noticed, though. The people that could be counted on for the small stuff were definitely the people that I could count on for the big stuff. And the people that weren't reliable about the little stuff just flaked big on the big stuff.

Whatever the reason or excuse, the people that were solid made a point of being solid. And the people that weren't... My life's better for not having them in it at this point. As is my mental health.

Hang in there,
A random passer-by directed this way by Kevin Smokler.

cdub said...

Ok, who is everyone in SF hanging out with that makes them think that this crap only happens here? It's everywhere folks. And if your "friends" can't show up for no good reason, then maybe they aren't such good friends after all. I'm really sorry to hear that happened to you, Jenny. Rant away, my friend. And big hugs from me the next time I see you.