I don’t actually know when it started, because I'm a firm believer that flaking out is about the most annoying quality a person can have. But the truth is, I cancel more plans than I actually make, which pretty much defies the laws of physics.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve become a cancelling machine! And I do it, because … wait for it … I’m just tired. It’s the honest truth. When I was younger, if I made plans I stuck to them. Stuck to them like something really sticky, sticking to something else. Seriously. My “Yes” was written in stone. This applied to going to school, not missing soccer practice, attending a birthday party if I RSVP’d (no matter how lame the monkey holding a balloon on the invitation looked.)
But as I grew older, the more I learned cancelling, was NOT the end of the world. I could skip a lecture. I could call in sick to work. I could bail on a date, and NOT go to Hell. So the more I started cancelling plans, the easier it became. In this age of text messaging I can get out of anything with a few simple keystrokes. No awkward conversation necessary. A quick, “Hey got caught up at work, can’t make it tonight" does the trick and no one will ever know. But secretly I’m already at home watching Netflix and chowing on popcorn.
Let’s be clear -- I don’t do it because I don’t want to hang out. I’ve just gotten to the point where I’m spread too thin. My intentions are genuine. When I say “Yes, let’s do it” I mean it. But by the time I clean my apt (okay hire someone to clean it), or spend 12 hours getting my ass kicked at work, or run 5 miles … I simply can no longer muster the energy to do anything other than sit down and click “On Demand.” I mean forget showering and getting ready. Out of the question.
There’s also a little problem called L.A. … where life cannot be spontaneous and everything must be planned (which if it’s not obvious I can’t plan past lunch).
All the neighborhoods are just the right amount of inconvenient. Meaning distance isn’t a good enough excuse not to go, but it’s far enough that it’s annoying to get to.
So if I’m supposed to hit Venice for drinks past 10pm … I’m thinking twice about the 30 min drive. Or let’s go hiking in Griffith Park on a Sunday … I have to commit to 40 min in traffic both ways. Or clubbing on Friday night … how much is the cab? How are we all getting there? Where are the DUI checkpoints? Am I hot enough NOT to stand in line? (Probably not).
Sooo much planning has to go into the smallest endeavor that’s easier to just blow it off. I know what you’re thinking, “Wow you sound really lazy.” Maybe.
But as an adult it’s hard to schedule in all the things we’re supposed to schedule in (and I don’t even have kids, it’s literally just me): Coffee with a co-worker, dinner with my mom, gym with a friend, drinks with an old buddy, out of town one weekend, out of town the next weekend, holidays, parties, weddings, bachelorettes, plays, art shows … SLEEP … the list goes on. There’s only so much time in the day (That’s still a scientific fact, right?). So when it comes down to it, and I’ve double booked, or realized I can’t stay out ‘till midnight and wake up at 6am to go to work – there’s no other option … I have to flake. And flake I will.
I send the “Would love to make it but…” text. Sometimes I add a “Raincheck” for good measure, and I really DO want to! And this is no reflection of the person I’m texting, or the person I want to be. It’s just the cold hard truth: I don’t like you enough to put out any effort. (Kidding! I’m kidding.)
The real truth is -- I need to SUCK IT UP more. Because without a doubt, every time I consider cancelling at the last minute, but end up going anyways – I usually have the best time. I end up thinking to myself, “Wow, I should show up more.” I usually reconnect with people I literally haven’t seen in a year, and remember how much I love hanging out with them. So I think flaking starts out as a rather selfish act. Yet, ironically I only end up hurting myself … because I miss out on all the fun.
So what’s that phrase again … “I’ll sleep when I’m old?”
Man, I bet that guy died young.