On flaking

Perhaps lately, I have been miffed by flaking. Sometimes, it’s good that particular person doesn’t show. But even though the incident was only recent, I can recall worse times.

Is flaking worse than showing up…3 hours late? That depends. In this era of the cell phone, people rely on being reminded and being prodded to do things. That is pure irresponsibility and even though I believe everyone has good intentions (sometimes), I usually call and remind people regardless. “Are you coming today?” I would ask. Whenever I get an event in the email or im, I promptly enter it into my calendar, because I really enjoy doing that. But I highly doubt people are like that.

I know my attitude is being somewhat overly sensitive (and probably bitchy). But it’s right now…and I am sure in a few months when proven differently, I would have forgotten everything…sort of.

(Speaking of which, I have to enter in my indulgence in beauty at 1:55 pm tomorrow.)

Case 1: I am supposed to be waiting for a friend who wanted to meet up for dinner. Last week, she complained that she hadn’t seen me “forever” and so I agreed to move my schedule around so that we could have dinner that following friday. (Note I was skipping a birthday dinner for her since I thought I would catch up with the birthday boy at the bars.) We had agreed to meet at 6 pm at my place. She’s notorious for not picking up her cell. Time passes. it’s 7 pm. I call her. It’s 8 pm. I call her and leave a message, no answer. Should I worry that she got into trouble, when it’s 99% likely she forgot? Granted, I was in my apartment and it shouldn’t matter, but I was keeping myself “un-busy” so that I would be ready to go anytime. It’s 9 pm and I am starting to write angsty paragraphs on my laptop to relieve my stress and hunger. I barely have eaten all day. She calls when it’s nearly 9:30 pm saying that she thought I was going to the birthday dinner and that she thought I was going to the bar…and all these so-called misunderstanding when in an earlier email I said that yes I would meet up with her at 6:00 pm. Not buts and or ifs. So I am starving and eat a banana to sustain myself…and go out to the bar before I have a miserable Friday night.

Case 2: A friend asks me that evening if I want to eat breakfast the following morning. I don’t have class until 10:30 am, so I have to get it early. We agree to meet at the restaurant, which is nearly a 20 minute bus ride for me. I get up the following morning and hop on the bus. For some reason, I just don’t feel like calling the friend. Maybe at the moment, I wanted to test his level of flakitude. When I get to the restaurant around 9:10 am, I peek into the restaurant and as expected, he’s not there. The host sees me and without hesitation, I say “One, please.” Perhaps though, I did enjoy the fabulous breakfast by myself. I think I ordered french toast with fruit and a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice.

Case 3: Now I am being spoiled, but I remember when I was lying in my bed immobile (that hand surgery last year), a friend promised she would visit me. So I lay sweltering in 100 degree heat, not really having the energy to call anyone to demand a visit, seeing only my mom and my dad…for more than a week. Turns out she misunderstood the actual week that I would be immobile. Likely excuse, but that’s only resentment speaking.

Case 4: A friend was going to meet me and a few people for my birthday. Even though I sent two emails as reminders, he calls me right as I am about to leave saying that he just woke up…and that he was sorry. Whoops. I suppose that’s an ok excuse and responsible enough to let me know.

Case 5: A friend and I agree to go to the MOMA at noon on a Saturday. I am excited because I haven’t been to the SF Moma and had loved the NY Moma. I go there and engineer my way in as a student. I wait for my friend to arrive. I stand outside watching happy visitors go into the galleries. An hour passes. I entertain myself by making some interesting phone calls. I leave a message on my friend’s phone (who doesn’t pick up)…and eventually about 45 minutes later (after I have been hassled by the guards who think I am loitering) I leave a message saying that I am just going into the museum and that if he wants to find me, I’ll be inside. About 5 hours later as I am on the BART to the east bay, I get a txt msg that he overslept. At least, I experience the art by myself.

Case 6: An important midterm is coming up. A friend and I agree to study together the following Tuesday night. Tuesday comes and I am depending on this study session to get me in shape for the midterm. I wait and wait, studying a little on my own. I eventually im the friend. No response. I don’t have his number, so there was no other way. And so I cram in the studying the few hours I have left during the day.

Case 7: This time, a friend doesn’t actually flake. He actually shows up 3 hours late. Worse maybe? But at least he answered his cellphone and gave a horribly gross estimate of his ETA. I am not close to home so I am wandering around Berkeley with a stomachache. Plus most stores and restaurants are closed. Unlike most normal people, I don’t normally call someone and say that I am too sick to go out. So I spend the next three hours wasting gas in my car, trying to entertain myself in the few bookstores open…yeah.

What puzzles me the most is…flaketitude to me is often a sign of disinterest. But I never say “I will go” and back on that promise. Even if I know I’ll have 5% chance of having fun. I am stupid like that, going to bars and parties where I don’t know anyone. I go to dinners with people I may not necessarily like. But I aim for that small 5% because sometimes good comes out of it. And even if I do experience the 95% chance…at least I can say that I didn’t spend my free time doing nothing.

Coming or not?

Although the turnout on Saturday was good, I am still somewhat miffed about the rsvps. Even if it’s evite-style. Not that people didn’t come, but some just didn’t rsvp. Granted, it wasn’t a party where I needed to know the exact head count, but approximate would be nice.

Reading an article on the declining politeness in RSVPs on are you coming or not reminded me of that. Just say no at least. And even it’s cruel, just say “well, I have other obligations to consider and if I can’t find anything else better, I will come.”

After all, in dating, there are some people who are always looking to see where the grass is greener.

Want to enter a contest?

“Sure!” Chris said.

I reluctantly followed, filling out my own form. I don’t remember what I was entering in the contest for, but I thought Chris had made a good judgment.

As we stood there filling out the form, she asked us where we were from. I said I lived in San Francisco. Chris said that he lived in Mountain View. Then she made small talk about the A’s. How long we had been going to the games and how often we went. I said I hadn’t been to an A’s game for more than 10 years. She paused for a second and went to get a binder.

“Because you haven’t been to a game for awhile, I am going to offer you a voucher,” she said excitedly pointing to the dates left in the season. I threw an indifferent look because I have to admit that baseball games themselves aren’t my thing…but going with people is.

Chris peered at the dates, intrigued. She awkwardly asked, “Are you married?”

I was slightly startled and quickly said, “No!” while Chris gave a cringing expression. Didn’t she see that I lacked a ring? She corrected herself and asked if we were at a couple. At that moment, I didn’t want to say anything, because it seemed like it was irrelevant. I simply stayed quiet waiting for Chris to answer. But he didn’t. Probably thinking the same thing…what was this girl trying to get us to do.

Then somehow at this moment, she decided to launch into the real core of the whole conversation. She opened the binder and said that we could come in…get a free lunch…and talk about things. She started showing us a hotel in Napa that had wine tasting. And other things that appealed to a demographic that was not me.

I was disinterested, but Chris encouraged her to speak more. In the benefits of a timeshare, being able to walk away from a pushy sales pitch and get the free gifts. My parents had done it. Chris had done it too. But I had never done it, having a weak compassionate soul for sales pitches.

Somehow I was curious as to how these things worked and agreed to meet up. She first showed us an available schedule. I couldn’t do weekdays and that particular weekend, Chris might be out of town. Then she said that she’ll bring up a calendar. She pulled out her Motrola Razr and showed us the calendar on her phone. How tacky.

“I suppose the following weekend may work,” I started slowly. “11?”

Then she said that she just need a small deposit to hold our place in line. $20 either in cash or credit card. That she would give it back to us once we arrived to the meeting. That’s the moment that I wanted to walk away. And perhaps Chris did too, but I wasn’t sure what he was thinking. I sent brain waves toward his direction saying “Walk away.” but nothing happened.

Finally, I said that although I trusted her, I didn’t like the idea of my money floating in space…almost in purgatory. It was an awkward pause as she tried to come up with a rationalization for that. Then Chris smartly said, “I think we’ll have to talk in private about this.”

She resisted, knowing she was losing her sale. “I am not trying to trick you,” she attempted in vain. Seeing through the thinly veiled lie. And we started walking away. “Don’t! I know you won’t come back!” she called to us.

And to which I turned back for one moment and said loudly, “I know, because we won’t!”

Fortunately Chris kept our contest forms with our contact information.

Glow in the dark party!

In celebration of my roommate officially quitting law (after only one year working in the real world!), we had a party Saturday night. An 80s and glow in the dark theme. The 80s part…somewhat pulled off, but the glow in the dark theme. Oh yes. We got light sticks, glow in the dark stars, glow in the dark stickers, glow in the dark animals, jars filled with glowing liquid, highlighters, tonic water (which glows in the dark…). Pretty awesome overall!

Some highlights:

  • surprising items of clothing glowing—like buttons
  • our neighbor around the corner stopped by
  • my friend going outside to take a phone call and talking to a girl next door standing on a higher balcony…for 45 minutes straight
  • the 80s music rocking out even though a good group of people went to my roommate’s room (because he had a better sound system…but not better music taste!)
  • Dave magically turning my neon large dice into 6 small-sized dice. it was like magic!
  • Learning about how law is awful as a profession
  • Creating a masterpiece of glow in the dark stickers on a person’s face
  • Making food…and lots…of mistakes, but some actually was good…or so people say…
  • The last mile

    I was reading a blog the other day about the last mile. A woman had planned a company party in advance. Making the reservations for the location, etc. Sending the invitations 2 months in advance. Ordering the catering and so forth. But when the time came, not many people showed up.

    She forgot the last mile. To send the reminders.

    And in some sense, this kind of customer service matters.

    The last mile is the last thing one experiences in service. Your last impression. The final stretch that the company should deliver not just well, but the best. They often say the first impression matters, but the last impression is usually the one you remember the most.

    I always wondered why AT&T despite how they have honed the business models well. How consumers are attracted to the plans and the array of the phones…why is the customer service so uneven and unreliable. Rude and inconsiderate even. It sounds like I am commenting on a restaurant service, but I am. Like restaurants, it doesn’t matter what I am consuming or how much I am paying, it’s the service. If the server spills water on my lap accidentally, I expect something in compensation. An apology at least. And an attempt to resolve the accident (like a napkin).

    But in other places. Parties and the like, the last mile for the goal of getting people to arrive is that simple social interaction. In the several parties I have hosted, the people who are most likely to attend are the people I have interacted with one-on-one. Despite my love of the passive invitations (evite), I still go to ask people. Sometimes perhaps to the extent of bugging them.

    It doesn’t matter what decorations I have or the food/drink I serve. If people aren’t happy at the party, if they aren’t interacting, if they aren’t participating, that’s the last mile. That I think is the duty and responsiblity of the host.

    On Musicals

    I saw my first musical (besides those…random cheap shows in Vegas) last year. Rent with Lele in New York City. We had seats high in the balcony and somehow I didn’t understand anything that was going on. Why are people dying? Are we supposed to be crying? Am I supposed to sing along?

    But oh yesterday!

    Chris would like me to say that he got good seats. For cheap. For Avenue Q. Only $25 each. Third row!

    And this time, I think being up close to the action and the dialogue helped. Kate Monster is really furry. That’s probably why she’s a monster. And also the two roommates are quite reminiscent of Ernie and Bert. The adult version.

    And perhaps it’s true, the Internet is for porn.

    The most scariest part of skydiving

    After my sister and I jumped out of the airplane, suddenly our parents wanted to do it too. They demanded and spent time looking at our photos and videos. And now, despite how old they are, they want to go.

    What is the scariest part? Is it jumping off the airplane?

    A little bit. The moment that you realize you’re going to step into nothingness. But really like a friend said before, it’s when I signed my life away to the papers.

    The papers that say that I can’t sue the skydiving company, the airplane manufacturer, the parachute manufacturer, the instructor, the clothes, etc etc etc.

    I did end up scratching my ankles slightly because I forgot to put my legs in front instead of tucked under me.

    But another worst part?

    I got really bad motion sickness going in the plane and floating downwards as my instructor tried to show me the different views of the Bay Area, moving to the right and moving to the left.