Monday, May 7, 2018

Paying the Piper


I wrote this in my blog yesterday:
I almost forwarded her note [an invitation to dinner, naming a date, time, and venue] to everyone else, to say SEE? SEE? THIS is how you welcome a visitor!!!! But I did not. And yet, I'm writing it here and some of those folks may well read my blog — que sera sera. I stand by every word.
So, guess what? Some of those folks did indeed read my blog and are very mad and hurt indeed. Two of the four I'm meeting one afternoon in Seattle have already bowed out, and the other two may as well; one has already told me that she's coming off a night shift at the hospital that morning (so will be exhausted), and one says that she'll be tired but cheerful as she has completely overcommitted herself work-wise, so they may instead elect to sleep or rest, which I completely understand, particularly if I've pissed them off.

Two things:
  • It is never my intention to hurt anyone's feelings. I am very sorry that my words were taken as hurtful. I sincerely apologize for this.
  • I did not write what I wrote in anger. More - in puzzlement. I have been genuinely startled and baffled by the response to my visit (in five venues where I'm meeting people, not just Seattle).
One friend (an actual friend — someone I've met in person many times, have hosted for dinner at my home, and like very much) wrote to me this morning, expressing how hurt she was by my words and her disappointment that I failed to acknowledge (and in fact completely disregarded) the genuine offers of generosity that I received.

And she is correct. I did in fact receive offers, and I am very sorry that I did not acknowledge them.
  • This friend, the one who wrote to me, offered to host a picnic, with her apartment as backup in case of rain. I was so focused on the word "picnic" (I think readers of my blog know that I am an indoor kitty; I do not eat outdoors where the dirt is) that the offer of her home for a meal went right by me, in addition to her offer to be a hostess.  I know how much work hosting entails, which I did not acknowledge. I regret this very much. I hate the idea that I have hurt this friend.
  • Another friend offered her apartment for our gathering — a straight-out, kind, lovely offer. I actually thought of that as I wrote what I wrote yesterday ("Wait, La Belle Nicole did offer to host"). I even thought about qualifying my statement to say, "Well, actually, one person invited me, but for some reason we didn't all jump on that invitation, like, Eureka! We have a plan! — and in fact immediately after that another friend begged us not to settle on a venue just yet, and then the potential hostess didn't respond to my questions about potential guests, and I didn't feel comfortable inviting other people to her apartment (which she has told me is very small) without an official okay from her — so, while yes, this was technically an invitation to someone's home, it felt . . . complicated" — but I decided not to write all that. Which I now regret, as this friend is also someone I know in real life and care about.
  • One friend (whom I haven't actually met) said that she would invite us all to her apartment if only she weren't moving. I guess I didn't actually see this as an invitation — but knowing how busy this friend is (a new mom who also works outside the home and is moving that weekend), I should have acknowledged that she was offering the best of herself that she could.
I think this entire situation has been a sterling example of how e-mail is not the best venue for communication — things are so easily misunderstood, particularly text with any sort of emotion attached.

I thought about going back through all the e-mails I received and pulling out the passages that most startled me. I thought about naming all the questions I asked people directly that I received no responses to. I thought about doing a time-series analysis, showing when I wrote my original e-mails and when people responded, if they responded at all.

I decided against doing any of this, because I'm not making a case that I need to support. I'm not mad about any of this. I was startled. I am puzzled. But I am nonetheless prepared to greet everyone with an open mind and an open heart. As I wrote yesterday:
Honestly, I don't take any of it personally — I believe that people generally do the best they can.
I try to give people the benefit of the doubt and to believe that their intentions are usually good. I hope that people will do the same for me.

— Lady C

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