My friend V used to be pretty reliable but lately she’s pretty flaky and flakiness drives me batshit crazy.
On one hand, I think it’s anxiety making her like this. She’s developed a fear of public transit, for one thing, and this makes her have a hard time leaving the house and take forever to get places. Apparently sometimes she has to get off the bus numerous times just to collect herself and then get back on another one to continue her commute someplace.
On the other hand, she holds down a part-time job she commutes to, and to the best of my knowledge she doesn’t fuck that up. She just does whatever she needs to do to get there at the appointed time. Why can’t I be that important? Why is seeing me apparently never considered important enough to put effort into, for anyone?
V’s roommate (who is on disability so she’s typically at home all day) is about to go visit family for the holidays, and V hates leaving their cat alone all day. Yeah, I know, he’s a cat, he’ll be fine. But she was hoping I could come by on at least some of her workdays and hang out in her apartment and catsit. In fairness he does get fed at 5pm every day and V’s shifts end at 8pm or something so his schedule does get shaken up some if I don’t go over. And anyway this cat is fucking adorable and when I’m at home I spend most of my time lounging around watching Netflix anyway so I might as well do it at V’s place. I did it before, a few times, in the summer.
Last time I babysat, I went over one day before V left for work so she could let me in and leave me a set of keys. That kinda sucked though because I had to get to her place for 11am (which meant waking up at 9 to allow for showering/eating/dressing/commute) and I am emphatically not a morning person. This time around she suggested I see her sometime before the roommate leaves, and get the extra keys so I can come and go at my leisure when the time comes.
I don’t have full-scale panic about public transit like V does, but using it does tend to exhaust me. Sometimes to the point of an autistic shutdown or meltdown, if it’s really loud or crowded on there. And V’s place is over an hour away from mine, on a bus route that’s legendarily shitty (buses are supposed to come every five minutes, but usually it’s more like there’s nothing for 20 minutes and then three buses finally come all in a row and they’re all absolutely packed. There used to be another route to get there but the main street nearest V’s apartment has been under construction approximately forever so buses don’t go out that far anymore.
Also – after weeks or months of barely having anything going on – I actually have some stuff on the go this week. TA is off work for Christmas and we can finally go back to her coming over for a whole day at a time instead of a quick few hours snatched here and there. She’s coming over on Monday. Hopefully I can fit in a quick run to the gym beforehand, but we’ll see. I had a date recently with someone new and it went well, so he’s coming over on Tuesday night; I’m not really a person who can handle doing more than one thing in a day, so schlepping to V’s place (probably at fuck o’clock in the morning, as I believe she’s working that day) to get keys and/or hang out with her cat and then schlepping back and then entertaining company is very much not a thing I want to attempt. Also I was gonna use Tuesday afternoon as my backup slot for working out if I didn’t manage it on Monday. Thursday I have a doctor’s appointment that’s in the opposite direction from V’s place. Wednesday I’m free, but going to V’s at fuck o’clock in the morning on the Wednesday means I’d have three days in a row when I had to be up at one time or another and couldn’t just freely sleep as long as I need to, and that usually starts impacting my mental health.
I think it was this past Saturday that V texted saying I might wanna get her keys before she actually is working and whatnot, so I wouldn’t have to go over super early. I had my first date with that guy on Saturday, but before I left I texted back that I might be able to drop by after the date, if V is flexible and planning on being home all day (the date took place downtown, putting me at least halfway to her place, so it would have been convenient from a commuting perspective). But that it would sort of depend on how exhausted peopling had made me feel. Failing that, perhaps Sunday. I kind of dreaded having to forfeit my Sunday to this stupid errand (I know, I know, but I’m low-energy and spending over an hour traveling to her place in the afternoon just to turn around and go right back would leave me kinda done doing shit for the day) but whatever, I wanted to help out my friend.
By the time my date ended there was no word back from V, so I texted “I haven’t heard from you so I’m just gonna go home. Hopefully we can work something out for tomorrow.” She did text back “sorry, I just saw this, yes today works for me, or tomorrow would be fine too except I do have to go out for a bit” but I was almost home by then and no way was I turning back at that point.
Once I got home we texted about this some more, with her saying “actually, I do have to run an errand tomorrow so maybe we can meet up downtown.” Downtown is more-or-less the halfway point between my place and hers, so that sounded good to me. Plus we could have a coffee someplace and catch up. I did have some reservations because she never seems to be able to hold to a concrete schedule these days and I hate waiting around in limbo.
But with misgivings in my heart I told her that as long as she headed out after say 1pm (because I sleep until at least noon lately) this should be doable. Like maybe she could text me when she was headed out and I would take that as my cue to start getting ready and by the time I was fed, dressed, and had arrived downtown, she would have finished doing The Thing, whatever it was, and we could grab a beverage together. She agreed to my terms.
And so I set my alarm for 12:30pm to make sure I was awake to receive her text the next day. I ended up having a hard time getting to sleep, and would have loved to have been able to sleep as late as my brain ended up needing, but I didn’t want to let V down.
So I made myself wake up at 12:30. And an hour or so later V ended up texting me that she wasn’t going to go downtown after all, she would be meeting up with a friend close to home, instead. I asked when she would be done; I was still fixated on getting those fucking keys so I could do her this catsitting favour she’d asked for. She said she’d be finished at 4 or 5pm. Which would mean I’d have to lie around the house for hours, waiting to leave (I usually can’t do anything productive when I know I have to be someplace later; it’s apparently an ADHD thing) and it seemed like there was a pretty big chance she wouldn’t be done when she thought she would and I’d end up either lying around some more, or I’d’ve left the house aiming to be at her place for 5ish and she would text “whoopsie, I’m gonna be another while.”
It was at this point that I suddenly remembered that she was the one who felt anxious about leaving a whole-ass adult cat alone for six or seven hours, so why the fuck wasn’t she offering to trek out to my place and give me the keys? Or at least meet me halfway? Why was the assumption that I would take hours out of my day to come pick up her keys so I could do a favour for her? Plus I have a low, low tolerance for going places and doing things, and I’d had my date yesterday and TA and also possibly the gym tomorrow so I would really rather let my Sunday be a peaceful day of no obligations.
I texted V that actually I’m having a low-energy day so I didn’t think I could go all the way out there for the keys.
Initially I typed out a request to at least come meet me and give them to me at a particular in-between location that’s way easier for me to get to and not too much of a pain for her to get to – but then I had a sudden vision of me waiting there for her as she sent periodic “whoops I haven’t left yet…whoops I missed the bus…whoops I’ll just be a little longer” texts, and I backspaced the fuck over all of that idea and just said I might have to get the keys some other time but also to bear in mind I have a fair bit of stuff going on this week so I’m not sure when I can come or how often I can actually catsit.
…Ah, I just saw that she texted me back, quite patiently and nicely actually, saying she totally gets it and she knows that the cat doesn’t need looking after, it’s just a thing that makes her feel better. So that’s cool.
The problem with me dealing with flaky people is, I know intellectually that they mostly don’t mind other people being flaky, too. But I can’t do that. I was so very trained that it’s rude and disrespectful of someone’s time to be late or to be vague with plans that I can’t do it. Also I need people to be punctual and concrete, and if they aren’t I guess I try to make up for it by being that way myself? Also these are usually people I actually like and want to see and it always feels like if I bow out of shit at the slightest tiny whim like they do, I’ll never actually see them.