07 May 2008

O is for Overbooked

For the past few days, I have been laboring over a major friend faux-pas that I committed on Sunday. I didn't realize that I had material for a post until I was doing the dishes tonight. Read on, fellow parents! I am sure you have lived through the same exact scenario (which may or not involve IKEA).

But first, a little history to make this post super long (the Norway post has me reminiscing about all sorts of stuff). I have a dear friendship that dates all the way back to high school, circa 1985. He, let's call him Chester, because that's his name! Haha! Chester! Tee hee. Ahem. Actually, everyone calls him Chet (you may begin your flashbacks to Weird Science now). He played trombone in the band, and I was a flag twirler in Colorguard. His best friend began dating one of my best friends. He developed a crush on me and asked me out. We went out. He was way too intellectual for boy-crazy Eva, let me tell you. I'll give you an example. He didn't like going to the movies with me because "we can't talk if we're watching a movie. I'd rather sit and talk with you." What? Are you insane? We're in high school, our hormones are raging OUT OF CONTROL and you don't want to sit in a dark place rubbing elbows with a cute girl who loves making out with boys?!?! I thought Chet was strange, to say the least.

But oddly enough, we stayed friends through the years. We tried dating again after high school and were quite fond of each other, but the chemistry was a bit off. He transferred to a university in northern California and we kept in touch. I visited him up there once, and we made it a habit to get together for a meal or a nice chat during the holidays. He moved to Japan to teach conversational English and we had the most wonderful correspondence. He was the best pen pal I have ever had. At one point, we even sent cassette tapes back and forth, with audio letters to each other. I wish I had saved them - I have no idea where they went. He was over there for years, returning to northern California to complete his Masters degree in English and then back to Japan again. He knocked up his long-term girlfriend and they got married. He became father to a beautiful baby girl.

A year or so later, he moved his little family back to the U.S. I was up north by then, living near Berkeley. We resumed our "visit while we're in town" routine and I acquainted myself with this new little person in his life. My little family moved down here to southern California in December of 2006. I thought it would be so great to reconnect and be close again, but alas, Chet was going through a rough patch in life and dropped out of sight. After countless attempts on my part to get together, I gave up and reluctantly wrote him off.

A few weeks after I left Rob, I was driving back to my parents' house following an afternoon of packing my things at the old apartment. I got a call from Chet and after hearing that his rough patch was over and being relieved that he called, I spilled my whole story about what my life was like at the time. And ever since then, we've spoken or seen each other at least once a week. Something about our separate difficulties has brought us closer, and I'm so grateful for his friendship.

So we had been playing phone tag last week, trying to nail down some time to meet and maybe share a meal with our kids. We decided that a Sunday morning breakfast would do nicely. We agreed to meet at 9:30 at the Seal Beach Pier. He called that morning to say he was running a bit late and could we postpone about an hour? So I said, "That's fine. How about we meet for lunch instead, and in the meantime I'll head to IKEA since I need to do that today anyway."

"Great," he said. "See you at 11:30. Let's meet at the entrance to the pier."

My mom tagged along to IKEA, and we let Boog try out all the mattresses and sit in all the chairs and hold the big rolling shade that I bought for his room, which was quite comical, the shade being 6 feet long and all. My phone apparently rang at 11:30, and I later heard the message that Chet left: "Hey, we're here! We'll wait another 5 minutes or so, and then head out to the end of the pier to the restaurant to get us all a table." My mom and I got to the car to load our purchases in the trunk when I noticed that it was five minutes to twelve. I called Chet. "Hi, I am so sorry, we are just leaving IKEA, and our time totally got away from us." He said no problem, that they were going to just go ahead and order and maybe we can try again some other time.

I felt just awful. I should not have gone to IKEA, I should have just spent the morning puttering around the house or going for walk with Boog, right? But I just have to squish every single errand and social event into my weekend, leaving no margin for error.

I called him two days later and left a voice mail apologizing profusely, admitting that I had made a big mistake thinking I could fit IKEA into my morning, and that I totally disrespected his valuable time. "I totally understand if you don't want to call me back right away, and that you just want to stew about my rudeness for a couple of weeks."

He returned my call that night. He was touched that I felt so bad, but told me that we are both parents and we have both been there. "No worries!"

Well, despite this ending on a good note, I really have scolded myself to not repeat that if at all possible. I will not overbook. I will not overbook. I will not overbook.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to do about ninety-five things before Boog wakes up from his nap.


TroyBoy said...

I've gotta agree with Chet...you're being way to hard on yourself!

Lavinia Ladyslipper said...

Yes, Sveedish, we have all been there. And IKEA..my goodness, no one can ever even FIND the exit out of that place...you could be lost in there for days....!

Funny post....I quite enjoyed reading that...

Michael C said...

I'm very glad that it all ended well and that you both were able to reconnect to begin with.

And when you are a parent, you've got to make the most out of the little free time you do get ;-)

Happy Mother's Day, Eva. I hope it's wonderful for you!!

Skeeter said...

I agree, all's well that end well, but it is important to respect others time. You're funny. Can't wait for "P".

Best wishes