Last week, one of my friends called me a “flake.” She was trying to help me find a new place to live with my dogs. She talked her landlord into giving me first dibs on one of his properties before he put the house on craigslist. The three-bedroom abode is located only a few minutes away from my AA home group. I planned to meet up with her and go see the house last week, but at the last minute, I bailed.
I won’t get into all the factors that contributed to my last minute cancelling, but some were legitimate. I apologized profusely and asked her if I could reschedule to see the house, but she became quite angry and called me a “flake.” She hasn’t talked to me since. Have I done this to her before? Yes.
No wonder she is pissed off, and rightfully so. Am I a flake?
Well, um, yes, planning to meet me for coffee at Starbucks is almost as unreliable a venture as investing in Enron stock. Sometimes I reschedule a lot of other arrangements including therapy and medical appointments, step work with sponsor, and well, the list goes on and on. But my main flakiness occurs with social engagements.
I apologized to the friend, who refuses to answer my phone calls or text messages. Perhaps she might not want to be my friend, anymore. So far, she has not de-friended me on Facebook, so I suppose that’s a good sign. But who knows? She might block me tomorrow. I really need to work on my chronic flake syndrome. I have exhibited moderate to severe symptoms since I got sober over four and a half years ago. Tragically, my flakiness has worsened since I moved up to the Mojave Desert. Sometimes I feel like driving 35 miles to Palmdale is as arduous as taking a flight to Australia! Forget driving to Los Angeles—that’s like preparing for one of the Apollo space missions. Yes, outer space.
Ironically, in Carlin Flora’s Psychology Today article, Field Guide to the Flake, a flake is a “sweet space cadet.” While the word “sweet” made me chuckle, “space cadet” made me cringe. As I read the article, I thought, Perhaps Flora will mention that flakiness goes hand in hand with co-occurring disorders? After all, this is an article in Psychology Today. Honestly, the dread that I feel prior to a social rendezvous can be as intense as the horror Laurie Strode (played by Jamie Lee Curtis) experienced in Halloween, when she is being chased around by the demented Michael Myers. But she had a good reason to be afraid! Who wouldn’t be terrified if a knife-wielding psychopath wearing a William Shatner mask was in hot pursuit?
There was no mention of any mental health disorders in the article. And I am taking Celexa for my GAD and OCD. Recently, my shrink (yes, I made it to that appointment) took me off Wellbutrin, which I was taking in conjunction with Celexa. He said that I have a normal dopamine level in my brain. So what’s going on?
Maybe it’s the house where I live. Perhaps its possessed. I live in the Mojave Desert and sometimes when the wind blows, I swear I can hear the ghosts of the settlers and the Native American Indians who once walked across this dry terrain. According to desertusa.com, the Mormons gave Joshua trees their names, due to the fact that the trees looked like they were praying to God. Joshua trees surround my house. Maybe the spirit of a female Mormon settler named Bathsheba lives inside the Joshua tree that is right outside my window!
Bathsheba knows something that I don’t. I am not sure what it is that she knows, but perhaps Bathsheba senses that something horrible will happen to me if I actually show up for coffee. Maybe she is trying to keep me safe. Maybe something bad will happen at Starbucks. Maybe one of the baristas will go berserk, and attack me with an espresso machine after I order a Café Americano or maybe the barista will hurl yesterday’s rock hard blueberry scone at my head, and knock me out.
Another interesting point, which Flora wrote about, is that flakes or “chronic procrastinators,” are “highly impulsive” and “fantasy prone.” So much for the Bathsheba theory. Not only am I a flake, but also I am delusional. In the article, she mentions Scarlett O’Hara as the definitive flake. Who can forget that classic line at the end of Gone With the Wind when Scarlett (portrayed by Vivien Leigh) said, “After all tomorrow is another day.” When I saw that film, I mentally stashed away that quote, like a squirrel hiding acorns. That quote has become a valuable flake tool.
When I reschedule appointments, I often say, “How about tomorrow or the day after? After all, tomorrow is another day!” Fiddle dee-dee. Fiora provides some interesting do-it-yourself “de-flake” tips. She suggests that flakes need to get to the real problems first. I took a good hard look at myself. My time management needs work. I also have a penchant for staying up all night. When I go to bed at the crack of dawn, sometimes I oversleep and I don’t even hear the alarm go off. That’s a great way to miss appointments.
Believe it or not, I still depend on an old AM radio alarm clock. AM radio features a majority of talk shows, and my radio is tuned to a weird fundamentalist religious station, and I have been too lazy to turn the dial or better yet, buy a new alarm clock that features FM! Who the hell wants to wake up to the sound of a preacher advising them that the four horsemen of the Apocalypse on their way?
And my six dogs sleep as heavily as I do. Seriously, those four horsemen might just show up, and Zeus, Stella, Jade, Loki, Persephone, Calliope and myself will probably snore right through the entire event! Even if Jesus himself made an appointment to see me, I would probably flake out. Or better yet, reschedule!
“Hey, Jesus, tomorrow is another day!”
I can buy another clock, hell, why not buy two, including a cuckoo clock, which would probably be quite fitting, don’t you think? Considering the fact that I am convinced that there is the ghost of a Mormon settler living inside a Joshua tree in my yard? And did the Mormons even settle in California? Didn’t they end up in Utah? Besides buying more alarm clocks, more importantly, I am working on a fear inventory. My sponsor thinks that fear is the underlying issue here. I’m afraid that’s probably true. I committed to going to a meeting in this weekend. I was terrified, because I had made that commitment, but I did get there. I even brought Zeus with me, for company. That’s not a great way to live. I do think a fear inventory is in order.
I did check out the house, and it’s not a great fit for my dogs and I. But that’s not the point. If I can’t keep my word, there will come a day when all my friends will have had enough of my flakiness. While I am begging for another chance and saying that I can’t live without them, the last sentence they might say to me before they lose my number will echo Rhett Butler’s parting words to Scarlett.
“Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.”
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