Posted by: GeekHiker | July 23, 2011

The Journal: October, 2010 (2) – Julian, CA

I hate my life.

It’s been a while since I’ve written that and, if I’m to be perfectly honest about things, it’s way too strong a sentiment.  Certainly how I’ve felt today doesn’t compare to how I felt a year ago.


Let me tell you a story, a bit of background to understand where my head is.

Julian is in the mountains of eastern San Diego County.  It’s an old mining town that has morphed into an apple growing area/tourist zone.  But its nice, the camping is good, and I can pick up great apple pies and cider.

I’d first come here a number of years ago with The Ex, and it was a fun weekend.  Last year I came alone, just for an overnighter, it was fun too.

So I figured “why not invite my friends, share this little gem?”

In August, I sent out the invite, and got back a bunch of “yes’s” and “maybe’s”.  Enough, I figured, to book two campsites.  At only $24 a night, it wasn’t exactly a big expense.

Then, people started dropping out.

At first, I was okay with it.  People dropped out due to conflicting work trips, things like that.

Then, this week, everybody dropped out.  One to study, one to take care of a dog, one because something else came up.

Turned out, as I witnessed on the FB update, that thing was a trip to Vegas.  Which really depressed me.

Why?  Because it means that a friend, one who’d agreed and seemed to want to go on the trip, dropped at the last moment to go to Vegas.

Now, I’ll admit, camping at Julian doesn’t have the thrill of a trip to Vegas.  Of course, Vegas isn’t really my “thing,” so on balance, my preference would be camping anyway.  I’m just not cool enough for Vegas.

[Best time I had in Vegas was hiking in Valley of Fire State Park.  Go figure.]

You know what, though?  It SUCKS. It sucks because these are my friends, and they all, every last one, blew me off.  Am I wrong to be hurt by this?  After all, one is supposed to forgive the slights of friends, the same give-and-take of any relationship.

Whatever, it stings, and that’s just the way it is.

[I still haven’t figured out if I’m right or wrong or a bad friend or what.  I mean, of course I got over it, they’re my friends.  Does it make me a bad person that I thought it sucked when everyone dropped out?  I know they felt bad about it, and the trip turned out just fine.  Still, I feel guilty for feeling bad about my friends not being there.  What do you think?]

* * *

I’ve come anyway.  Why give up a perfectly good camping reservation?

I did cancel the second site for Saturday night, though.  That moneys gone, and while I briefly considered just leaving it vacant for some peace and quiet, I elected to free it up.  This may have been a mistake: tonight three fathers and several teenage boys have moved in.  I can only imagine what tomorrow night will bring.

At least they’re pretty quiet and well-behaved.

[And went to bed early.  Thank God.]

* * *

Maybe, on balance, this is a good thing.

I’ve talked before about my lack of desire to take this trip alone, while simultaneously accepting that was just how things were going to be.

So maybe its good that I’ve been forced to take these three days solo.  I did, after all, spend the majority of my twenties traveling solo.  Perhaps this will remind me of how much I enjoyed those trips.

Yet… I cannot help but think about the fact that I was such a late bloomer, and that those solo travels were before I knew the pleasure of traveling with others.  Once one has experienced that, thrived in that, can one ever go back?

[Guess we’ll find out soon enough, eh?]

* * *

There’s something else I find myself wondering, then feeling oddly guilty about doing so.

I wonder if the events of the past few days, of my friends bailing on me, is yet another clue that I need to leave L.A.

Then, I immediately feel bad for thinking it.  After all, as prevalent as it might be, flakiness is not the exclusive providence of Los Angeles.  Nor are my friends I would ordinarily consider “flaky”.

And its entirely possible that I’m taking this both entirely too personally and entirely too seriously.  I’m not above admitting to that.

Still, is it wrong that I feel like, if you’ve committed to a trip, you shouldn’t bail on that trip just because something better came along?

Or are my standards too high?

Whatever.  I won’t hold it against them.  Though, it may be a week or two before I want to hang out with them again.

[It wasn’t that long.  But it was a while before I did another group invitation… and no one made it to that either!  LOL]



  1. GH, you are a very forgiving person. I am not sure if I would have let it go as easily. It would be one thing if your friends were honest about their change of plans.

  2. i think that is why…
    in a city of ten (or so) million people…
    that i have so very few friends.

    my real best friends (puppies) are always excited to go anywhere i want =]

  3. I think you have a right to be at least miffed (if they cancelled on vague plans) and downright irritated (if they cancelled on solid plans). I also think that, if these people are your friends, you could have said, in a friendly way, that you made these plans for all of you, and to have them bail both hurt your feelings and cost you time/money. May be too late now to say anything, but I think a brief and low-key conversation at the time would have been useful.

    As for making group plans in the future, well, I’d be hesitant, too. If I decided to go ahead, I’d tell these friends that I needed a solid commitment (perhaps with a cash contribution, if you’re reserving space) by x date. If anyone gets stinky about it, you can say (again, a calm and low-key manner), “Hey, you bailed last time; I’m just trying to nail this all down.”

    And if they don’t respond well to that, then I’d probably forgo any future group-plan-making with them. Doesn’t mean you’re not friends; just means you’ve run up against one of the boundaries of those friendships.

  4. You’re entitled to feel hurt. Real friends forgive, but real friends also don’t cancel plans last minute for “better” plans. Don’t stew over it, especially since it seems like you had a decent time alone, but still. You’re allowed to be hurt.

  5. This is why I am glad my sister plans our group camp and group ski trips…even when people don’t bail out, it is still a huge pain. Especially ski trips. One year I helped my sister and we had a complicated spreadsheet of everyone’s share. This person is coming Tuesday – Thursday so they are paying this much, This person already has a lift ticket so they are paying x a day. This person is sleeping on the floor so they get a discount. Then somone drops out and ALL of the calculations change. It is a thankless job…and you get all the complaints.

  6. If you ever need someone to camp with in San Diego, let me know.

  7. I’m possibly a horrible person, but my first reaction was “that’s not real friends.” My second reaction was “you need to change friends.” My third was to try and not type this, and I failed.

  8. I’ve had the same thoughts about LA too. When I have friends that flake out on me, I think, I should leave LA… but then I remember people are kind of flaky everywhere. In my goodbye party in San Francisco, (before moving to LA) a lot of people flaked on that. Only my closest friends were there. And yet, when I come back to visit SF, everyone wants to see me… yet, when I did live there, it wasn’t like I was hanging out w/ these people all the time.

    I think your really close friends would go to the trip, I just had a new “friend” flake out on me to hang out w/ some “guy”. Yep, I don’t care anymore about that. I have friends that won’t flake on me, although, they are hard to come by, and most of them don’t live in LA… which brings me back to, should I leave LA? I think LA has too many options, and people flake out for a better option. I think this also applies to dating… which I am (this close) to completely give up on living here in LA.

  9. GH – I think it’s interesting to see your emotions and logical analysis battling it out over the friend question. You felt upset that they dropped out, and then you questioned your reaction, which caused you to feel guilty for being upset. Then you questioned your guilt. You’re seeking the rules and criteria to justify either your initial reaction (anger), or guilt at being angry (notice the anger remained either way). I’d say that unless your anger at them did not immediately wane upon analysis, then you were justified to some degree. That test would only work on someone like you who questioned their emotions, not on people who live within their emotions and fail to step outside to analyze themselves at all. This is the private mental chaos I am in each day – a constant battle between emotions, analysis, and then failure of analysis to change emotions, resulting in a semi-panicked state of being. My next tactic is denial and avoidance. Wish me luck.

  10. You have every right to be hurt and maybe even irritated. I’ve had friends flake on me before and I was so annoyed. When you make plans and commit to something, that means you follow through. You don’t cancel for something better, especially when you’re cancelling on a friend. I agree that it might be too late now to say something, but I wouldn’t make any further group plans. I also agree that this doesn’t sound like something a friend would do. You are not over-reacting.

  11. If I put time into planning something and I’m looking forward to it – and then my friends cancel, I get PISSED. And I make it known to them usually. I booked an extra room for my bachelorette party (and offered to foot the bill for a friend who has money problems) then the friend decided she was going to leave halfway through and not spend the night. I went off on her. She’s an old friend, so this is a repetitive pattern with her – if it’d been a newer friend I wouldn’t have been so harsh. But my point is, people shouldn’t just be allowed to flake out when you’ve put time, effort and money into planning something for them (which they previously agreed to attend). I think you had every right to be mad.

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