Thursday, April 24, 2008

My friend Dan is a rare type in LA. He never flakes. In fact, he’s the most diligent dude I know. If we make plans, Dan’ll call two days ahead of time to confirm, then e-mail the day before, then again that morning, and call twice more beforehand. By the time we hang out, I’m almost sick of him.

We do actually hang out, though. I’ve known other people like that -- follow-up-fanatics -- who typically don’t show up. I think they’re just trying to find an excuse to flake. Checking in as a way to be checking out.

Dan’s just a super-thorough guy, and super-nice, too. How can I complain about constant confirmations a couple of weeks ago when it was all about my birthday? He wanted to make sure I was still available for him to take me out to eat and give me a gift. Hey, if there’s a free lunch involved, call all you want. E-mail. Text me. IM. Use semaphore and smoke signals, just gimme my swag.

And I was happy to reciprocate the generosity for his birthday last weekend. But Dan said he was going out of town, back to Jersey to be with his family for the occasion, so he suggested we get together when he got back. Specifically, yesterday – Wednesday. Which meant I’d get multiple messages on Monday and two hundred more on Tuesday.

But I didn’t hear from Dan all week. I had left him an e-mail message listing our favorite restaurants and greasy spoons as choices for his birthday lunch -- or would he prefer I fly out to his hometown, which is near the Sopranos stomping grounds, and we go to Satriale’s Pork Store? No answer.

I tried to contact Dan several times, emulating the uber-e-mailer. But the roles were hardly reversed, because when he floods my inbox, I always respond.

This started to freak me out. Something had to be wrong. Plane crash? Illness? Alien abduction? Paulie Walnuts?

Late last night, he finally wrote me back to reschedule, saying, “Sorry, I was traveling all day and was incommunicado. Did we say we were having lunch today? I must’ve mixed up the dates.”

I was relieved, but I was also right. Something was wrong. Aliens replaced Diligent Dan from Jersey with the Familiar Flakiness of La-La Land.


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