Dear former classmate/distant relative I haven’t seen in years/social media acquaintance:
Its been awhile, I know. So I understand the excitement you must have felt when you saw I was going to be in/near/within a half days drive of you last week. And I totally agree that it would have been a blast to go on a day long tour of your town/do some shopping/swing by the house to meet your family/grab a few drinks and reminisce about old times – but it simply wasn’t meant to be.
That’s because I never called you or tell you I was in town. And yes, that kind of makes me a jerk.
But before you write off our friendship or put me on blast on social media, let me explain my side of the story.
I just couldn’t do it – my schedule didn’t allow for it.
Okay, yes… you are correct that I could have taken a different flight. And I had to eat, of course. And it certainly looked like I had plenty of time to post that Instagram photo that was taken right down the street from where you could have met me.
But that wasn’t going to work for me.
You see, when you live life out of a suitcase quite frequently, there are a lot of things that have to swing to balance that out. It’s not like going on vacation where there is infinite time to explore and relax. I still have to squeeze in my 8+ hours of work (realistically 10-12 or even more on some road days) – and the time I spend running through airports or sitting out delays or driving between locations doesn’t count. That means what looks like “free” time really becomes my “catch up on 120 emails” time. Or my “I need to get this expense report in tonight or I won’t be able to pay my credit card bill” time. Or my “I can’t believe they moved that deadline” time. Or my “yes, I’m really having a conference call with my colleague at 8 pm” time.
And that, on many evenings, is why I didn’t call you. Although I’m sure your husband DOES grill a mean steak, I was eating takeout at the local Courtyard and catching up on my day.
Oh…. but you saw that photo taken from the cool restaurant downtown. The one you’ve been dying to try and would have gotten a sitter and everything just to come out and meet me while I was in town.
I’d have loved to invite you…. but it was a work thing. Maybe this time I was catching up for dinner with a colleague from another office. Or entertaining a client. Or attending a networking event. Yes, sometimes my game face stays on late in the day – although I’m sure it would have been more fun with you (and I probably could have ordered that extra glass of wine I really needed!)
But while we are being honest with each other, I’m going to confess something else too… sometimes I just want to be by myself. I might need a bit of gym time. Or I want to catch up on Netflix. Or I just want to put a mask on my face and eat room service in my pajamas.
It’s not you, it’s me.
Everyone needs a good night to themselves occasionally. And sometimes, a hotel room on the road is the only place I’m going to get it. Yes, I realize I might only have this one night in your town…. but my schedule can often be one long string of “one nights”. After a long day of dealing with travel or meetings or deadlines, sometimes I just need to unwind.
I hope you understand that my not calling has nothing to do with you – I had my reasons for not telling you I was in town – namely that I didn’t want to explain all of this. But I still value our friendship. And perhaps NEXT time we can make plans… as long as you understand that when I’m there, work does have to come first.