The Rashomon Effect and the Ill-Fated Blogger Sleepover
By Too Many Fish to Fry on December 08, 2011
I am proud of this unintended blog hop of sorts, which gives three different perspectives of the same event. Not only are the posts a testament to how strong the bonds of friendship can be, but I believe there’s some insight here about how everyone’s history plays into their engagement with friends.
I have always been fascinated by the idea of a one-time event told from more than one point of view. I always try so hard to put myself in others’ shoes. And often fail. But my experiences with infertility and loss taught me many things and one of them is: you never understand what someone is going through until you are truly in their head. And no one can ever be in anyone’s head unless a blogger or writer is willing to be bold enough to put you there.
Here are the facts:
- Bodega Bliss, Stumbling Gracefully and I became great, real-life friends. We met through Stirrup Queens' ICLW (probably in December/January of this year: none of us are exactly sure of the date).
- Although we don’t live in the general vicinity, we live close enough to meet up in coordinated, concerted efforts.
- None of us meet as often as we’d like because of logistical challenges.
- Stumbling Gracefully, upon realizing that her partner Mi.Vida and my husband Darcy would BOTH be out of town the same weekend coordinated a sleepover at my house with Bodega, myself and herself so we could have some quality time all together.
- Darcy came back earlier than expected.
If you are not familiar with “Rashomon effect,” here is what you need to know. The famed Japanese director Akira Kurosawa wrote and directed Rashomon in 1950, and the movie tells the story of a crime in four different stories, based on what each character or victim saw and felt. According to Wikipedia: “The stories are mutually contradictory and not even the final version can be seen as unmotivated by factors of ego and face.”
Here is my perception of the event:
I have been burned by friends in the past and have a hard time trusting friendships in general. I had placed a lot of stock in this sleepover: my husband travels frequently and works many hours, I’m a stay-at-home mom of young twins and I don’t get out much. I had cleaned the house within an inch of its life, dealt with Darcy’s early arrival, talked him into making dinner with me and bathed the twins and dressed them really cute. Then I dealt with Darcy’s freakout about a late birthday the twins had to go to and the fact we had no time to cook. I assured him we could order pizza. I could not wait for my girl time to begin!
Until I read on Twitter:
@StumblingGrace: I've been ready to leave the house for 30 minutes but I can't because I can't find my wallet and keys. Seriously!?
As I was trying not to freak out because Darcy had not gotten back from the grocery store (this was before we realized dinner was not going to be possible), I got a text from Stumbling Gracefully:
“I can’t come. I can’t find my wallet. I’ve been looking for almost 45 mins. It’s nowhere.”
You know how people talk about their hearts sinking? Mine literally did. I was breathless for about a minute, just utterly and ridiculously disappointed by her text.
I immediately emailed Bodega, to make sure she could still come. Luckily, she could. It’s hard to say exactly how much I needed to see her.
Darcy returned laden with grocery bags. I told him about Stumbling Gracefully, someone he adores and admires. “Yeah, she just didn’t want to come,” he replied. “She’s probably just too tired from hanging out with other people. She’s like xxx and xxx.” (Examples of flakey friends from the past.) I could tell that his own heart had sunk. Esperanza is a London friend. Darcy and I had amazing friends as a couple when we lived in London, and have not had friendships like that until Stumbling Gracefully and Mi.Vida. We never had to put on a show for our London friends (all ex-pats like ourselves), or pretend to be fun (we're pretty dull) or super happy or engage in small talk (we both suck at small talk) or politely disagree about politics. We could be ourselves: debate, talk obsessively about sports (Darcy), gossip about celebrities (me), laugh really noisily and generally act like idiots.
Luckily, Bodega is also a London friend. She entertained Darcy with tales of blogs she liked, we talked in much detail about food and baking. We all had a great time joking and talking really loudly. I thank the heavens each day that I made friends like this. I never would have found them without blogging.
Anyway, as the tweets and texts flew, I realized that Darcy was wrong about Stumbling Gracefully. She deeply wanted to be with us. She had NOT flaked out. In fact, his theory could not be less the case. As she said on Twitter:
@StumblingGrace: Wow, I just cancelled plans to sleep over at @2manyfish2fry with @bodegabliss b/c I can't find my wallet and keys. And now I'm sobbing.
Then, she posted this. Please read it. Because I think all the times someone flaked on me, probably something like this was in the background. I also feel when someone bails on me, it’s a matter of bigger/better. Like, someone had a better time with someone more fun than me. A social climber dumps me to hang out with a richer fish, a mom friend dumps me because I’m too… something. I have been so detached from people because of fear. My fear of rejection is huge.
So I hope maybe this story from three perspectives might help. Please don’t close your mind and heart to someone. Anyone. You probably don’t know what’s in their heart and in their mind.
The author writes at Too Many Fish to Fry.
Photo Credit: Two Pairs of Slippers via Shutterstock.