Well, I think maybe I'm officially depressed.
On Thursday night, a planned CBD Meetup of local bloggers attracted just a handful of positive RSVPs - which dwindled to only two by the morning of the meeting. I emailed the only other person who was coming and said he might want an early night instead. Then I realised that if anyone did send a last minute RSVP - as has happened in the past - I had no way to find out (work's firewall blocks all social networking sites) and a brand new person would turn up to find nobody at the coffee shop. So I had to turn up anyway...
My emergency back up plan - to catch an Internet friend for coffee also failed miserably (I got stood up) - and I ended up in exactly the dilemma I had sought to avoid: standing around in the cold in the city when everyone else - even the coffee shop's regular crowd - was at home snuggled in front of the TV and heater.
You know, I avoided the recent remake of "I Am Legend" because I heard the featured character ends up wandering a deserted Manhattan, New York. (That was me in Sydney on Thursday night, but I no longer feel like a legend.)
This is sounding bitter but, in these days of mobile phones, the way we all run our lives is changing. To the opposite of Meetup.com's ambitions, we all seem to rely to much on spontaneity and coincidence. Someone else I know (only "virtually") is always saying he "really wants to meet up" with the Star Trek group soon, but he's just emailed me that he's still unable to give any advance dates.
I'm fighting a losing battle. In one Meetup group I run, two members with young families want Saturday meetings. But one is in the inner city; and the other is in the west, and neither want to travel. How many others in our group are willing or able to travel to either event? Who knows? (From experience, not that many.)
Sorry if I sound jaded but I've spent way too many days sitting on park benches wondering where everyone else is. I've been at Meetups (and not official "Meetups") either by myself, or with only one or two others. Especially annoying when we've been expecting 20 or so). I've sat in parkland settings in Lane Cove, Parramatta Park, Royal Botanic Gardens, Manly Beach and many coffee shops and pubs over the years. Thank goodness I have my Star Trek novel with me. I've just endured almost a year's worth of solo "Lost" meetings and solo bloggers' meetings (in the CBD) and solo Art workshop meetings (here at my place in the West). In most cases I'm told at least six to eight people are "definitely" turning up - and it ends up being just me, or just me and one other. And it's almost always a different "one other". If only all the "others" turned up on the same day!
Now I'm even attracting "serial Meetup joiners", who seem to get their kicks out of RSVPing "Yes" to Meetups all over Sydney and yet have absolutely no intention of coming along.
On this Sunday, I'm heading off on a train to a Bloggers meeting in Albion Park near Wollongong. I invited over 140 people through my two blogging Meetup groups several months ago, to meet people from the new bloggers' bbs. What a grand adventure! When we planned it months ago - to give people maximum time to plan their social calendars - I thought I'd be leading an entourage. Guess how many of my members are doing the train journey with me? NONE. In fact, only one member (and his wife) is still going. I'm really hoping the Canberrans turn up from the other direction, and I really hope/assume the Sydney-based people organising it will be there.
Well, in the wee hours of this morning, I put Parramatta and CBD Saturday gatherings on the schedule for the Star Trek gang, and hopefully some members (beyond the Thursday night regulars, who are usually quite regular) will surprise me by RSVPing. I'll hold my breath, but only until I turn blue.