A couple of years ago, I wrote in this very space about a social-planning syndrome that has plagued our city for years, so much so that it has its own name: the BC Bail. That’s when a person makes plans with friends but cancels at the last minute, usually by text message. It’s stressed that the reason for cancelling is something serious, but in reality it could be as lame as glancing away from The Crown for two seconds and noticing it’s raining.
Well, guess what, everyone? We’ve managed to take our unwillingness to socialize with each other one notch below the BC Bail. It’s something I call the Vancouver Intention. That’s when you run into friends on the street and eagerly say, “We should totally have you guys over!” or “We really need to sit down and have a drink!” or “We should get together for brunch sometime!”
Your friends will respond with equal enthusiasm. “Absolutely! Yes, let’s do it! It’s been way too long, right?” Then both parties go their separate ways and no plans are ever confirmed. This is not to be confused with “ghosting,” because the intention to get together is relatively genuine. But that’s socializing in Vancouver these days: talking about getting together but not actually getting together – which is often good enough for a lot of people.
Maybe brunch is the problem. It’s everyone’s favourite meal, which means it’s near impossible to easily go out with a group of people in this town and actually get it. From the Naam in the west, to Red Wagon in the east, to Café Medina in the middle, the line-ups are like at Disneyland. The intention to go for brunch is there, but really, who wants to bother?
Kelsey Klassen, the editor of this very paper, admits that she is “horribly guilty” of the Vancouver Intention. “When I lived in Australia, my ex and I had full on arguments about how rude and insincere this seemed to him, whereas at home it’s a weird version of being polite or friendly.”
Soraya Thomas, a friend of mine who’s married with two busy kids, has made a New Year’s resolution to actively fight against the Vancouver Intention. “I want to make a real effort to spend time with the friends I care about this year.”
Okay, so forget about brunch on the town, but what about a dinner party at your place? If you live in Kits and your friends live in North Burnaby, that’s practically different time zones, so forget them. But if you can find friends in your neighbourhood, you could always try the Crappy Dinner Party.
The “crappy event movement” is something professor Alex Samur has recently embraced. It’s an attempt to make socializing less daunting. Don’t clean up your place. Use the food that’s in your fridge. Call your friends last-minute and invite them over for dinner. Go through your contacts until someone bites, literally. BOOM! You’re actually socializing.
The other night, we put Soraya’s resolution to the test. It was Saturday at 5:30pm, and the text went out from our family to theirs: “Do you want to come over for dinner right now?” Three minutes of silence. “Yes! We’re coming!” We all had a blast.
Do your part to end the Vancouver Intention and the BC Bail: Make actual plans and stick to them. And if you own a popular brunch spot in this town, do us all a favour and take reservations, for f—k’s sake!