According to the event invite I was sent, the whole thing was starting at 6:30am and there was buckley's chance I was going to get there that early so I checked if it would be OK if I could get there around 8:30-9:00am. Yes that's fine, they said, but could you please be available til it ends? No problems. Let's rock and roll.
It took me a whole hour to get there so I was ten minutes later than I expected. Being late is one of my major fears. I pride myself on being reliable and on time, so if I'm late for anything (including flights) I freak out. I walked in to find the dregs of a crowd milling round and having a chat. It was all over. Panic stations.
I walked up to the roped off area and was looked up and down by the manager. I smiled nervously. She completely ignored me and continued talking to who ever it was that was standing next to her. I asked if I could please get through and she looked at me like I was just there to try and score a free coffee, and took a half step to the side so I could squeeze through.
The few people left were chatting in their own little groups so I stood there alone feeling like a third wheel. I started having a bit of a panic attack. People with R U OK? Day shirts looked at me and with my body language and face saying "help me", they quickly looked away. Did I have something on my face? Was there spinach in my teeth or something?
Standing there, very obviously not OK at an R U OK? Day event and no one gave a shit, too consumed in their own conversations. The irony is not lost on me.
Only one person came up to me - Will, a Gloria Jeans employee. He asked if he could help me and after telling him I was late and I'd missed it he asked if I'd like a drink. I considered asking for vodka but settled on a hot chocolate which he went and got for me. One bloody person spoke to me because they were being paid to.
I was really aware that I'd said I would be there and blog it and that I was letting people down. So I sat down, drank my hot chocolate while blinking away my tears (sending texts to Map Guy telling him what was happening) and calmed myself down before asking a volunteer why it was over so early. She said that it was always going to be 8:00-9:00am. Right.
So why was I told turning up at 9:00-11:00am would be fine? I was no longer sad... I was angry. I organized a babysitter and drove for an hour to do this. All for nothing.
I decided to get proof that I'd at least gone so I had a paparazzi moment and a quick chat with Hockeyroo Rachael Lynch who was lovely and not only knew what a blog was but has one herself and asked what I blogged about.
|Rachael Lynch looking gorgeous and me with puffy eyes from nearly crying|
Overall, I was really disappointed. If you want someone to live blog your event an accurate time would be helpful. And if you see someone trying not to cry at your event about depression, maybe you could start practicing what you preach.
My bad experience aside, I still believe whole heartedly in the concept and the meaning behind the day, even if it is somewhat lacking in tangible ways to finish or continue the conversation they're asking us to start. So ask someone. Start that conversation. Do it today and keep doing it.
EDIT: I'm thinking that they never received my email checking that I could come at 8:30-9:00am and only the original one when I was talking about arriving at 8:00am. I have to believe that. Otherwise I feel too let down. Still would have been nice to know that an event with a four hour time span according to the invite was actually only one hour.