I missed my first show on Sunday night. I've missed open-mics of course, but last night was the first time that I was booked on a show, and then missed it.
I had verbally agreed to do it before Thanksgiving, and then at some point over the past few weeks, I just forgot that I was doing a show on the first Sunday in December.
I remember when I got my first ever day job, when I was living in DC, and the first time I slept through my alarm. I literally got woken up by my boss calling me. Rather than give myself even 5 seconds to gather myself, I answered the phone immediately. I answered with that obvious, this-is-the-first-time-I'm-trying-to-talk-today voice. And I yelled - YELLED - at my boss, in a panicked voice: "I slept in!!"
I didn't know what was supposed to happen next. It was my first time being late as a grown-up. Remember that 8th grade teacher - the mean one, that would give you a zero if you turned in your homework late? She said that’s how the real world worked. It’s all-or-nothing. You don’t get half-credit for building a crappy bridge, her poster-sized comic strip cartoon told us.
But if she was right...why did the other 5 teachers accept it, no problem? Was she right? Should I even bother coming in? Was I fired? Would I ever be forgiven? Would this go on my permanent record, just like those detentions would have?
It's 5 years later now, so I don't have the same level of panic. People understand that we're all human. So I'll text the booker and apologize, now that I'm awake and it's the next day. I may shoot him an e-mail as well. And when I see him in person, I'll offer him a genuine apology. Because it really does suck to book someone and then have them not show up. It's annoying, and it makes you want to book anyone else the next time you put on a show.
I get that. But after the fact, I can do two things: 1) I can be genuinely sorry, and 2) I can evaluate what caused me to screw up.
In this case, I won't bore you with the details of my journey through my mind (usually I'd write 8 pages about it). I'll just suggest that if the same thing ever happens to you, you should do two things:
1) Feel shitty about it.
2) Don't feel too shitty about it.
One time in DC, I missed a show, and that night I decided to quit watching sports or playing video games for one year. And two weeks later, I was quitting my job and moving across the country.
Not all missed shows deserve that response. But every missed show means you should look at what made you miss it. And if it's something that could make you miss another one in the future…then yeah, it's probably time for some changes.
So I'm thinking. And I'll do what I can to not let it happen again.