In high school, Hopkins used to do this thing to me and it drove me nuts. It's not like I didn't set myself up for failure, but I was a cockeyed optimist about it. I wanted to believe he wouldn't let me down, kind of on the order of Charlie Brown continuing to try to kick the football which Lucy always yanks out of his way at the last second. To wit, I'd ask him to dances and he'd stand me up.
The thing that I hadn't quite gotten a handle on back then was that with Hopkins, one has to state it without embellishment. One cannot hint or allude. There was none of this, "I think I'll go to the dance after the ballgame on Friday," or "Homecoming is next Friday night," or "There's a dance at the end of this Co-ed Y thing"...it was "Are you going to the dance?" to which he generally responded, "Maybe," or "I might," which I finally realized after several futile attempts translates as "No."
In all fairness, there were a couple of exceptions. I believe in both of those cases, I not only issued a direct invitation, it was backed up by an additional invitation by the hostess of the event. He confirmed and then he did materialize at the correct time and location. This was just good enough to restore hope in order for me to lay the groundwork for the next failure.
I had a momentary lapse of judgment yesterday and issued a direct invitation to him for the final performance of "The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy", having dropped a couple of ridiculously unsubtle hints about it before. I've heard it through the grapevine that he's considering showing up...but radio silence (no response so far) indicates that this could very well turn out like so many other things in the past.
I'm trying really hard to be optimistic, but so help me God, if anyone plays Madonna's "Crazy For You" during rehearsal I will take it as a cosmic sign that he's not coming. More than a quarter-century later, I still associate that specific song with being stood up by Hopkins: that was the last song, at the last dance, the last time I put myself in that position. Between that and Billy Joel's "For the Longest Time", he has his own soundtrack- although there is a recent addition in the form of "Fifty Ways to Say Goodbye", because it includes the line: "She fell out of an airplane/got eaten by a lion/got run over by a crappy purple Scion". He drives the eponymous Scion, by which I half expect to be run over at some point.
Given that the last time we saw each other, I fell down a flight of stairs, I'm not so sure this is an awesome idea...but the fact that he tried to shuffle off this mortal coil a few years back scared the crap out of me and I really, really want to see him again. I can't seem to make him understand that I don't care about things not having turned out the way he planned (beyond how he feels about it, that is- I'm a fan of Burns, ergo his plans didn't just aft gang alay...they went spectacularly awry), as long as he's got a roof over his head, food on the plate, and a job to go to every day. I don't consider it 'embarrassed circumstances'-it's 'just the way things are', and since that currently includes the 'still among the living' option, I'm perfectly fine.
Bottom line, I'm an old pro, and the show must go on- presence or absence notwithstanding. It'd just be nice to see him again.