I’ve said before that one of my favorite pastimes is committing my future self to obligations I’ll regret, and now I’ve got the perfect accompanying anecdote.
After my accounting final on the 15th—the last possible day for university finals—and a post-final “celebratory” dinner with friends, during which I not only encountered the travesty that is small plates dining but also repeatedly had my pleas of “could we please stop talking about accounting now” acknowledged by “anyway, so what’d you get for question fourteen?” Still a nice time, but I learned a lot about myself, namely that no one respects me or my coping mechanism of ignorance.
After we parted ways in front of my apartment, I walked upstairs, slid into my chair, and thought about how summer had finally begun. As it was the last day of finals, everyone not staying in Austin over break had already left town.
The time I’d have. The freedom. The relaxation.
I began to spastically Google unintelligible phrases like “things do summer activities UT” to see if I might be able to join an existing hangout group. The first result was from Reddit, 23 hours ago. Someone had posted my exact question on the subreddit (forum) for students at my campus.
Post Author: Are there any summer activities/clubs for non-UT students? I’ll be interning in Austin, and no one on staff is my age!
I commented that I’d been looking for the same thing, to which he responded by asking if I’d want to make a GroupMe (group chat app.) I created one and commented with the link.
For a couple of days it was just three people in the group (PA, me, and a lurker.) We’d briefly introduced ourselves, but they wouldn’t be in town for another week, and the conversation fizzled. PA offered to put the GroupMe link as a separate post so more people could join.
The next day, three had become ten. Then 25. Then 50. Then 90. People were joining every minute. One girl started adding what I figured was her cast of Facebook friends. Messages with suggested activities disappeared within seconds as new people popped up and began introducing themselves to the group.
Me: I didn’t sign up for this.
Friend: Isn’t creating the GroupMe practically the definition of “signing up for this?”
Me: Okay, but I was expecting this to be maybe fifteen people. Not ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY.
Me: And even so, I was thinking more from a Deistic standpoint.
Me: Like I create the GroupMe and don’t intervene in anything, just let everything run by itself. Creation with no responsibility. The clockmaker analogy—
Friend: Did you just compare yourself to God?
… Okay, I wouldn’t have had to had I known what I’d “signed up for.” With the newfound responsibility I didn’t ask for, I started researching nearby events and posting in the group. I planned basic logistics for casual meetups. Only when I noticed myself thinking about the group members in terms of a marketing audience (college students are tough to motivate, especially with the inertia that comes with a large group chat) did I realize, horrified, that this had become a job.
I don’t regret creating the group, of course. While I haven’t met most of the lurking members, I’ve hung out with a few regulars. We went to Blues on the Green, a free monthly outdoors music festival that played, obviously, hard rock. We went swing dancing. We attempted Ultimate Frisbee, which was really just 30 minutes of regular frisbee because we were lacking in numbers and willpower under the sun. We strategized how to get more people to actually come out, considering they’d probably just joined for the cancelling-plans high.
Friend 2: At least now you’ve got enough to occupy your time.
Me: Oh, the morning after I created that GroupMe I remembered all the other summer commitments I’d forgotten about. So that wasn’t actually a problem.
Friend 2: Still, kind of funny this is where you ended up. With great power comes great responsibility.
What power? There was only responsibility. When looking for summer activities, I wanted to be passive. I wanted other people to post opportunities that I could decide whether I wanted to do and instead I was doing the work for them. I didn’t even really have privileges as group creator. Except…
Me: *slowly smiles*
Friend 2: Why are you making that face?
Me: What if I made you the admin?
Friend 2: No. Oh, no. No no nO NO NO—
And voila, I’d wrested back control. Fear is power, my friends.
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