Thank God, honey, They Cancelled…Yippee!

Today’s NY Times style section included a story by Alex Williams about the joys of cancelled appointments.

“Who among the harried professional class does not breathe a secret sigh of relief when drinks with an old friend, lunch with a potential client or a Saturday dinner party with college classmates falls through? Driven by 12-hour workdays, never-ending networking “opportunities,” work that follows us home on the Internet and the Treo, not to mention weekends crammed with kids’ play dates and dinner parties, many people are admitting that one of modern life’s most underappreciated joys is to be dropped by others, at least occasionally and when done in the right spirit.

The act of canceling a meeting or dinner date can constitute the most precious gift one busy professional can bestow on another. Both parties tacitly acknowledge that the empty calendar is the greatest luxury of all, one that even the rich — especially the rich — can’t buy.

“Of course people love it,” said Beth Rudin DeWoody, an art collector and busy supporter of the arts in New York. “We’re all overwhelmed.”

In recent years, she said, invitations to fund-raisers seem to have quadrupled, as new charities pop up and old ones ramp up fund-raising efforts. More invitations mean more hope that something — anything — will be canceled, even commitments with friends who, one would hope, share the same feelings. “There’s no guilt involved,” Ms. DeWoody said. “So many times we all make commitments, then when the time comes we say, ‘Oh, God, I’d really rather stay home and watch TV.’ “