There is, I am told, a common aphorism from HCI, "the user is not like me". It's helpful to generalize that to the obvious tautology "other people are not (necessarily) like me".
So, I thought about some analagous cases, and realized that I would not feel the least bit upset in any of the following scenarios:
- None of my family or friends shows up to any past or future graduation.
- None of my family or friends shows up to me getting married.
- Maybe some of them show up, but wear no particular (i.e. formal) dress.
- I am given no sort of funeral or wake or anything like that.
- Any of the above hypotheitcal nonattendances occur for totally base, pragmatic reasons, i.e. don't feel like paying for plane tickets.
So I tried to come up with some generalization of what it is that I'm not caring about that other people seem to when they care about people showing up to important events in their life. I don't actually think it's the issue of physical presence of people that I don't care about; I do like talking to people face-to-face in ways that are irreplacable by phone, email, etc.
I think it's more about timing. I just don't feel inclined to care about people being with me at a certain time. Moreover, I don't really like ceremonializing events in the first place, besides, or being required to dress a certain way, but I guess those are different issues.