the circular runner

laughter and friendship in San Francisco

In humor, life, observations on February 27, 2012 at 1:22 pm

Most, if not all, of the friends I have ever made–real and lasting friends, and by that, I mean, the non-virtual type–I knew almost immediately I’d be friends with.  Who knows why this is?  I know more than once I’ve been warned by well-meaning people that I might be limiting myself somehow. Give people second and third chances, etc.  But I can’t help it.  I meet people and I know (or I don’t.)  As I’ve gotten older, I realize that this is a two-way process.  (Yes, self-centered Libra that I am, I can see past myself once in a while.) The people I meet might not be interested in me, either. In fact, I’d be willing to bet that that is exactly the case.  They sense that they can’t be friends with me just as I sense the same in them.

When I was young, this process drove me nuts. I like being liked, even by people who I don’t like very much.  To a degree, I’ve outgrown that.  But getting older, the problem is that I find less opportunities to even get that far.  I work as a teacher, so most days, apart from my wife (who is stuck with me or was wooed by my charms depending on the day) my social time is limited to young people who are family to me but who I cannot be friends with.  When I’m not teaching, I write, which is no-bueno for the friend-making.  I guess I could make friends with the people who also come here to this coffee place to work, but that’s kind of the point, we all come to a public space to do lonely work but we don’t want to be sidetracked from that lonely work even if we are lonely.  Did you get that?

Part of the problem is that my wife and I moved to a lovely city in which we knew hardly anyone.  San Fran is great, but like any city, you can live anonymously if you like, which because I am a writer who works alone, is cool until it isn’t.

All of this is prelude to the last couple months. I decided last year, I would make a lifelong ambition come true and I would get my stories onto some kind of film/video medium.  I wrote my first screenplay in October and have since had it filmed. This Saturday it will show at a small festival here in the city. There’s much to tell about that experience, and I will give up the details in a future post.  But before I focus on the product, I just want to say publicly that part of the reason I think I’m meant to write stories that are not limited to words on pages–be they webisodes, graphic novels, or film, is that apart from feeling natural when writing stories that require collaboration, I have already made two friends who I could see as being added to my pantheon of instant friendship.

Last Friday, I went out with one of them, and I know it sounds like complete common sense to say this, but I laughed. I mean on-the-floor, hold-my-increasingly-large-gut laughter of the kind you do when you click with the person in front of you .

I’m going to be really mushy here, but I am mushy, even if I hide behind cynicism sometimes.  Laughter is such a gift. I have a few friends back in NYC where I lived for a decade, who readily hand me that bounty, but it’s been slim pickings here in the City by the Bay.  I don’t hold it against SF. I guess I’m making my way.  Finally.

  1. It’s like speed-dating. They say it’s all about chemistry, that it takes less than a minute to know and words need not be involved, in fact. You can just smell if you click with someone or not.

    I know what you mean about the friends. It has taken me years to make my little gang of really good friends, and I never moved.

    Where and when will your film be shown? Us locals might try to attend.

  2. It is a wonderful feeling to meet someone and know that you will click. But as I get older it’s become increasingly rare. Most of my friends (mostly writers, of course) are people that I’ve taken a while to get to know. Perhaps it takes that long at this age to find the common ground.

    Best of luck with the screening.

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