Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Community Cravings

Last Friday night, I was running an errand up near my beloved hometown and I ran smack dab into my cousin and her two sons. We were both at Home Goods and ended up goofing around for a good thirty minutes in the store together. Even though it was 9:00 at night.

It made me miss Montrose.

That's the town I lived in for 8 years before I moved in with Mr. Wonderful. My grandmother's father was one of the first real estate developers there, so my family has lived in the vicinity for 3 (or rather 4 if you count my nieces) generations.

It is virtually impossible for me not to run in to familiar faces on the streets up there. So it wasn't a huge surprise to see my cousin out shopping.

These things don't happen to me in Hollywood.

The past several times I've gone to Montrose to see friends or family, I feel a little ache in my gut. It's a very charming small town (the main street is the one Will Ferrell went streaking down in Old School) with tree-lined streets and neat little houses. It feels safe and inviting. Cozy. Like home. Mr. Wonderful often calls it Mayberry.

But I realized on Friday night that the quaintness of the town isn't why I miss it. I don't want to move back. Don't want to retire there.

What I miss is the community it holds. The connections I have there—from high school, from my college coffeehouse job, from family and friends of family. It's really neat to know so many people in such a small space.

It seems to me that one can create a similar sense of community almost anywhere. People do it in their neighborhoods in New York City. And even when they live miles apart from neighbors out in the country. There has to be a way for me to cultivate that in Hollywood. I'm just not entirely sure how.

I know people routinely develop little friend circles by frequenting bars or particular shops or gyms or yoga studios. Sadly, I'm not ├╝ber motivated to do any of those things. I think I'm more drawn to trying to meet friends of friends in the area. I do know some great people in town. The Boss and his awesome wife live just a few blocks from us and have had me over for some fun little get togethers. But of course, I crave more because of what I used to have in Montrose.

Mr. W has teased me recently after we met a couple of his friends' girlfriends. I was so enthusiastic and immediately wanted to be BFFs with them. Mr. W totally pinned me as a stalker and told me to simmer down or I'd scare them away. (I friended both on Facebook anyway...) I guess I was just hoping to find a new hiking buddy or movie pal.

It's sort of like being single again. I have to figure out how to hit on people in a non-creepy way. So, of course, I'm looking for advice. How do you guys build out your communities without seeming like desperate social rejects?


Big Sister said...

Iknow I was out of town, but if you are going to be up this way, call me!!! I will come to Home Goods and cause trouble with you and the cousins!!! Now is the time to do these things, while you are bored, and we start looking pretty exciting.

Jodie Kash said...

I like the thoughtfulness behind this post. Working at home as a writer I’m in a similar spot. My quick-access social circle has shrunk. Old friends have the kid thing going and live far out in the big ‘burbs; have made friends with the manfriend's friends (some) and, yes, the gym. But none are regular “going out with” pals but friendly acquaintances I see a few hours a week or month.

That and at the end of most days I just want to hang with the boy and his dog.

Curious to read others comments!

Jodie Kash said...

oops...subscribing to follow up comments helps.

Anonymous said...

The Boss's Wife (just discovered that, by the by!) wishes to quote Cole Porter to say, "Let's do it, let's fall in love!" HA!
Seriously, I miss my community back in Minnesota, too...
Soooo, okay, Mel Heth, you're on! From one MAM to another, let's be like Home Depot and "build something" - preferably a splendid community of our very own! And you can say no... but I hope you don't. :)
I sure do love those quotes, don't I? Uh huh.

Sizzle said...

This is a hard spot to be in. I'm there with you in a sense because I'm trying to figure out how to make other couples our friends and DO STUFF. But they are all pregnant (no seriously, they ALL are) or have kids which leaves us out of something. I feel it. I have some girlfriends that are single but then I am not's complicated. I wish you luck!

LesleyG said...

Friends and I talk about this a lot. It is harder to make new friends in your 30's, I think. I happen to do a lot of what you suggested, and go to the same spots often (but mine are the yoga studio and grocery store, not bars and restaurants like cool people probably do). It's just so much harder now-- we don't have the free time of our younger years, for one thing. Also, I think we're more selective about how we spend our time and who we're with, which plays a part in cultivating real, beneficial relationships.

I think getting out there and doing what you enjoy is a huge part of it, though. That does bring you to like-minded people. Just like you always hear when you're single. haha!

Wow, that was awkward said...

That is hilarious. I'm sure everybody would love to have you as their stalker.

laura said...

San Clemente is the same way for me....I can't even make it through the grocery store without seeing someone I know (or hiding from someone I don't want to see). Do you know any of your neighbors? You could start a bunko group. Or just get a few phone numbers and start drunk dialing...eventually someone will answer! :-)

missmccracken said...

I love this post! it's so hard to make friends as an adult. When we're kids, we just say "Hey wanna play?" and we're friends. In college, it's like "Hey! I'll hold your hair!" and we're friends! How do grown ups make friends without being awkward?

Nilsa @ SoMi Speaks said...

I have lived in the big city for 15 years now (gulp!). And it was VERY easy to live anonymously for many years. Until ... we got a dog. Walking dogs is an immediate community builder. You begin to recognize dogs and their owners. You say hello as your dogs sniff each other. And sometimes those run-ins turn into friendships. We have at least 4 sets of friends we met and became friendly with because of our dogs. I'm also pretty sure our son will now pose the same role of bringing us together with others who have kids the same age as him!