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 über 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?