A Good Friend is Hard to Find (When You’re All Grown Up)

Seriously.

Someone on Facebook said that oh no, she finds it much easier to make friends as an adult since she no longer cares if people like her or not. She also says there are plenty of single people out there who want to hang out.

She and I live in very different milieux.

What I find it that it’s more difficult than it was when you had classes with people roughly your age with roughly the same interests, with whom you could fall into a going-to-coffee routine, or a studying routine, or a going-out-and-drinking routine, or whatever. And I also find that most of the people I meet are partnered, and from observation I’ve seen that partnered women are less likely to ditch their SOs and go out with their female friends for anything other than a daytime excursion than partnered men are to ditch their SOs and go out at night with their buddies.

That’s probably not true across the board, but from the partnered women I know I hear tales of their guys going out without them, but they never either tell me of going out without the guys or, indeed, go out with me without the guys.

Soooo, yeah.

The thing is, I don’t want to join a club or a group or something. A book club was suggested, which is a bad idea for me. I tried one once and it didn’t go well, as I should have guessed since I don’t care for genre fiction of any kind, except maybe mysteries sometimes, and my attempts to suggest serious literary fiction were met with subdued enthusiasm, shall we say. Also, I don’t want another obligation (“Book club Thursday at 7:30! Must read book first!”) or a recurring appointment I must keep. I just want friends with whom I can hang out, or go do one-off, non-über-organized things.

I may have to give that idea up and either decide that solitude (broken up by rare episodes of socializing when one of my partnered friends can get away) is the way to go, or that I have to take on obligations of the “club” variety in order to make some new friends.

I know I’ve said this before — maybe here, maybe not — but I used to watch Friends and think that although I wouldn’t like people barging into my apartment without knocking (and I’d lock my door), I yearned for a group of friends who all knew, liked, and socialized with each other. Obviously that was idealized, but I had a version of that in high school, when I was in Rainbow and my good friends were either also in Rainbow or in Job’s or DeMolay. It was a bigger group, of course, comprising at least one Rainbow Assembly, a Bethel, and both local and area DeMolay guys, and we weren’t all best buds, but there was a lot of common socializing both via our Masonic youth groups and outside but with the same group. My first real boyfriend (who turned 50 on Saturday! Ye gods! He was older than I was but still) was a DeMolay guy, and all our common friends were in the Masonic family.

But now I’m an adult and I need to find a new way. When I was married I was okay with hunkering down with my husband. Before that, most of my friends were single, so much more available. Now… it’s tough. I’m at a bit of a loss. Hopefully I can figure something out because while I do not want to be busy every night of the week (how exhausting), I am a little tired of the status quo.

Good times!

(Don’t suggest joining Eastern Star based on the above. I actually can, now that they admit Rainbow Majority Members, but I am way too far to the left. When I was in high school, politics didn’t really matter so much and we certainly didn’t discuss them at your average DeMolay Sweetheart Ball,  you know?)

LA Pictures

Here we go, finally!

 

Getty view

View from the Getty

Getty view #2

Also this

getty naturalist sketches

I love tulips enough to photograph this even with the spider in it

getty prayerbook

I love illumined prayerbooks

Getty nativity

And religious art

Getty sumptuous bed

It’s gorgeous, but I don’t think I could sleep comfortably in it. (Besides, I’m too tall.)

Getty Van Gogh

It’s like being in Amsterdam!

Getty Winterhalter

Or Paris! (This is by Winterhalter, who painted my favorite painting, which hangs in the Musée d’Orsay.) I am no expert on anything, but I almost ran across the room because I was sure it was by him.

(Link to favorite painting.)

Getty parquet

Gorgeous parquet

Getty microscope

Microscope: less powerful, more beautiful.

St Catherine of Siena

This I knew from the cover of a biography of St. Catherine of Siena. Sorry it’s a bit crooked.

The next day, we went to the Getty Villa in Malibu.

Getty Villa garden

I could live with this.

Getty Villa view

Nice, no?

Getty Villa

The portico of the building where A and I waited for our tour.

Unfortunately, the exhibit we went to see (Greek art in Sicily) didn’t allow photographs, and we didn’t spend a lot of time in the rest of the collection. I missed taking pictures of some of the other things we did, partially because it seems weird to be a tourist in your own state, and partially because I forgot.

It’s true, though, that if you use your phone rather than a separate camera, you’re so much less conspicuous! These were from my camera proper though, hence my lollygagging in getting them up!

This!

I was reading a Salon article about Miranda July and she said this:

I’m most interested in people close to me. I’m pretty scrupulous about not reading my husband’s email, but I always delight in getting a CC: with a long payoff and seeing how he engaged with someone else. … You’re seeing them in an unfamiliar way.

Have you ever run into your partner or your friend out in the world? It’s so thrilling! If you live together — it seems remarkable to say, I just saw you and you were walking down the street like a normal person!

I couldn’t agree more. I always loved, when I was in a relationship, to see my partner interact with people in an unfamiliar-to-me role. It could be seeing them at work, getting forwarded an email exchange they had with someone else, or even something like the time my half-Mexican then-husband and I were in his Texas border hometown and  went to a bakery in one of the entirely-Spanish-speaking neighborhoods. He was in search of a pastry from his childhood, and had the entire conversation in Spanish. I never heard him speak Spanish (which he only sort of speaks, though he understands) in normal life. It was deeply cool.

(He never did find the pastry. Had I been a better wife I’d have done some research and made them myself. Sorry, ex-husband.)

 

 

Whirlwind to LA

Two weeks before I went to PDX to binge on books, I went to LA to stay with a friend from college. I needed to get out of town, out of the house, out of my rut and routine.

It was awesome (pics to follow tomorrow, most likely). I flew from SFO to Burbank early Saturday morning. A picked me up and we dropped my stuff off at her lovely book-and-art-filled home. Then we went to have brunch, because I’d been up for way too many hours without breakfast, after which we went to the Getty Center. It was hot outside and lovely inside; we wandered and then had dinner at the cafe. That night, we went to the Farmer’s Market for a decadent dessert; I want to go back during the day when more of the shops are open, but the store filled with French items was open and I got the Opinel knife I’d been wanting. Then we wandered around The Grove, which is essentially a small Disneyland for adults (or shoppers of most any age).

After going back to her house and talking for awhile, we hit the sack, and got up the next day to go to the Getty Villa, which was having an exhibition of Greek art in Sicily. First, we stopped at A’s Beverly Hills office so I could print my boarding pass, which engendered two feelings in me: Wow, that I should have a friend who has a great job in a place like this and Wow, my office is absolutely nothing whatsoever like this.

After the museum and lunch, we got my stuff and she dropped me off at the airport early, as she had a work event to attend that night. Burbank is such a tiny airport that from the time I presented my ID and ticket to the first TSA guy to the time I was putting my shoes back on on the other side, no one but me went through security. Once through, there was a corner turned into a kind of kiosk for aspirin and magazines and the like; a bathroom; a Peets; and a bar. That was all. I read and had iced tea and sat and mused.

Though I was very happy to go to the museums and to go back down to LA for the first time in over ten years, I went mostly to get away in the psychological/emotional sense. It was perfect for that.

A is about as different from me as you can get in many ways — all of them good. She’s a happy extrovert — she truly likes people in general although she is very opinionated and probably even more liberal than I am.  She does not suffer fools but she is gracious and friendly and as long as the fool is not evil she doesn’t get too bent out of shape. She is not prone to serious depression. She’s a lawyer, though she  works in the entertainment industry not practicing law; she is also the nicest lawyer I’ve ever met and possibly the most unpretentious one in the state of California. (I do have other lawyer friends who are great people, but she’s just completely the antithesis of what you’d think “attorney in LA” would be like.) Whereas I have kneejerk “throw up my boundaries/defenses” reactions, she has “oh, this person may be interesting” reactions. She probably doesn’t get irritated when people in an empty bathroom choose the stall next to hers like I do. (I’ve been known to sigh semi-audibly, “Really? With all these stalls open?”) She chatted up one of the Villa security guards who told us stories about how J. Paul is buried on the property and one of his wives comes and leaves flowers on his grave every year. Had I been alone I’d have just smiled at the guy and walked on. That sort of thing. She’s stayed in touch with a huge number of people we went to college with — close touch, so she will travel across the country to a birthday party or other event to see some of them, and is privy to the everyday workings of their lives, rather than just their Facebook statuses. I have not done that. I am FB friends with several Mills alumnae, but A is the first one I’ve seen in many years. And I live one freeway exit from Mills.

Damn, there was another point I wanted to make, but the heat/carpool commuting during the BART strike/getting to work at 6:30 AM/etc. has apparently taken its toll and it’s completely slipped my mind.

Anyway, being with her made a certain problem that has been nagging me, depressing me, and making me cry, sort of dissolve away, at least for the weekend. Since she’s from my college past, it was also a reminder of a happy time when I was young and full of potential — and when I was surrounded by women who were passionate about ideas and full of confidence. We hadn’t been beaten down yet, and A still isn’t. Since I’ve been home I’ve tried to channel my inner A sometimes, and while it takes effort on my curmudgeonly, introverted, homebody bookworm part, it often turns out well. It was definitely good medicine for a tired spirit, in any case! I will never be quite like her, but copying some of her happy traits can only be a good thing.