As I mentioned in my previous post, Ken and I traveled to LA last weekend to join with my family in celebration of my mother's 80th birthday. We hit the road early Friday morning. Since Friday is our garbage collection day and we left before the trucks arrived, we had to leave our bins--recycle, compost, garbage--in the front of our house. The hope was that there would be no strong winds to topple our bins and send them rolling down the hill. And then there was the thought that popped into my head about an hour into the drive--I had forgotten to cancel our newspaper delivery. This meant that three days of the SF Chronicle plus the Sunday New York Times would be piled in front of our door when we returned Monday evening.
These things are not terrible but, in the case of the bins, they could be a nuisance to others and cause us the expense and hassle of getting new bins. And the pile of newspapers could make our house a target for thieves as an indication that the inhabitants are away.
About a year ago, Jeff and Julie moved into the house just up from ours. We wave to each other when we meet, talk about the neighborhood, give our opinion on house colors, admire each other's new cars--normal neighborly small talk. But this weekend they showed themselves to be the neighbors anyone would want for their own. Realizing that we were away--I'm assuming because the garbage bins remained out and my car was no where to be seen--they took our bins and dragged them to a sheltered area in front of our house where they wouldn't be subject to falling down the hill. And not only did they retrieve our papers from the front of our house, but they dropped them back when they saw we had returned. These gestures may seem small, but to me they show a caring that you don't always experience in this world. Thank you, Jeff & Julie. I am happy to be sharing this city space with you and hope we live next to each other for many years to come.
My sense of community was further reinforced with the celebration of the wedding of my friend Erica Milsom to her boyfriend of three years Ben Choi. I thought my time between announcement of wedding to ceremony was short--6 weeks--but Erica far eclipsed that. Read this excerpt from an email I received on Feb 12th, sent to about 50 of her friends:
"We were happily lounging at Ross and Karen's birthday party and I said, hey, let's get married next week. And he said, What? And then he said, that seems rather rushed, what about the week after that. And I said, sounds great! Then we kissed each other. And marianne took a picture with her cell phone. Then I think we played a game of Galaga . . . . And so we're having the legal ceremony on Feb 23rd at the SF courthouse, to be followed that evening by Karaoke celebration at Encore Karaoke Club at Polk and California. . . . So, if you're available Friday night Feb 23, please come and join us for karaoke at Encore. . . . Thanks for being such a loving and wonderful group of friends! Yay! Love!"How can you turn down an invitation like that?? So this past Friday evening we found ourselves at Encore Karaoke Club celebrating the newlyweds. Erica is one of those people who creates her community and keeps widening the circle. I met her when she interviewed for a job as assistant editor on a project I was working on, a series of videos for an after school program run by the city of Los Angeles. She got the job, far above any of the applicants we interviewed. We quickly bonded and she's become a close friend that I cherish. And so, I join the circle.
There was so much happiness in the bar Friday night. Not just among the celebrants, it spread to all who were there. And as often happens in communities, there was cross over to other parts of both Ken & my lives. Erica works for Pixar, which is one of Ken's clients, so he know some of her work buddies. Then there were her friends from when she worked at Apple, one of whom is married to someone who works at Phoenix Editorial, another of Ken's clients, so there was another connection. And then there were her friends from BAWIFT--Bay Area Women in Film and Television--one of whom is also involved in Mission Minyan which is another connection for me.
So, even in a big city---it's a small world.
And yes, in case you're wondering, I did take a turn at the mike, singing "My Guy" I'd never done that before and don't know if I'll do it again--it's a strange sort of embarrassing fun. . .