Since moving to the MOFN (as in: "middle of..." ooooh new web vocab, you read it here first people, go fourth and abbreviate) it has become painfully obvious to me that making relevant friends in this new land will be no can of creamed corn.
Admittedly, when I lived in the social capital of the known universe, (Twitter, Myspace, Facebook, are all based in Californicationland. The Fran, Bev Hills, and P. Alto, respectively) it was still pretty friggin hard to make decent friends. I qualify that statement with decent because its totally easy to make douchebag friends. If you want someone to drink you're beer, use you for rides, couch squat, and perpetually flake on you any time you need the slightest help or emotional support, then it's a snap. I will say that the two years I spent in San Diego were the best I've had of Cali. Although it has it's problems, SD is nowhere near as slimy as the city of shallow angels. It may seem like I'm being harsh and in truth there are alot of great folks in Cali. In fact my best friend lives in the very bowels of Mordor (lower hollywierd) and he, is the dogs bullocks. But after spending the first 10 years of my life in The Evergreen State (with layovers in DC, CO, and MO) I bunkered down and spent the last 2/3 of my life living in various Californian urbs and burbs. Given my nearly 20 years of anthropological field research on the subject of douchebaggery and general flakiness, if being a Tool was a recognized area of psychological pathology, I would have a Nobel Prize by now (isn't it awesome that the guy who invented blowing people up created a peace award, he'd fit right in on Sunset blvd.)
But I digress. Back to the difficulty of recruiting friends. The problem stems primarily from our being younger than everyone within a 40 mile radius by a several decades. Given my perspective on politics, music, movies, television, books, tattoos, etc. -"how can you hate two and a half men!??? Whaaat, no kate plus 8 either?"- it's safe to say that when it comes to intellectual discourse, the over sixty and sexy crowd is not really my key demographic group. So, that leaves the girl who works at the grocery store in town, and the dude who tends bar at his parents' saloon down the road. But these options lead to another conundrum. How do you go about making friends with someone in the service industry? "Thanks for the screwdriver Jesse, hey, sometime when you're off the clock you wanna go grab a b... oh yeh, this is the only bar." For that matter in my experience without the social construct of a mutually enjoyable or detestable activity, trying to recruit strangers to your friendship army can be a little creepy. For example, when I'm "hangin out" with Jesse he's a perfectly pleasant and enjoyable person, he watches food network almost as much as I do, and keeps The History Channel rolling above the bar instead of sporting events, plus he has am awesome mountain man beard. So I'm pretty sure that given some one on one time (see, even that sounds creepy) Jesse would think I was totally rad. But our social interactions are tainted by our disproportionate roles. When we chat, I'm cooling my heels, having some down time. He, on the other hand is at work. This means not only does he have to be cordial to me, but I always tip him when I leave. This makes the whole thing feel dirty, akin to asking for a dinner date with a stripper as you hand over singles. Granted, Jesse ain't no stripper and I would never want to witness such a sight, but it's still a service industry yo. There is no common ground on which to establish a mutual understanding. He can't tell if I'm just bored and talking to the bartender like everyone else does, and I can't tell if he thinks I'm some loser patron. What you need is the lack of obligatory conversation to know where someone stands. This makes the jump from situational friends to real friends much more tricky, "wanna hang out after you finish serving me?"
So anyway, I could go on, but this is getting way too long for this kind of navel gazing subject matter (what's a blog if not that?) so I will leave you with a question. Does anyone out there have a good friend maker pickup line? Does anyone else pick up friends outside of work, school or structured activity? Does anyone just start talking to strangers and ask for a number? (in a platonic way) If so, how do you keep from coming across as a total psycho? Are you perhaps a psycho? Deep philosophical questions to ponder.