Apparently it's time for me to reconnect with people.
First was a guy from the gym. It's a hoot talking to him. He is the most profound example of an adult with Asperger's that I've ever experienced. Having determined a couple of years ago that I, too, am on the autism spectrum (although quieter) I get it that when your brain is misfiring there isn't a whole lot you can do about it. He has no filters. None.
My favorite conversation with him happened back in 2012. At a previous gym visit, I had shared how much I was enjoying the Sunday Morning Coffee Talks that Tom Shadyac and Nicole Pritchett had produced in Venice around Tom's documentary, I AM. On this day, we were pedaling on side-by-side recumbent bikes and chatting when he asked if I was still going to the coffee talks.
"No," I said. "I don't think the results were what they hoped for, and they stopped doing them."
"Oh, that's a shame," he replied. "You really enjoyed those."
Now, I have to say that I don't have a whole lot of experience with men who actually listen to me, much less with any who remember, weeks after a conversation, an event that I attended and even more rare is one who will remember that I enjoyed myself.
"I did," I confessed, "but as much as the event I enjoyed that a friend of mine from a writing class I took back in 2010 lives down there and would join me for the talk, then we'd go have lunch."
A drive down the coast, a great talk and lunch with a good friend was a fabulous way to spend a Sunday morning.
So then he said something about me dating my writer friend. A brilliant essayist, my writer friend was twenty-seven to my sixty-one at the time. Guys in their fifties are spectacular, but twenty-seven? Meeting this young man for lunch was more like sharing a meal with one of my kids. So I deferred, saying that we were just friends, thinking that would be the end of it. Then,
"You should have sex with him!"
I just blinked.
"You should! Young guy like that!" My poor little misfiring brain was suffering. I could actually see the neuron flashes ricocheting inside my skull, so I blinked again.
"Really," Mr. No Filters insisted, "You should!"
So I pulled out the only truth I thought might stop this conversational path quickly.
"I'm sure he wouldn't be interested. He's gay."
So underestimated him.
"No, that's great! You should have sex with him! I've heard gay guys are really good in the sack!"
Honestly, I was flattered. Although Mr. No Filters had (in his kindest no filters way) made it clear in a previous conversation that I was not HIS type, he clearly thought that I could interest a hot, gay, twenty-something.
So here he was, three years later in the produce section of the local Vons market. We talked for about an hour. The cool thing about talking with this guy? I don't have to engage my filters either. So if he cuts me off or diverts the conversation back to himself, I can just say, "Shut up. I want to finish what I was saying." And he's good with that.
That happened Tuesday, November 11. On Friday the 13th I went with my mom to dinner at our favorite restaurant as we have done just about every Friday night since my dad died five years ago. We've been regular customers at this place since the owner started his first restaurant twenty-three years ago, and he and Mom have a special relationship. He and I have had some interesting conversations over the more recent years, but he got himself some good managers and has taken Friday nights off for the last couple. It was a delightful surprise to see him on duty Friday night, a nice re-connection for Mom and me both.
Then, when I got home, I learned of the Paris attacks. I have friends in France. The obstetrician that helped deliver my older son (at home) lives in Paris now with his husband. A decade ago I was part of a cross-stitch blog group and one of those friends lives outside of Paris, and she and I have been facebook friends for years. We have been walking similar spiritual paths (which means we're both weirdos) so are strongly connected.
And a third friend lives there. He and I found ourselves pinning each others' pins on pinterest so often that we became facebook friends. He is an executive life coach and I assume quite busy. He does not post much on facebook, but when I posted that my husband had died, he messaged me with very kind support and asked me to keep in touch. And then disappeared. After a few months I sent a short message noting that I had not seen him there and I hoped he was well, but there was no response. A few months later I starting seeing him in the chat bar, but I did not contact him. But on the night of the 13th I noticed that he had "liked" some of the supportive things I had posted. I messaged him my gratitude for "liking" what I posted and my relief that he was safe. We ended up having a short message conversation that ended with his wish to "keep the channels open."
Last Saturday I was working with photographs to put together a Christmas slide show to music to send to my now-scattered family and ran across a couple of pictures of a couple who had been my parents' best friends for most of my life. I have no idea, really, if they are still alive, but their daughter is a popular local newscaster with a facebook page. I wrote her a short message, mentioning the photos and expressing my gratitude that we had had such good friends for so long. I didn't really expect to hear back from her, but this morning there was a response from her and a request to see the photos.
A bit after I sent the message I came back to facebook and there was what I thought was a second message from her since the first names were the same. But no, the second was from a dear friend who has recently retired and moved to the San Diego area. She is so dear that she was present for the birth of both of my children, but at some point in her career she went to work for a company that required many more than full-time hours. My life was rather chaotic, as well, and as often happens, when the path forked, we went different directions. It was a long, lovely, delightful catch-up message with news that she would be in town briefly next month. I will use one of my personal days to re-connect with her.
And I've been facebook friends for a few years with the boy from high school who took me to homecoming when we were juniors. He was such a nice young man that I looked him up on facebook and we friended each other. His life is very full of music and travel and he does not spend much time on facebook. But yesterday I took one of those silly facebook meme quizzes and scored 100% on knowing the lyrics from The Rocky Horror Picture Show. (Only time I ever got turned on by a guy in full make-up wearing a corset.) Turns out my old friend worked for the manager for Tim Curry and my friend spent quite a lot of time with Curry when he was doing Rocky Horror live in Los Angeles. It was great fun to hear about that experience. My friend posted "Don't dream it, do it" a half-dozen times. Which is something I've been working on since 2010. I can't help think that will turn out to be an important re-connection. I don't think I would want the life he's led necessarily, but I would love for some of that live-life-to-the-fullest vibe to rub off on me.
There are several people - including some of those who walked past my life and helped me make profound changes before they moved on - who I would love to re-connect with.
Maybe I'm on a lucky streak.
Post Script: Another one just popped. Years ago my kids played jazz in a Big Band called Lane 29. The featured singer was a great guy named Dylan White. Dylan is your typical multi-talented kind of guy. For years he's been one of the actors portraying Genie in the Disney California Adventure production of Aladdin. He does stand-up in his "spare" time, and is also a published writer of books for young adults. He's gone through a rough time with a sick child (diabetes) and the medical expenses have him in a rough place as well. Was happy to be able to buy the books and make a small donation as well on behalf of my mom (she LOVES him in that show) and my kids. Another re-connection, although I would have preferred it on happier terms. Maybe you could check it out and see if the books interest you. You'd be helping out a great guy.
|Dylan White as Genie, Disney California Adventure Aladdin|