Tag Archives: san diego

the unexpected facebook friend

my new years resolution made on december 31, 2009 was to among other things lose five pounds.  i weighed 138.  i weighed 138 on december 31, 2010 when i made this year’s resolution to turn off the computer, get off the damn couch, and find all these 335 people who are my facebook friends.  my technology was simple:  i would make the virtual world real.

along the way this year, i’ve met some new facebook friends.  people i’ve met in person on my travels who have sent me friend requests later.  there was a comment about me at gizmodo.com and another on brazilian national television.  suddenly new friendships form and i wonder–should i visit the new friends as well?

i settled on the notion that i should meet the friends who were my friends as of december 31 last year and that if i meet other, more recent friends along the way, that would be an added bonus.  damn, i really really want to go to brazil, japan, and iceland–even as the prospect scares me silly!

tom bremer is my friend in los angeles who befriended me after he read an article about me in gizmodo.com.  he was following my adventures and noticed i was in los angeles.  he asked if he could meet me. . . . and even though everything in los angeles is three hours away from everything else, it turned out his office was just across the street from my hotel.

you can check out his work at tombremer.com — he’s an amazing animator and he was just the right person to meet before heading for a small, little known convention in san diego.  it’s called comicon and i have to meet f2fb friend #179 brian brethauer.  if i don’t make it to san diego in time to see him at the convention, i have to go to idaho where he lives.

thanks tom!  i’m really glad you contact me!  if i’m in a town where any facebook friend lives, i want to see them!

a facebook friend’s life changes when the bishop sets fire to his store

i had started to think of my little corner of redondo beach as home.  one room, free wi fi, maid service every other day.  a couple of times i considered cancelling whatever i was scheduled to do and just watching television all day.  it was the sort of motel that catered to people who d0 that.

instead of hiding i got on the the 5.  since everything is three hours from everything else in los angeles, it wasn’t that much of a change in the schedule of driving, stopping at a starbucks and driving some more. but i was giving up a safe space (redondo) without yet reaching another safe place.

the gap for someone like me is important.  it’s the space where anxiety attacks happen.  and i had a pretty major one just outside of camp pendleton.

but i was meeting howard smith.  f2fb #149.  but he’s more than just a facebook friend.  he’s someone i really admire.  he grew up in lexington, kentucky and moved to winnetka just after college graduate, taking a job at the “trouping the colors” clothing store, and freely told everybody that the only other job he had ever had was as a lifeguard.  when the owner retired, howard stepped up and became sole proprietor.  he was head of the chamber of commerce, of the rotary club, the unofficial mayor of the town, and then the bishop of the episcopal church of san diego set fire to his store.

the store was gutted.  everything that howard found safe and reassuring, the basis of his life, was gone.  for a while, howard had no idea what to do.  he had never imagined a life without fabric swatches, tape measures and silk ties rolled and placed just so on the round table at the center of his shop.

he and his wife felt a little lost.  they worried about how to send their two children to school, how to put aside for retirement, how to rebuild.

howard did something brave–he asked every friend he had to come up with five names.  not five names of people who were looking to hire someone or looking to invest in a retail business.  just five names of people who would go to lunch with him.  and talk about what they do.  howard was a promiscuous lunch partner and was thinking about what he really wanted to do.  he was even thinking about where he wanted to live–he had been across the mississippi exactly three times but now everything was on the table. . . .

he was like me, in the in between, on the road from redondo beach to san diego.

howard is now a development director for the episcopal archdiocese of san diego.  he and his wife love their new home.  and the thing he reminds me is. . . be grateful, be brave, accept that you’re going to be surprised by life.

and the bishop of the episcopal church of san diego?  well, he didn’t actually set fire to howard’s store (the cause of the blaze is pure accident) but the bishop, and indeed the entire diocese, is the happy beneficiary of those flames. . .