Saturday, April 17, 2010

Will Work for __________

I drove by him twice just to make sure I was reading the sign correctly…there’s no way – it’s couldn’t possibly say…yup, read it right –

“Homeless. Looking for Love.  Need a Wife- Please Help.”

I was tempted to stop and talk to him, but after pondering this for a moment, I decided that my friendliness might be interpreted as an application for marriage, so I kept driving, torn between laughter and sorrow.

But the rest of the day, I kept thinking about him, realizing that there’s a part of me that completely understands his approach.  Not that I think the corner of Venice and National Blvd. is the best pool to find a life partner from, but as a recent resident to LA, it’s hard to meet people – friends or spouses.  Not being in school or at a job, where do others find their people? 

There’s the religious avenue, although after having gone to three different synagogues numerous times, I haven’t quite met anyone other than the friendly smile and request if the seat is taken.  Now, this could rest entirely on me – perhaps I didn’t try hard enough, slipping into my seat quietly and slipping out at the final prayer – but it’s hard. It’s hard to know who to approach and how to do so without seeming pathetically desperate. Plus, it’s one thing to make acquaintances to wave at in the halls of my apartment building, and quite another to find friends to share my life with. 

But then I realize, I’m full of it – I’m repeating an old script that excuses me from having to put myself out there and make an effort. Being so used to finding friends from the pool of women that I happen to live with or be in class with, I’m accustomed to easy friendships. Friendships that happen quickly and deeply due to being roommates or co-workers – friendships that don’t take as much effort because I see them everyday without having to make plans; because we come home at the end of the day to sit on the same couch, or we show up each morning at the same office to gripe for another day.

Now that I live alone and am not working in an office or in school, I’m beginning to realize that connections take work, and both participants have to be willing. And they are different kinds of friendships – they move slower and lack the intimacy that comes from brushing your teeth side by side or pulling an all-nighter in the dorm.  So I’m quick to write them off as acquaintances and am tempted to back away before they have the chance to blossom into something beautiful. 

Plus, I realize that the old whining script about trouble meeting people was disproven last night.  Who did I spend the evening with? Two friends – my neighbor from across the hall and a woman I met on an airport shuttle.  In the ten minutes we shared a van to the off-site airport parking lot to claim our cars, we chatted, traded numbers and realized we lived within two minutes of each other. It could have ended there – a nice woman with a sweet smile. And yet, a couple weeks later, I called her, inviting her to come to synagogue with me, and since then, she has proven to me not only that you can find friends when you least expect them, but also that she is someone who comes through for me at a time when those than I expected to often do not. A true “gutta n’shuma” (a good soul in Yiddish) as my bubby Rene would say. And I am grateful – grateful for these two friends and grateful for the lesson that they teach me that there are friends around every corner if only I make the effort to look for them.

So, perhaps Venice and National Blvd. isn’t such a crazy place to look for a spouse – still, I don’t think I’ll be writing my own cardboard sign to find a mate anytime soon. But if you happen to be looking for a husband, there’s one for hire in west los angeles.  

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