Saturday, October 24, 2009

after psycho knitting

I'm thinking about starting a FB fanpage for myself. Egotistical? Perhaps. Actually, yes, of course it is. Who am I kidding. It's a blatant rallying cry for people to come and pay attention to me. Then again, so are all these social media outlets. Much of it seems to be an online popularity contest. How many followers you have. How many friends you've amassed. How many retweets you get. How many people subscribe to your blog, your youtube channel your fanpages.

It's been easier because I've had FLOW to hide behind. All the spin, promo, these news flashes to let people know the book's coming out. Only it'll be in stores in 2 and a half weeks and then what? Daily shout outs of how long it's been on sale? That's insanely boring, even to me. Amazon ranking updates? I do check somewhat obsessively, but that's not something I need to share with everyone. And hopefully, after the book is officially out, there will continue to be super cool things to write about—but I have no idea. The book launch and subsequent parties are concrete. Real dates, real info. I'm working/hoping that reviews, articles, events will continue to flow in our direction. Again, we'll see. (Ah, there I go, that automatic nay saying, so that if things don't work out the way I want, I won't be too crushed and disappointed. I need to work on that).

Which leads me to the thought that inspired this post at 6 this morning. Connecting. With friends. Somehow these days, and I don't think it's just me, it's far easier to sit at a screen to stay in touch. Real life is frantic, running, getting people places, getting jobs out on time, homework, laundry, my constant juggle . . . it's not often I find time to be with friends anymore and just catch up. For the past few years I've had two steady friend gigs: pizza nite and psycho knitting that now are (tragically) no longer. Thursdays, for eons it seems, a bunch of families would head uptown from after school and congregate at Pizzeria Uno on 6th Avenue, which always cracked us up as living in NYC there are endless restaurant choices, but this worked best. Anywhere from 2 to 5 families would meet up at 5:30, the back table reserved for us by Juan, the endlessly patient waiter who took care of us and is now a friend. Let me clarify the table situation (this was the best part): the kids got the back booth. Grownups sat 2 rows over and for a couple of hours we'd drink cocktails, talk film and politics and very occasionally parenting. Last year we cut down to once a month. But now that many of our older kids are at different schools, it's been almost impossible to get everyone together for pizza nite reunions.

And then there was psycho knitting. A few years back I thought it would be great to get people together to hang out on Friday mornings. Since knitting was involved, it became an industrious get-together. I find it's not easy take time to just be. So this was a perfect combination. At first we met in people's apartments, which got a bit challenging when some people never left. Fortunately, before long, a cool coffee shop opened right across the street from school. A big couch was in the back. It was spacious enough that anywhere up to 10 could sit and chat and knit (although, by this point, very few ever pulled yarn out of a bag). Some would come for a few minutes before work. Some would come even after their kids moved to different schools. It was a raucous, rowdy group, with a real sense of belonging to something cool. But, the coffee shop closed 3 weeks ago. And now that I have kids in different schools, my mornings aren't as one dimensional—it's far harder to even remember sending out the night before reminders (I'm taking a break RIGHT NOW to organize the next pizza night).

I'm back.

And I miss my friends. I miss the regularity of knowing we'd get together (those who know me in the real world know how much I CRAVE things staying the same). I miss being a part of an ongoing social scene. The comfort and familiarity. Not needing general niceties, knowing each other so well we could launch into conversations that had been started ages ago. And knowing, no matter how quickly we had to rush off, or how long we lingered in the twilight by 8th Street, there would always be a next time.

Can social media fill that void? No. But it's a way of being connected when the old ways disappear.

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