This blog is devoted to remembrances and essays on general topics, including literature and writing. It has evolved over time, and some older posts on this site might reflect a different perspective and purpose.

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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Easing Into Friendship

            Funny how the mind works. Sunday was perhaps our last day of Indian Summer, and Linda and I went down to the Esplanade in Capitola to get a latte from Mr. Toots Coffeehouse and drink it on one of the benches looking out over Capitola Beach and the Monterey Bay.
            Because other people had similar ideas, Linda took off to stake out a bench as soon as her beverage was up, and while mine was still being prepared. I paid for both the drinks and left, walking down the Esplanade toward the bench area. Because it was crowded; because I didn’t know where she was; and because I’d forgotten to get a lid for my cup of coffee, I took it slowly.
            That was probably why I noticed the menu at Zelda’s, one of the restaurants facing the beach. I didn’t really read it, but it was broken down by meal, and for some reason, when I saw breakfast, I thought of my friend John.

The Business Power Breakfast

            John and I had met in 1994 in connection with a political campaign his wife and I were working on, but we really got to know each other in 1996-97 when we were both working on a contentious land-use project in Santa Cruz. That was when a mutual respect for each other’s professional abilities evolved into a friendship that has lasted to this day.
            One of the ways in which that happened was over a series of meals, coffees, and drinks after work, where we got together to talk about the project and the conversation branched out to other topics.
            Breakfast at Zelda’s was part of that ongoing experience, but I can’t say for sure how many times it happened. Not many; two or three at most, and maybe only once. Nor do I recall anything of great import being spoken or decided. It was merely one of many instances where we got together — one link in the chain, as it were.
            And it may be that the only reason it stands out is that I don’t recall ever eating breakfast at Zelda’s alone or with anyone else. Lunch, yes, but the only breakfast memory is associated with John.

Evolution, Not Drama

            One of the hardest things to do in fiction or drama is to show the development of a friendship. It’s often done by depicting a dramatic event that brings two people together and establishes an instant bond of trust. And to be sure, there are a number of friendships that develop in that fashion.
            More often that not, however, it’s a longer, subtler process. It’s an accumulation of shared experiences that develop a common bond of trust and affection. For every friendship made in the Hollywood way, there are dozens that were forged over breakfasts at Zelda’s and other such gatherings that gave two people a chance to talk and connect and get to feel comfortable with each other.
            True friendship takes time to develop, and, because of that, can weather the test of time. And it’s based on a personal connection, forged by extended periods of time spent together, getting to know each other. There’s no substitute for face-to-face experience, and it’s safe to say there will never be an app for that.