Friends Overlapping Parts of You

Saturday promised little when I woke up. But it ended with yet another grand theory of society over drinks. Can’t have been that bad, right?

Saturday started. I made some coffee. As usual I didn’t have any plans. I keep telling myself to plan more, but it doesn’t always work out. Instead I end up with an emergent planning style: Plant a bunch of seeds, water whatever shoots out of the ground. It’s more of a system than a set goal.

SF had plenty to offer: Two block parties, an art opening, and two other surprises I discovered later. I cast about for friends to share the day with, planting seeds. I decided on a mission block party, walked over, and messaged folks to meet us there.

The Block Party was mixed. Some good local outfits, but a lot of larger companies astroturfing a neighborhood vibe. Mostly-yuppy residents cargo-culting neighborhood involvement. That conflict probably applies to me as well, at least to some extent. But I still prefer the local joints that predate me by many years. A chef’s talk by Flour and Water is interesting, but it’s not local kids dancing on a stoop, which was also present. I’m constantly worried the latter is leaving. Not to idealize and tourist the poor, but a city needs a place for the crazy ones to play. A high cost of living pushes the on-ramp to SF so high that only dentists and doctors can even start here.

Kevin arrived as the block party was winding down, so we headed to one of my favorite dives, Shotwell’s. Kevin will talk a lot, but you’ll like it. He listens to what you said, finds the interesting bit, straps it to a rocket, and sees where it goes. You always learn from someone like that. I think that’s one of my favorite things about Kevin.

Start with what you have in common with your friends. What causes that overlap? Is it interests, actions, geography? All? Some? None? Then how does it operate on entire groups, not just your friends? Groups of companies? That cohort that always works together across several companies? This is all almost abstract BS, but I swear it’s a great way to plan your entire life.

Kevin was heading out, and I got a text from a friend about an improv show. It was on the wrong side of town, and we’d be late. Both of these friends enjoy hiking, and both are wicked programmers. We share things that are important to us, so next thing you know I'm on the other side of town, watching improv.

The show was great fun, and lo and behold another mutual friend is there. He and I share borderline-psychotic self-critique. And he likes lighting rocket fuel under ideas to see where they go, too. Turns out they’re grabbing dinner, so the walk over was 15 minutes of cramming stuff I’ve been thinking about for 2 years into one conversation. Didn’t need any caffeine after that.

The people who overlap with you and give you energy? They don’t have to be your soul mate and don’t have to be exactly like you. They just need to match on something important. Be good to them. Help them. Those interleaved networks are your life. They are your career. They are the family and peers that you choose. Invest in them as much as you can.