"mass exodus"

April 17, 2005
It feels like nearly all my close friends are thinking about leaving this 'burg, and it's bothering me a lot.

Dylan went to San Diego years ago.

Sarah went back to California, wound up in Florida.

My freshman roommate Rob, I was in touch with him for a while, forget where he headed off to.

ErinMaru is in filmschool in one of them Carolina states.

Lupschada went home to Baltimore, though that friendship is a casualty of the divorce.

And now...Sawers is heading to Florida in a few months, my umm-cousin Llara just got a job in DC, Evil B and wife are thinking Seattle might be a more reasonable place to settle down and setup home base, and Andy has even more immediate plans to go back to his college gang who have hung around Atlanta.

There's all kind of reasons. Moving for a romance, heading home to refortify during a terrible job market, heading away to a new job opportunity, getting out of the rent and career pressure cooker of Boston...Andy thinks that people from here who go down south and say "I can't believe how friendly people are!" have it backwards; the disbelief should be for what self-centered jerks people are around here.

And there is that weather...perhaps Andy's observation is explained by self-described "Swamp Yankee" buddy Gowen's thought that "People in New England will generally scowl when you walk through the door because you probably also let in a gush of freezing air."

But today is absolutely insanely gorgeous. But maybe Boston is like a redneck wifebeater, all gentleness and warmth after such a beating of a winter.

Still, after a decent decade run, maybe people are finally escaping the post-college Boston gravity well.

And Andy...heh, he was supposed to be one of the...well, not the replacements, but at least a refutation of the idea that you it's so difficult to make good friends after college.

But he says when he visits Georgia he feels like it's going home. Me, for the longest time I felt pretty hometownless. I do feel ties to Cleveland still, but 6 years of adolescence there isn't the same as really coming from someplace. And now I'm worried that someday I'll move somewhere only to find Boston has managed to take that role. But I dunno. Just like I see a home as a place to keep your stuff, maybe a hometown is just a place to keep your home.

Maybe making new friends isn't that hard. Maybe it's just getting out there, doing stuff, joining interest groups like darts teams or looking for gaming buddies on Craig's List, then really making the effort, asking someone to dinner or to hang out even when it feels a little awkward. A friend of mine, then officemate Habib did that, and in retrospect I really appreciate it, though of course now he's back in Morocco.

And just like I've been questioning "what do I want out of romance?" after the divorce, this wave of friends heading off makes me ask the same thing for friendship. I think there are two sides of that: you want friends who will take your side, will watch out for you, generally offer support and companionship and concern. That's probably harder to generate than the other side, which is shared activities. My friendship with Andy had its roots in bad movies (we were introduced at our mutual friend Jim's "bad movie nights") and video games. And you know, it's not the bad movies and the video games that matter; it's the snarky comments and the trash talking.

Thought it would be unfair to think of it as only an activity-based kind of friendship; I really appreciate how when I need to recruit some volunteers to help with the Salvation Army coat drive, Andy, Jim, and his wife Sam answered the call, and together we joined with a force to move and sort 20,000 coats for the needy.

Ah well. I don't know. I think about moving someplace warm. And I need someplace with a good tech industry. Andy thinks I should give Atlanta a try. Heh, and I could get an insta-social-group made of his buddies...and San Diego is tempting. But it's impossible for me to grok how many people I do know in this damn neck of the woods, how alone I might be even with a small group of people I know, how far away I'd be from my family. You know, that's one plus marriage has: you can bring the person you most care about with you. (On the other hand, a marriage might also make you more stuck to your hometown with two sets of extend families and friendgroups to consider, or maybe even drawn to someplace that's their hometown, not yours.)

Sigh. I dunno, but the prospect of all these people moving is really painful. Not sharp and cutting like a divorce, but a great big dull ache.