Tonight my old online friend Jeff met up with me for the first time in person, and was kind enough to spend a few hours escorting me through the Mission District, his home. I was a bleating, squealing fangirl when he mentioned that the bar we were visiting often welcomed Mark Eitzel, or that the storefront across the street houses Craig Baldwin when he's working on a new film, or that the archway over there is where the Believer and Chris Ware got their start.
One of the most wonderful things about visiting a new city on business is having old friends welcome you to their turf. I am experienced in many things, but not in the ways of whatever city I'm visiting. There's no substitute for a guide who will take joy in the way you see everything through the eyes of a newcomer -- even a tourist. My walk down a street-art-plastered alley with Jeff is something I'll always remember, and for which I'll be grateful to him, even with the recognition that the experience must be rather ironic or at least multi-layered for him.
Today at work was a mix; I find it hard to know what should be evaluated valiant effort, what as failure, what as unqualified success. My recent history at home has made me hypersensitive to the way I am perceived, so my question is always about the new colleagues I have just met, with whom I am working -- how do they perceive me? Does my perspective have weight with them? Do they feel as they do because of factors specific to who they are, or is it because of something about me and my presentation of information that nudges them into that position? Tomorrow that work resumes, and I try to find the affirmations I need, even as I prepare to go home, a place where affirmations from this organization aren't going to carry as much weight as I would like (even if they were unequivocal).
How pleasant, then, to spend an evening with a friend whose sympathetic ear and patient support allowed me to unload some of that baggage, and with whose life and trajectory I equally enjoyed becoming acquainted. May the experience often be repeated.