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KEEPING THE WORLD SMALL

Let’s keep the world small.

That’s how a friend would sign all of his emails that he’d send me and probably others as well. I thought of this as his band, now based out of the Northwest, just came through L.A. playing one of the local venues.

By this point in my life I now have friends scattered all over the world. Sometimes I wish the world was a little smaller to cut down the travel time to get to everyone. Sometimes I wish the world was a little smaller in just the immediate 20-40 mile radius that surrounds me so I could get from one end of L.A. to the other in the actual “five minutes” that I say I’ll be at my destination (how does “be there in five or ten minutes” ever seem like an accurate estimate from getting from say the Westside to the Eastside?).

However, other times the world seems a little too small when our daily lives in the neighborhoods we reside in and places we go seem to resemble Mister Roger’s Neighborhood (who rocking his infamous cardigans would probably totally fit right in to any of our present day neighborhoods).

Sometimes I enjoy this almost too close for comfort way of life, but then the “Cheers” theme song comes to an end and I have to retreat to re-claim my privacy and alone time.

When I was growing up it seemed as though my dad either knew everyone in the town we lived in or was on his way to soon knowing everyone as everywhere we went he would wind up in some long conversation with people. Whether he’d known them for a long time or just the two minutes we were in line together in the check-out line at the grocery store it never failed that a quick five minute (really five minutes?) trip or errand would turn into a half hour to an hour long verbal detour as the conversation with the newfound friend(s) would continue to our annoyance. It really was annoying, especially as a teenager when all I wanted to do was just go back home or hang out with friends no matter how great my parents could be.

So now fast-forward to the present, where an adult me seems to have inherited this trait I found so annoying in my father. Somehow or another I now have to allot for the time I’ll be spending in a conversation with the gas station attendants at the stations I stop in with regular frequency when I have to pay with cash, the cashiers at grocery stores, retail employees of any sort, security guards, bank tellers, the list goes on and on. I’m not sure how it happened, but these things seem to just creep up on you. One minute you’re minding your own business and the next minute everyone is telling you all about their business.

However, since I guess it could be worse, instead of enjoying an almost daily abundance of conversation I could either by choice or not-by-choice live the life of a total hermit.  In fact at this moment,  “Here Comes a Regular” should start playing in the background.  Somehow instead “Men Without Ties” has popped in my head (although, if I had a choice of a Paul Westerberg track that I’d really like to hear right now it’d be “Eyes like Sparks” but that has nothing to do with this column entry), and that’s just as fitting…because men without “ties” really don’t have a need to dress for dinner I guess.

I also somehow could possibly end up stranded on an island with only a volleyball to talk to– something I’d have to resort to doing I guess after I spend the first few hours coming up with some ready-to-wear collection of dresses made of the foliage native to whatever island I end up stranded on. I wonder what natural resources on this island I could use to make heels?

I guess I’ll take all of the conversation without complaint after all as seaweed, sea reef, or wooden heels don’t quite sound so appealing to me.

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