Friday, August 07, 2020

It's turning out to be Will

I've been attending this classic film Meet Up for seven years now. When I first began attending, I gravitated to Martha and Joanna. Martha is the opposite of me in every way: nearly 6' tall, black, Buddhist and a bus driver! But she and I share a love of old movies, especially Jimmy Stewart. Unfortunately, her shift made her drop out of the group. I'd hoped that, with our Meet Ups having gone online, she'd resurface, but that hasn't happened.

Joanna and I have grown closer through the years because we're more alike. We're both writers, both politically aware, share a sense of humor, and, of course, love classic film. But as Joanna's relationship with Sid has taken off -- which, during a pandemic presents its own unique problems because of his health issues -- we've drifted apart a bit.*

But the friend from the group who has kinda sneaked up on me is Will. When I first started attending, I just thought of him as our nerdy moderator (since this is a group of movie fanatics, that makes him a nerd's nerd). He's very private, a closeted gay man who must have suffered greatly to think that, in 2020, his sexuality still matters. I know that, seven years ago, he tentatively asked me for help getting a job at our agency, which I wasn't able to do, and I think that might have embarrassed him a bit.

So he didn't seem like friend material. But slowly, we've clicked.

In spring 2019, he was my sherpa through my first TCM Classic Film Festival. We agreed beforehand that we would go our own ways -- we each had movies we wanted to see on our own -- but would check in every day. It worked out well. For someone like me, who prefers to travel alone, he was the perfect companion.

Then there was the night in summer 2019, when he and I continued chatting about that month's movie as I waited for my rideshare. An obviously homeless man came up and addressed Will by name. He wasn't panhandling, specifically, just saying "hi." I was impressed to learn that Will belongs to an open, giving church congregation that runs a soup kitchen and he volunteers. I like someone who quietly lives his faith rather than loudly judging others.

In autumn, he was my "date" for the Noir City Chicago Film Festival. It was going to be four of us from the Meetup on this field trip, but Betty is a fucking flake and Joanna got sick, so it ended being just me and Will. We had a wonderful time.

And so it's gone. Subtly getting to know one another better and appreciate one another more. IMing about podcasts we're both following. Sharing our Baby Boomer love of old TV shows (Peyton Place, specifically). He's the one who recommended the Doris Kearns Goodwin book Wait Till Next Year to me because he knows I grew up loving baseball. This week's MeetUp movie was chosen because it's one of my favorites and he found a great print for free on YouTube. I regularly deposit $5 or $10 via Venmo into his account because I know he's out of work through the pandemic and his is one of those jobs that may never return. But I offhandedly tell him it's to reimburse him for all the work he does to prepare for our Zoom Meet Ups, and remind Joanna to do the same.

I like Will. Will likes me. I'm glad we're in each other's lives.

*I should call her. Or at least send a chatty email. Just because she's not available on Tuesday nights doesn't mean we can't still talk and I could make a greater effort.


  1. I found myself smiling through this whole post about Will.

  2. Do you ever meet straight guys? (Just kidding) It's great to make a new friend. I haven't in a long time, but since my friends never leave my life I'm lucky. I hope life & you are good. Being newly single in a pandemic is thrilling ;)