Wednesday, April 28, 2010

That Regular Thang

Community is very important to me. I'm blessed to know a lot of great people in my neighborhood, my city, and around the world. I keep in touch with the far-flung folks via Facebook and such, but the best way to enjoy the local ones is just spending time together. A big part of this is regular get-togethers. Turns out we've got a few such occasions...

When I worked at Seadragon, we all hopped on the "lunch train" every day, for some team-wide social interaction. No topic, no matter how bizarre or risqué, was off-limits except one: you can't talk about work. The team is incredibly tight knit, enjoying each other's company and working well together under stress, and I credit those lunches as being a major contributing factor.

When the office moved from downtown Seattle to Bellevue, we started doing one day a week with no meetings so people could work from home (to offset the new commute burden). A number of us continued the lunch tradition, leaving our homes to have lunch together on that day. Even now, no longer working with the team, I still join in for those weekly lunches.

Another weekly event is dinner and a movie at our house. Friends and neighbors pile into our kitchen and cook and feast together. The grownups engage in all sorts of merriment, while the kids run around crazy. After the kids go to bed, we all settle down in the living room for a movie picked by a different member of the group each week. The merriment continues as we "add our own soundtrack" (as one of the local theater chains admonishes us not to do).

Once every other week, various portions of Live Labs get together at our favorite pub to eat, drink and debate the world's important topics. This pub accepts minors, and Caitlyn has been a part of this regular event since she was 1.

Once a month, my sister and her husband serve brunch to a bunch of friends. We are always sure to attend for the good food and delightful conversation.

There's also the monthly neighborhood trash cleanup, which, as it turns out, has become quite the social event; everyone comes out, picks up some trash, catches up on the news, watches the kids play around together, etc.

We used to have a monthly get-together for the neighborhood at someone's house, which was a great way for everyone to get to know each other as we were all moving in. Now that the neighborhood has matured a bit, we spend time with each other a good deal throughout the month with random interactions on the street, and the formal gatherings don't seem as necessary. In a sense, every day (especially if it's sunny) has become neighborhood get-together day.

Planned or not, there's something wonderful about all these gatherings. By making them regular events, they become a comfortable place for people to come when they can, let their hair down and hang out. If you miss one, no big deal, it'll be on again next week.

This sort of constant, low-key interaction is what makes community strong and life more rich!


Nice post, Ian. I'm happy to be some part o your regular thangs - though i need to be more regular. :)
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