After my initial Friendster addiction, which was, naturally, closely followed by a MySpace obsession, I was none-too-excited to join Facebook. But now, naturally, it's the only site I ever check, and I am very much enamored of it.
Nothing ever disappears on the Internet, though, and my other social network accounts are still out there, like friends you used to really be into but dumped in seventh grade to join the popular crowd. To take the metaphor further, let's just say that I still see MySpace every now and again, usually in gym class, but Friendster is sitting at the geek table all the way on the other side of the lunchroom, and I never walk over there.
Actually, the high school comparison is apt, because Facebook has turned into one big alumni gathering. And, like most school reunions, the people I enjoy reconnecting with the most are the ones I didn't know super well in high school. We have another reunion planned as a direct result of Facebook. (We had our 10-year reunion, and then zip.) I am really excited. Facebook has been amazing foreplay for that sucka.
As a precursor, I spent time with two old classmates last week. We met at Yield, a wine bar in Dogpatch. First, a few words on naming your wine bar "Yield." Reader, it gives me pause. After speaking to an employee, I found out that the owners are referencing the noun: A yield is a harvest or a bounty. Okay. But when I first heard the name, my mind went to the verb, which is just not a good one. I suppose you could get all Zen and say that the word refers to holding back and allowing someone or something to go first, ignoring your own ego. But for me, it seemed like a synonym for not being in the driver's seat.
Let's look and see what my favorite thesaurus, Rodale's The Synonym Finder, has to say. "Yield: surrender, deliver up, turn over, part with, renounce, lose hope of, lie down and die, lump it, bite the dust, recant, defer, truckle." Okay, that's enough: You get the picture. (By the way, what the fuck does "truckle" mean?) I suppose all of those terms could refer to getting drunk, so maybe Yield has a dual meaning after all.
My dis-ease with Yield didn't vanish the moment I got there, either. It's actually a great spot, with really nice staff. The food menu looks really cool, too, though we didn't partake. My anxiety came from how DIY the place was, which in S.F. merely means you didn't hire an overpaid interior decorator. Someone has put a lot of love and time into Yield, but not a ton of money. Though I celebrate the bar and generally disparage the big-bucks joints, I get worried for these types of places. I want them to do really well. I see how much they have at stake, and how much they are trying to live their dreams. (This is my shit, not theirs, to use a group therapy phrase.)
When you walk into Yield, there are low couches in the main room, and brushed-metal tables and stools to the right. The wine list looked ... well, hell, I don't know crap about wine. I ordered the Palin Syrah, which of course Sarah Palin fans bought by the case on election night.
There were eight people in our party, two of whom I went to high school with. Claudia lives in Brooklyn and was the homecoming queen. Lisa lives in Albany and studied anthropology at Cal. They both made sure to connect with me and invite me out, even though my high school voice asked, "Do they really like me?" It's amazing how thrown back you can get on Facebook. I've even had people ask to be my friend when I didn't particularly like them, for stupid reasons, in high school, and even now I'm all like, "Oh, hell, no, that bitch is crayzay!" Well, you know what? I'm guessing she has probably changed a little in 20 years. I need to lighten up. I need to, er, yield. Then, of course, there are the people I ask to be my friend, when I'm not sure if they even really want to. Facebook is a time capsule that catapults you back.
I sat next to Claudia's yoga instructor, who was visiting her family for Thanksgiving, and a writing teacher at State sat at my left. But of course, Lisa and I got to talking about high school, and everyone else in the room faded into the background. We discussed one classmate who was voted Best-Looking, who I always thought was kinda dumb. Well, apparently she is really smart. In fact, she was so smart and beautiful that she dated Dave Eggers, and is mentioned in A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. I felt a twang of jealousy. Now, if this were still high school, I would've kept it to myself. But I'm a grown woman now.
"Goddamn, I'm jealous!" I exclaimed. "Shit! That dumbass?" Getting older means you a) don't care what people think, and b) don't care what you say.
"She's actually really cool," Lisa said.
Then Claudia chimed in about another classmate, Sari, whom I had always liked but didn't hang with much. She is a successful chef, and made Thanksgiving dinner for Barack Obama. When I heard this, I just felt happy for her. Why no jealousy? I suppose I feel that only when I am dubious about the person. "After dinner, Obama went to wash the dishes," Claudia added, relaying what Sari had told her. She told him he didn't have to, and apparently he replied, "I don't ever want to forget how to do stuff like this." Awwww.
We eventually got sick of talking about people from our past, and I gravitated to the yoga teacher. She explained how to hold a pose, stretching for a long time and staying with it, and giving in to the burn. She said yoga had delivered her from bulimia by teaching her to be in her body. I suppose, in that sense, yielding to something is a good thing.
Lisa drove me home, and I confided in her that I felt special to be invited to join them and that, deep down, I wasn't sure whether they liked me, since I get thrown back to my junior high brain.
"Everyone likes you!" she said. "I've never heard anyone say that they didn't." I needed to hear that. Actually, I needed to hear that 20 years ago, but I'm not sure it would've sunk in. She dropped me off and we made plans to hang out again, or, at the very least, go to our reunion together.