Wednesday, January 21, 2009

No. 6 & 7

Beer: No.6,
Boddingtons; No. 7, Red Stripe
Date: January 16th, 2009

Place: The Thirsty Scholar, Cambridge, Massachusetts

My buddy Pete is an interesting guy.

He was the RA at Wesleyan to the guys who years later would be the band MGMT. He is a monster Oakland Fan. He is well read (always suggesting a book, I read the Nine based on his review) and well written (he's a copywriter at Arnold). He once got mugged by a man with the same name. After several months of prodding, he even got me to go to New Hampshire to knock on doors on election day.

I actually had lunch on my first day at Arnold with Pete. I didn't know of anyplace to go, and we headed to a place near his then apartment in the South End. We didn't really strike it off, in particular. I think Pete is one of those people who you misread as being one thing, as you are just trying to unpackage them, and find out they are another. He's a pretty sarcastic guy, and I've grown out of sarcasm over the past several years. So for a while, I really just thought he disliked me. Not in a "You'll rue the day you ever crossed Pete" kind of way, but just in a "You do your thing, I'll do mine."

I ended up working on a number of assignments at Arnold with him. The first several he was out of town for, on shoot, so the thought that I crossed him and that I really should rue the day and he was never coming back and I better learn to be a writer crossed my mind more than once.

Then, we spent about 4 months together in a room, 19 floors up, staring at the Charles River, watching the snow, thinking thinking thinking about a good idea for a bad product. Most ideas ended with us talking about how this widget wasn't necessary and we were just shills and what good are we doing to the planet and to people and then on a practical level what would we do if we just didn't do anything and how would we operate if the paycheck stopped coming because we told people that they didn't need this and would that reverse psychology really work and who cares it's just advertising.

Through that experience I really got to know him. And realized that he is a great guy. And realized that I'd been selling him short. And felt bad for thinking he hated me. I've found it to be true a number of times: we don't take issue with people; we take issue with our own issues. And once we get past our own hangups, we realize that the people are who they were, and it's us that have changed.

Pete had been trying to figure out a number of things with life and in the process his apartment came up for renewal and he just kind of decided to let to cards fall where they may. So, a few months ago, Pete moved upstairs with our landlord. So he's kind of like Joey from Friends now. Except better read.

He'd been gone for a month, back in the Bay area for Christmas and then in LA for a shoot. So once he got back in, it took a couple of beers to catch up and talk about inauguration day and college football (which he doesn't care for but I sure as heck do) and the neighborhood and the jobs and toss back and forth ideas on a number of random bits.

Like the lunch on the first day of work. With beer. And instead of with a acquataince, with a dear friend.

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