One of my good friends lives in Gwinnett County. We were roommates in college and for a year after college. I consider him a pretty close, lifelong friend, yet I haven’t seen him in probably seven years.
When I first moved to the Atlanta area I didn’t know anyone here, except one person. I had a cousin who was working on his MBA at Emory at the time. Over the two years he was in Atlanta I got together with him exactly once. That one time was for my wedding.
My wife has a friend who moved to Cherokee County several years ago. They grew up next door to each other for a long portion of their childhood. We have never met up with this friend, even though he has children the same age as ours.
Being a rootless relo is a concept that I try to come back to from time to time. People move to Alpharetta and have no friends, close confidants, no one to watch their kids, etc. But is that really true? I share the three little stories above to illustrate a paradox. There are five million people living in metro Atlanta. The chances are real good that you already knew someone before moving here. At a minimum you’re one or two degrees of Kevin Bacon from knowing someone close by.
So why is it hard to reach out to the people we already know? Is it traffic? Are we just too busy to make time for friends who live 30-45 minutes away? Or are they too far away to be considered close by? Or am I just strange for not getting together with my friends?
Peter Kilborn, the writer who inspired the name of my blog, called the rootless relos of the affluent burbs modern-day executive gypsies. Sometimes I think we’re closer to nomadic hermits.