Saturday, September 1, 2012

Breakfast At The Alcove Cafe & Bakery

A good friend of mine, Rafael Navar, came into town from Washington, DC  this week to visit family and friends. We caught up with each other this morning for a leisurely breakfast at the Alcove Cafe & Bakery in Los Feliz.

When you work any place, you naturally make friends but for the most part, they are what you call "work friends". As folks move on with other professional pursuits you learn if they are work friends or real world friends. Both are perfectly fine and genuine in sincerity and meaningfulness. One however continues on into other areas of your life while the other is frozen in time and linked to a specific period of your life's story.

I am happy to say, Rafael is a real world friend who I know will be in my life for the long haul. He is one of those cool, bohemian, artsy, without trying, activists who lives life with passion and a gut level commitment to social justice. At the same time, the guy knows how to have fun. When he still lived in Los Angeles, he would throw the occasional party at his place. It was not one of those stiff get togethers that you hoped people showed up to. Not a chance! This was a social event. The whole apartment complex was involved as if it were a true communal celebration- complete with a Dee Jay, and sometimes even a fantastic "chef on the go" making delicious tacos, quesadillas, etc. for party-goers to devour. There was never a dull moment. His friends were a mix of artists, activists, teachers, you name it. I had some of the coolest conversations at his little soirees. My social calendar has not been the same since he headed east. If my old job was "high school" he would be a leader in the cool clique. Being friends with him gives you the feeling your ranking on the "social meter" went up a bit by association. He pulled up to the Alcove for our 9:30 am gathering on his motorcycle. Need I say more?

I love catching up with Rafa because he always has a great story to share. He is so passionate about what he wants to do with his life, not just his career. You can't help but imagine the possibilities in your own life. Usually when we have gotten together, I realize how complacent I have been with living in general. Today, coming off my recent activity, I felt as alive and passionate about life as he was. It was invigorating to be able to share the exciting adventure I have been on with him and feel his genuine excitement for me. Considering we are such different people, in many ways we hold surprisingly similar philosophies about life that makes his friendship both unique and special.

On his end, I am so proud of what he is doing. When we met at my old 9 to 5, he was clearly what one would describe as a young up and coming political activist in the labor movement.  Who knew in such a short time he would rise to the level of National Political Director of the Communication Workers of America. Living with passion makes things happen in amazing and often surprising ways. He wants to make a real difference in the lives of working families. If anyone can, HE CAN!

Tonight, I am getting together with some more of my old "work friends" who made the transition into real world friends at Hollywood Forever for the "Dirty Dancing" screening. If it is half as much fun as breakfast at the Alcove, then this will have been one of my more enjoyable Saturdays in some time.

Life is great, when you let it be!

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