Marina Times – The connection is human – and don’t forget the animals

Bonding can be joyful. It can be rewarding. It can also be a source of relief. And I’m not talking about the satisfaction one gets when the superglue dries and what was once broken is firmly glued together. I mean kinship, loyalty, compatibility and ease in company between people, regardless of (and sometimes because of) age, gender, race, spiritual beliefs or political orientation, whatever their orientation.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about what binds human to human. Not a romantic connection, per se. Just login. There are shared interests, common backgrounds, similar challenges, and a simple but indefinable chemistry, including sexual attraction.

Music is an obvious passion that brings people together for the long haul, especially when they love the same artists – and I mean really love them to the point of getting together to watch live performances, swap recordings pirates and constantly compare their favorite songs or concerts. . On Facebook, there’s been a flurry of excitement lately from a group of friends who were goth rockers in their youth and still follow the musicians who embodied the genre. For one person, these generally sane folks went crazy on the spring tour of a resurrected Bauhaus – the arty, dark British rock band best known for the thrilling, mournful track “Bela Lugosi’s Dead.” Bela may be dead, but the Bauhaus is alive and online ties within the group ran deep.

An even bigger equalizer is the sports fandom. Although punk-rockers and country-rockers are quite different from each other, there is generally a consistent quality within their respective flocks. When people support a specific professional or college team, there is an implicit brotherhood between them, but the individual fan can be a lawyer, clerk, waiter, teacher, construction worker, driver, or artist. Still, a Giants, Niners, or Warriors win at a sports bar can lead to plenty of high-fives, hugs, and hearty toasts between strangers who may not be from the same social strata, vote for the same candidates, or have the same worldview on other issues.

Still, they’ll behave like lifelong friends in the next game they watch together at this watering hole.


It seems that the possibilities are as endless as the types of cuisine from different points on the globe. Recently, I’ve met a veritable tribe of people who simply crave pizza – in gourmet or standard regional styles like New York, Chicago and Buffalo – on a regular basis and meet every Sunday at a different pizzeria in the metropolitan area to sample the wares. I admit to being one of those pizza lovers who enjoys the variety of pizzas we share. But there are also subsets of people in this expanding group who pass on knowledge of other types of restaurants dedicated to other types of foods that I love. So I now plan to meet with one person for the Asian ravioli, with another for the mole enchiladas, another for the pad thai, etc.

My late friend Robert and I used to hang out every Wednesday afternoon at a Sunset District comic book store similar to the one in North Beach where we first met. During that first meeting, it took five minutes to realize that we both had an appreciation for certain Golden Age comics, TV shows Doctor Who and buffy the vampire slayer, and (remember!) the mighty San Francisco Giants. In a very short time, an office worker and a reporter have bonded in a major way. And yes, we continued to bond around our favorite James Bond. (Sean Connery, of course.) We never socialized except at the comic book store. We didn’t need anything more than an hour a week in the comic book department to talk about his discovery of an old issue of Black Falcon of the 1940s, the virtues of the last Doctor Who episode, and what this rookie infielder can do to stop hitting.


In its most visceral and primitive form, bonding can even occur between humans and animals. Ask a zoologist, and at the slightest hint, he or she will tell you that animals’ senses and sensory memories are often more powerful than those we humans rely on. For example, a woman I know has a deep and lasting relationship with a goose. Hi Whitney! Hello Wow! (If there’s any confusion, Whitney is the woman and Wawa is the goose.) The time away from the farm doesn’t lessen Wawa’s ardor as she honks and cuddles up to Whitney at their reunion. And apparently what’s good for the goose is good for the kitty.

I was hanging out at a friend’s house the other day when the eldest of his four cats ran out of a side room that serves as the de facto feline condo on the property. For the record, my buddy and his girlfriend are animal lovers who are more than happy to take care of furry creatures, though they’ve now reached maximum cat pacity. Anyway, this particular male named Charlie is a stocky black and white man with an aversion to strangers. So my friend’s significant other was surprised to see Charlie walk over to me, meow, and rub against my leg. What she didn’t know was that Charlie and I had hooked up a few years ago, and my pheromones or whatever remained in her molecular database.

As we all struggle to cultivate and maintain friendships amid the detachment of this digital age and the dislocation and isolation of pandemics, connections can and do give us camaraderie and purpose. It’s a laugh when you’re down and a cold drink when you’re thirsty. For my part, I savor all my connections – from the frivolous to the deep. If they come and go and I feel empty, there’s always the pet store.

Michael Snyder is a print and broadcast journalist who covers pop culture on KGO Radio’s “Mark Thompson Show” and on “Michael Snyder’s Culture Blast”, via, Roku, iTunes and YouTube. You can follow Michael on Twitter: @cultureblaster

About Patricia Kilgore

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