We humans are, at our best, social creatures. That is, we derive much of our pleasure from social activities: Family gatherings, school functions, ball games, concerts, art and museum exhibits, picnics and barbecues.
These are the moments that make life livable, that connect us with the rest of humanity and give us self-worth and immense satisfaction.
Contrarily, the lack of a social life can be cause for depression, anxiety, and mental/emotional instability.
That’s why I loved two events from the early part of June.
The first was the 55th-anniversary celebration for Cho’s Kitchen, the venerable Chinese bistro in downtown Selma.
What else besides noodles and rice could draw all five of Selma’s City Council members on a Saturday afternoon? There they were mingling with the citizenry, which included folks of all ages and ethnicities.
They cut a ribbon as we all watched the Chinese dancers, dined on Chinese grub and schmoozed to our best schmooziness. Then it was time for “let ‘em eat cake” and we waddled home to nap it all off.
Social event of the year? Perhaps that depends on whether your taste runs to chow mein or burgers. But to many of us, it was a quintessential Selma moment mixing commerce, cuisine, and conversation.
After all, doesn’t much of our social life revolve around eating?
A week or so later, my family visited Fresno for the monthly Art Hop. If you haven’t been, it takes place the first Thursday of every month in downtown Fresno and the Tower District. It’s basically like bar-hopping, but instead of getting plastered with booze, you get your senses filled with good art and a chance to mingle with artists and other art-lovers.
June’s Art Hop included an end-of-year display by Fresno high school art students, including many from the classes taught by Selma’s Marc Patterson at McLane High.
Art Hop evenings are a cool mix of art, street merchants, musicians, food trucks and dancers/skaters/picnickers at sidewalks, parking lots and green spaces downtown. We had some wine and cheese and cookies at the galleries, then a couple of tacos and some lemonade from the food trucks while my grandson cavorted at a playground near a group of skateboarders at a one-block park on Calaveras Street.
Driving home, I pondered Selma’s artistic nightlife. We already are blessed with the Concerts in the Park that bring folks out to Lincoln Park on summer evenings. And we have a strong theater series as well as occasional concerts and art exhibits.
Could we expand from that to something year-round, like a walking art/music/food evening on High Street that would include street entertainers, music, art, and food? Something to get people downtown and away from their TVs and digital devices?
Let’s get social. It’s good for the soul — and the tummy.