Dinner with Strangers

Even before setting off to Santa Fe, I was looking forward to Saturday night. My friend Mark (who I wrote about earlier here at C?WC?) had wrangled an invitation for me to a friend’s for dinner. I was looking forward to the social interaction it would provide after several days of being mostly solo.

I met a real author!

But, I admit, I was a little intimated too: The host,  Jamie Morris, is a real writer –  you know, the kind adults read – and his recent bio of journalist Joseph Pulitzer has won plaudits from some impressive sources. Add to it that his wife once worked in the Clinton administration, and who knew what other credentials the many people there I did not know would have, and I was prepared to feel out of my element.

We drove about 15 minutes outside of town, up hilly back roads that I’m sure give a stunning view of the countryside by day. The house, as I expected,  was very nicely appointed. Less expected was the ease I felt dealing with very accomplished strangers; not my usual social crowd, and certainly less so during the New Crisis, as I have consistently sought to spend comforting time with small groups of friends and family.

About half the folks have ties to the food policy/security world; that’s how Mark met the hostess, Patty. Mark, Jamie, and I had writing in common. I’m not sure what several of the people do, though one local couple gave the vibe of being ranchers, perhaps, or artists, or both (and it turns out the husband, Roberto, is an artist and, judging from what he said, one of the few people I’ve met here with deep family roots in NM).

The food was good, the conversation was better, the people the best. Jamie was interested to know that I have my own experience with biographies, and he turned me on to a group he founded just for biographers. Its next convention is in May in DC, and it wouldn’t hurt, I don’t think, to go schmooze, especially since I now “know” the prez. Roberto and his wife had just come from a month in Hawaii, where they have family. Patty shared her experiences in Tibet. I did still feel a wee bit out of place at times; I get the sense there was some old money and Ivy League ties in the room. And for whatever reason, I’ve always felt more comfortable meeting new people with my partner by my side (or at least I did the last 12 years…)  But I was able to add some relevant facts to a discussion on Buddhism, and the story of my new play seemed to draw some interest from a few people. (Jamie had actually done some research on an aspect of it; he seems like someone who has written intelligently on many things for quality publications.)

Just more random pics...

...nothing special

The conversation kept flowing as we finished our desserts and switched to small sips of quality tequila and single-malt scotch. Jamie offered to talk shop with me over coffee before I go; given the relative level of gregariousness I seem to be discovering with strangers on this trip, I just might take him up on it. Just as I might go to that open house I learned about yesterday from Jerry-the-stranger. I took a walk this afternoon (after actually getting more work done on the novel) and found the address. Then I just enjoyed another beautiful, beautiful fall day in Santa Fe.

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~ by mburgan on November 7, 2010.

4 Responses to “Dinner with Strangers”

  1. So I can expect a visit in May? It’s lots of fun here (as you know). Jealous of all your Santa Fe fun. Be sure to look up at night. The profound darkness of the high elevation and lack of background light allows for wonderful stargazing!

  2. Well, the thought did cross my mind that it would be nice to pay another visit, though I never want to wear out my welcome. And yes, just tonight I was out strolling and admiring the sky. No star gazing like this in West Haven, that’s for sure. There seems to be a planet that’s pretty prominent now too, though I am certainly no expert. It has been fun–even better than I imagined, because part of me dreaded being alone for so long. We’ll see how the last half of the trip goes…

  3. Sounds like fun, I’m jealous!!

  4. It was fun, and I’m meeting the author again for coffee tomorrow. Looking for hints on the biz–and living in Santa Fe…

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