Wednesday, July 13, 2011


Last night I went to a community "social" event.  It was a wine & cheese/meet & greet, book reading/discussion hosted by my next door neighbor, the local community association President.  After confirming my attendance the day prior, my neighbor asked me for a favor.  Would I be able to help watch the bar and make sure there was enough wine, beer, and glasses left out for the crowd?  In my new role as Block Captain (that's another story), I was more than happy to help out.

I was looking forward to a little intellectual conversation and to learning a bit more about this father-daughter journalist team.  I have both a political science and journalism background so I tend to enjoy this sort of event.  I briefly spoke to my Mother before leaving and mentioned that I was off to a book reading.  When I mentioned the book title, Haunting Legacy: Vietnam and the American Presidency from Ford to Obama, she informed me she had just seen the authors interviewed on PBS last week.  Who knew my neighborhood was so cutting edge? 

After making sure everyone at home was fed and bathed, I threw on some fitted black non-play date clothes and went off to the event.  I quickly got to business tending the bar as there was a healthy turn out and lots of glasses being filled.  After I had made a few trips from the fridge to the bar, the event planner's husband (my next door neighbor) asked if I had ever worked in restaurants or bars before.  Apparently I was right back in the swing of my former role as a student server/bartender.

I quickly realized no one was really speaking to me, unless it was to ask a question about the wine, nor were they really making eye contact.  Oh My.  It dawned on me that my neighbors thought I was being paid to do this!  In fact, my neighbors didn't realize that I was their neighbor.

I suppose I was probably the youngest person in the room, and wearing black, and standing behind the bar.  When I mentioned my observations to my next door neighbor, the event planner, she said I should take it as a compliment, and I'm going to.  For half an hour I was my old poli sci/journalism student bartending self.  Perhaps it was even a little slice of feeling alive?  Whatever it was, it reminded me that what we perceive to be the truth, isn't always so, and who I appear to be can change from the streets of Manhattan to the parks of Washington, DC to the community centers of Bethesda.  

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