What I saw: a raclette party
What I did beforehand: overslept, changed the clocks, ate eggs, posted blog, baked the bread dough I made the day before, gave the dogs the leftover egg, looked for my other pantsuit for Tuesday, read the New York Times, walked the dogs, changed clothes.
What I wore: Tiffany citrine drop earrings (a gift from the Bacon Provider), mustard yellow Fluevog LoF Kaya oxfords, pink striped socks, gray James jeans chinos, black Tanner belt, pale pink Brooks Brothers no-iron fitted cotton blouse, candy pink Boden cashmere crew neck sweater, antique wool-felted pink sari scarf, gray Ralph Lauren cashmere fingerless mittens, black North Face hooded thinsulate thigh-length parka, mascara, glasses.
Who went with me: the Bacon Provider
How I was invited: in person, at the barn
Why I saw this show: it was fun last year
Where I sat: across from my own husband and next to someone else’s husband, who told me two or three times that he is a Republican. I did not tell him that I am not a Republican. I received two texts during the evening, one from my Pilates teacher adjusting the next day’s schedule and the other from one of my kids. I replied to both. I also texted my husband at one point.
Things that were sad: this conversation.
Someone Else’s Husband: What did he do after graduation?
Me: You know, he got a horse job, but he missed his friends, so he moved to Brooklyn, and got a job tending bar…
Someone Else’s Husband: You’re telling me that with your husband’s connections he couldn’t get your son a better job?
Me: He’s not really the kind of person to do something like that.
Someone Else’s Husband: …
Things that were funny: if there was a dissenting opinion about marijuana legalization at my end of the table, it was not uttered aloud. People around me were unified in the belief that it leads to a lot of car accidents. This was followed with a chorus of condemnation of mobile phones for also causing car accidents. I guess car accidents are of great concern here in Westchester County. I wondered semi-seriously if my texting at the table had been noticed and, if detected, seen as rude. I wanted to look up the statistics about the frequency of car accidents in Westchester, but I didn’t until the next morning.
Things that were not funny: a person (who appeared to be white) wanted to tell me how “the blacks” in the U.K. are different from “our blacks” in the U.S. I was so astonished and anxious about where this statement might lead, I stopped listening, and their voice became like the voice of an adult in a Charlie Brown cartoon: WAH-WAAH, WAH WAAH WAAH WAAAH. We were soon coming dangerously close to discussing the presidential race. I attempted a deflection by pointing out that my husband, who I could gesture to but probably couldn’t hear me, came to the U.S. as a refugee when he was a child. Someone (who could not have known then told me that the refugees of the past were “christian,” and therefore, “desirable.” I resumed more serious eating and drinking.
What it is: my friend the host has a number of raclette parties each autumn, and owns a pair of neat red Swissmar raclette party grills. She serves very good wine and bresaola (thinly sliced, spiced and salted air-dried beef), two kinds of cheese, the traditional boiled potatoes, cornichons, and cherry tomatoes. I brought a seeded sourdough bread, baked that morning, consisting of white, whole wheat, and spelt flours, and sesame, poppy, caraway, sunflower, pumpkin, and flax seeds. Each person has their own spatula, and gets to improvise their own cooking technique (just cheese, cheese on bread, meat and cheese on bread, cheese on potato, cheese on tomato, etc.). The conversation was lively and fun and really only unpleasant when people stopped talking about themselves.
Who should see it: we are going to have to have a lot more parties where we talk and listen to each other. My current method of coping by not listening or replying feels like an unproductive emergency measure.