Earlier this week, I presented Faces of Israel at an invitation-only event in Tucson. The program was held at a private home… at a visually stunning and magazine-perfect home to be precise. Each female guest arrived with beautifully-coiffed hair, a carefully selected outfit and matching accessories – including a groomed man at her arm.
As the hostess introduced me to each guest, she half-jokingly remarked that “She didn’t have pink hair when we met her last year!”, perhaps making small talk or perhaps to distance herself from inviting them to a program where the speaker might be a wild card. We sipped wine and socialized prior to the program, and several of the guests handed checks or a one hundred dollar bill to the organizer at the end of the night to subsidize future programming.
Here’s the thing: Both the hosts and the guests were friendly and welcoming, literally opening up their home to me and my work. And though I didn’t grow up in a fancy house like the one that I found myself in that night, I was always somewhat at ease interacting with all sorts of people – including wealthy “Englewood-types” and international diplomats.
Yet, that night, I felt a profound and quite surprising discomfort during the social part of the evening. It felt foreign to be socializing with upper-class Jewish couples in a private community. How much should I share with them about my life? What would they think of me and my RVing and van-dwelling friends? How much would we have in common?
I would like to be able to weave in and out of different communities with ease. I wouldn’t mind being gifted a masterpiece home, but practically I have become used to a much more informal environment for myself.
My first choice for a chevreh (social circle) are fun people who share a passion for bettering the world and who inspire one another. But beyond that passion for service, if I needed to choose between your average RVer / van-dweller and your average mansion-dweller, I would likely choose the former. Without making any value judgments, that crowd is just so much more ‘me’ right now.
posted by ayo