Exotic? Me?

Just back from dinner, and I’m still smiling about a comment that someone made about me.

My friend Lee gets his pals together for a post-holiday Italian dinner at one of his favorite eateries here in Portland. It’s the kind of restaurant with all-you-can-eat-spaghetti Mondays and plastic checkerboard tablecloths. Old school and reeeally good food.

There we sat, starting from my left:

~ The host, investment banker (specialty: public stock offerings)
~ Beauty school teacher
~ Librarian
~ Lawyer (specialty: non-profit, foster children)
~ Scientist (NATO research facility, Italy)
~ Urban planner (specialty: green, sustainable)
~ Yours truly, writer

These people are up to some interesting things, or, if not so interesting, have loads of funny stories (about beauty school drama queens and homeless-people shenanigans in the library stacks, for example). I was into hearing about spooky NATO research, or heartwrenching foster-care cases, or our new mayor’s crazy plans for Portland. Stories, stories galore from all of them! Let me suck them all up!

Unfortunately, before I could delve in, the urban planner turned to me.  “Lisa, you’re a writer, right?”

So then it starts. You know the questions — people get curious, it’s a fact, and I don’t know why I continue to be surprised. After a couple of glasses of chianti, I’m okay with talking about myself, about my erstwhile agent, the writing grant, and all the rest. To my surprise, after awhile the lawyer says, “I’d say you’re the most exotic person at this table, Lisa.”



Me? This white girl who is so white that tomorrow she has to return a facial powder in the lightest shade (“light”) because it’s still too dark? Me? Exotic?

So I crack a joke, something about me being the most boring person at the table because I spend most of my time alone, at home, with my computer.

They laughed. I don’t think they believed me, but did I care? Nah. Because they were under the impression that I’m exotic. (Frankly, I bet it’s my cool blue glasses; they’re the most exotic thing about me!)