Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Kettle, Pitcher

December 3, Kettle Full Of Fish, December 4, Rudy's, December 10, Holiday?


I showed up a little early, so walked around. When I showed up five minutes before seven, noone else had showed up. And I am thinking, this is going to be like that Rudy's experience: After A Week Of Freedom, Rudy's? SAFO?, The Four White Manhattan Organizations. Hardly anyone is going to show. But by the time I went to the bar, got my drink - and the bowl of nuts - and got back, one person was there, Josh Silverstein, the host: Joshing Politics. I was surprised he seemed to know my name after I introduced myself. Does that fit the definition of notoriety? For a low profile guy like me? Then Tracey showed. It is possible she was surprised to see me. Then this guy who has a four month old kid who he claimed did pushups. Then Margaret of Citizen Action. Oh yes, you are a regular, she said. That is when I realized maybe Josh also faked it, he does not know me, or of me. And this guy Marshall. He hovered around until Tracey walked up to him and brought him in. Yes, this is the place. 80 minutes later he was complaining to Tracey about "Obama magnets." We supported Obama, but we are not an Obama group, Tracey said. I had a laugh. The guy was figuring out where exactly he was, what was this event, what was this organization.

None of the oldies showed up. Otherwise I had come resolved to never call Lewis Cohen a white asshole male ever again. I have been learning Barack's new kind of politics. Heather, Abhishek, Lewis, none showed. I guess they don't do the After LinkUp thing these days.

Tracey ran with her characteristic running commentary most of the time. She is really good at that. I have always been impressed with her encyclopedic knowledge of local politics. This day her talk was even more panoramic than ever. On national issues, and personalities, I would go head to head, but on local my mind used to go foggy. Dan Jacoby, whose knowledge of local politics is hardly encyclopedic, but back then everyone knew more local politics than me, his attitude would be like, let's talk local politics, let's make this guy uncomfortable.

When she asked everyone how they felt about Hillary's nomination, I saw an opening to speak, but the topic changed faster than a New York minute. I for the first time heard the name Nydia Velazquez, apparently the frontrunner to be Senator since Hillary has moved on. That's curious, because right now I happen to be temporarily living in her district.

And then snippets of comments here and there that are a window into the economically hard times in the city, Ph.D.s doing cooking jobs, people looking for jobs. This too shall pass.

Overall I was so glad to have showed up. It just might have been the most relaxed I ever felt at a DFNYC LinkUp. I was actually there. My first six months with DFNYC, my mind would be 10,000 miles away. The Dean 2004 alum feeling is a good feeling. My primary day to day focus on my startup, I am in the city, finally.

I walked out and away while the rest of the group had stood up, but they were still talking, they had not decided to leave just as yet. I walked out into a welcoming, bustling, impersonal New York street.

Tracey explores your mind while talking nonstop. That is her style. I also long called her the dynamo of DFNYC. Heather is high on knowledge, Lewis is high on authority, Tracey is high on dynamism. Abhishek brings in diversity through the door, soft-spoken diversity. And I have always been intrigued by the collective leadership concept of DFNYC. Women do group dynamics differently. At some level it is downright fascinating.

DFNYC also has a way of mixing political talk with informal, personal talk, casual mentions. The setting helps. This was half a dozen individuals sitting on couches, not 50 or 150 people standing up, drinking beer. There is something special about a DFNYC LinkUp that way.

Men's fear of women, white folks' fear of nonwhite folks, novelist Anita calls it the powerful's fear of the powerless. It is guttural, it is ignorant.


Tomorrow, Rudy's.


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