another thousand dollar dinner

Guestroom, New Haven CT

I have been lucky enough to have eaten some really nice meals lately. I guess luck may not be the right word for it because I’m usually just as happy to eat hummus and pita. I don’t know if it’s my palate or just that I’m happier when people aren’t serving me food, but some of it is in the take it or leave it realm. I like but do not love fancy dinners and in these troubled times I have an awful lot of guilt spending [someone else’s] money on [what I think is] overpriced food. I got Mexican corn on a stick as a side dish — you know the stuff they sell on the street, slathered in butter and white cheese — at a restaurant called Bespoke and it cost six dollars. None of this is to begrudge the people who took me out to meals where I had great times talking to people, just sort of mulling over my general discomfort with fancy spendy things.

I was at Yale speaking this weekend, in case you’re wondering who in jehu’s name was taking me out for some fancy victualizing. I was on a panel talking about the ethics of Library 2.0 which was an interesting topic and got a lot of responses. We each had about ten minutes to speak so I prepared five slides and some loose notes. Other people, more academic types, had whole big powerpoint decks, excerpts from their books and whatnot. I enjoyed listening to them and talking to them at dinner, but felt my typical disconnect. I have a hard time figuring out whether this is just me feeling weird at some sort of brain-level, or if I really was the odd person out at this high level academicky thing. I ask people and they say I’m fine so that’s really all I can do.

I came back to snow that was mostly melted and a note from my bank saying that I could pick up the two mason jars that I’d dropped off a week ago. There was $167 worth of nickels, dimes, quarters and pennies, more than I’d thought. That and thirty bucks would have paid for the hotel room you see above. My big eternal question is how to redistribute some of this money so that rural technology funding becomes as much of a genuine option as conference hotel rooms and thousand dollar dinners as far as our priorities go. My concern — and I always have one or two — is that I may need to leave my rural wonderland in order to figure that out. My second concern is that once I find the place where I feel totally and completely comfortable, it will be the end to my agitation for better things for other people. Hard to say. I sleep well at night and that seems to be sufficient to smooth out the day’s ruffled feathers.

What do you think?


  1. Jessamyn, I have been reading you for nine years. I started following you because you are so grounded, real and special. I am 68 years young, have had eight careers and done all I’ve wanted to do with a B.A. only. Trust me–the world appreciates someone who dances to his/her own drummer. Keep up the good work. I rarely comment anywhere but I’ve be checking up on you–you’re in my Google Reader. I do kind of miss your Seattle to New England jaunt each year. Maybe you could get something part-time near a major city. I have always lived near bustling cities. They do stimulate you. But, like you, I relish my hermit space. Love, Kathy