Weeks ago on Facebook I posted this status message: “[Jane Kokernak] is not an event ‘mingler.’ Give her a job to do — coat check, for example — and she’ll knock your socks off.” The message captured my feeling after I attended an MIT event at which I had a job to do. I wasn’t hanging out, self-consciously chatting people up and trying to penetrate small-group conversations. Instead, I was there, by request, to examine student work and ask questions. At other events, I have distributed name badges, guarded doors, and cleared the dinner detritus. In each case, the assigned role made me comfortable enough to do well and have a great time.
Back to my status message. On it, Jan commented, “Hmmm… we might have a job for you at the book launch.” She and her spouse, Diane Felicio, invited me to handle proceeds at the book-signing table. “Of course!,” I practically bleated.
On Monday night, I showed up. I talked to my mysterious friend T. and others, drank wine, ate little crab cakes and figs with bleu cheese, listened to Jan read, saw Diane in her far out dress, clapped for Greater Boston PFLAG (the event’s beneficiary), and played cashier as the author signed books. Of course, I enjoyed it.
And a couple of weeks before, when I read The Side Door, Jan’s first novel, I thoroughly enjoyed that, too.
Event photograph by Diane Hammer.