Monday, July 11, 2005

Wait for it ...

My semi-regular pinochle games are memorable not simply for the hostess's vintage card table or glassware, or for the fun of doing something to engage my brain (that happens pretty rarely now that I'm out of the academic world and into the working one). They're also memorable for the low-key famous folks in the aged bohemian crowd.

The thing about low-key famous folks is that they put you on a first-name basis with them and don't act like they're anything special. So if you never think to inquire about a last name, you might go the rest of your life not knowing you just drank beer with and teased Jerry Orbach's son. Last names become important.

At pinochle, in the hostess's kitchen last week, I fell to talking with a pleasant middle-aged woman. Her necklace spoke to me: it reminded me of the jewelry my mother wears and not too many other people do. It could be characterized as "difficult jewelry" -- it's often made of heavy, unrecognizable stones -- or, merely, "the jewelry of the well-travelled."

My surprise, then, was not great to discover that she writes travel guides. Currently, she's composing one about New York. I could hardly think of something more exciting. We talked about it for a while then, and also later, once we started playing the game. Another person at our table asked how she got into the business. It must be kind of tricky, kind of competitive.

It helps that it's a family business, she said.

And to the background noise of bells ringing in my head, I asked what her last name is.

And she replied, Frommer.

I have another pinochle game tomorrow. I can't wait to see who I'll meet.

1 comment:

Adam said...

That sounds like loads of fun. The last name thing is a good point. When I see you next, ask me about Howard Jones's son. Love, little Adam.