Misfits Thanksgiving

Dear Reader,

This year, I was fortunate enough to spend Thanksgiving in the company of some very interesting people.

Growing up, for me Thanksgiving has always been about spending time with family— clearly my upbringing on this front was not unique. However, times change, people move away, and others pass on. Now, as a twenty-something-year-old person, Thanksgiving features different faces and places each year. Last year, during peak COVID season, I experienced the smallest Thanksgiving celebration in my memory when my boyfriend and I booked a dinner for two at a West End restaurant (more here). On this day, in 2021, widespread vaccinations made Thanksgiving travel and gathering a (more) viable option for many this year.

At my particular event, there were about 15 of us in total (plus two large house beasts [aka dogs]) at the long table in a charming house in the woods right outside of Boston. Our host to us is a mother to some, a mentor to most, a colleague to a few, and a friend to all. She has a tradition of inviting her students and others into her home to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday. In such a setting, everyone knows someone, however no one (excluding the host) knows everyone. For this reason, when we mingled and sipped wine before dinner, there was a lot of getting-to-know-you chitchat. Let me tell you — there were quite a few intriguing characters in this group!

Vegan Warrior. One day, there will be a book, a documentary, or just an in-depth interview about this woman and I won’t be surprised when it’s released. She’s smart, athletic, and driven to succeed! She is a hardcore vegan (i.e. the type of vegan that prioritizes fruits and vegetables and shuns impossible burgers and fake cheese) and abstains from alcohol (no wonder her skin is flawless!). She is a long-distance runner, swimmer, and all-around athlete both physically and mentally (don’t mess with her). A hard worker from a young age, she studies at a top university, and has extraordinary goals she strives to achieve (which she will! Looking forward to the memoir 🙂 ).

Numbers Guy. If someone is discussing something that they are truly passionate about, their face will glow. This is exactly what happened when I asked a fellow dinner companion about what he does for work. The answer — math! And, what a wonderful thing that was for him. Having studied applied math, a career path that suits his particular math niche wasn’t readily apparent. However, after a grueling interview process with questions such as “how many streetlights are there in our city?” he found his way to a job that he genuinely enjoys. Finance stuff, numbers, stocks, probabilities… I’m not going to try to explain it, but this is the sort of job where counting cards is kind of transferrable skill.

The Joker. I’m over-simplifying with this one (and, like, with all of them), but I want to isolate just one aspect of this individual’s personality — he’s smart funny. There are some people that always have something witty to say as if they had already anticipated the situation and have a response tucked away in their back pocket. He holds strong opinions on subjects people do not normally debate, like the nutritional value of Chipotle, for example. He has a repertoire of jokes that he can fluently incorporate into conversation. Also, he naturally supplies the sort of droll commentary that sounds like he’s quoting lines from a movie, for example, “the best way to combat toxic masculinity is to have women do it too.”

From my little corner of the table, I only had in-depth conversations with a handful of people. There were many others too with “interesting backstories” and I’m sure that there were one or two geniuses among us. There were laughs, nice exchanges, and some gossip.

It was a great time with great food, great people and, overall, it was a great contrast from our teeny-tiny Thanksgiving from the previous year. I am so grateful to have been invited to join this wonderful group!

As an introvert, this Thanksgiving experience was a reminder to myself that I have to get out more. There are some truly interesting people out there. Moreover, we’re all interesting in the right context. I hope you will allow others to see your “interesting” too!



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