I'm not a poker player.
I don't even play one on tv.
But last night S and I were invited to a Texas Hold 'em poker night at a friend's house here in town.
Other than some quarter machines in Vegas. neither S nor I have ever played real, cards-in-your-hand, chips-on-the-table poker. But I knew the basics of Texas Hold 'em (does anyone play any other type of poker anymore?) so after 30 minutes of passing on what little knowledge of the game I had to her, we rustled up a pea and cashew salad for the potluck table, left the kiddies with her folks, got a $20 from the seaweed jar for our "buy-in" and headed east to the poker "barn" on the outskirts of town.
The poker was fine. The food was good. It's the company that rocked the most.
We both came away from the evening minus $20, and 1/2 a bowl of pea salad, but also with an utter sense of being a stranger in a strange land.
Our poker partners, most of which grew up in our small town, revealed sordid information about people, places, events, buildings, and organizations that it would have taken us years of comprehensive Columbo-esque sleuthing to find out on our own.
Affairs. Criminal activity. Religious fervor. Punishment.
What's buried under that building?
Who's their real father?
When did she become a 36C?
Where can you get the best onion-fried burger?
Why are there none of THOSE kinds of people here?
How did they get away with what they did?
Anyone remember the tv drama-dy Picket Fences?
Later that night, as I pumiced S's feet while she bathed, she dryly commented, "we are so naive."
Indeed. We hardened city folk, me with a lifetime of "suburbic-living" a short 5 miles outside the downtown West Coast capital of the United States (okay, that's not true, but if you're from LA, you must think it's true), came to the realization that we knew nothing about the small town we now live in.
But at least now we know, that we know nothing.