Last night I made small talk with a friend as I sipped red wine and munched on a piece of raw radish plucked from an elaborate vegetable tray behind me. We were standing in a room full of mostly women, and we were waiting for Ruth Bader Ginsburg to arrive. It was the 30th anniversary celebration of the International Women’s Health Coalition, a great organization that promotes and protects the sexual and reproductive rights and health of women and young people — particularly adolescent girls — in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East. (I would know — I used to work there.)
But the mood in the room was more anticipatory than celebratory. One woman looked over her shoulder while nodding in agreement with something being whispered in her ear by another woman wearing a Very Nice Pantsuit. Snippets of conversation floated past me: expected voter turnout in the NYC election happening that day; news of promotions; updates on various loves. Everyone seemed to be biding their time until the legendary justice would arrive. Amidst all that buildup and small talk, I could have easily overlooked the small figure that eventually moved past me and through the schmoozing crowd. If not for the heft of her security detail, I would have missed her entirely. As things were, I caught a glimpse: an elegant white lace top with matching gloves, sapphire red earrings, a downright plucky cat brooch pinned to a black blazer (variation of a Supreme Court theme). Luckily for me, it turns out that small talk was a small price to pay to hear RBG speak as candidly as ever.