I don’t know Vincent Gray. I didn’t vote for him in the mayoral primary. (I didn’t have the chance; I’m a registered independent.) And after listening to the presumptive mayor-elect banter for about half an hour with Carol Joynt at Q&A Cafe this afternoon, I still don’t know much about him. But at least I’m not alone. “Some people don’t even know who I am,” Gray confessed.
Joynt doesn’t know him that well, either. Gray had to correct her on some fairly significant points of his biography, like what his mother did for a living. The thing that clearly troubled Joynt was that she doesn’t know what Gray thinks, particularly about many of the folks dining at the Georgetown Ritz, where Q&A began its new season today.
Joynt’s first question wasn’t a question, it was an observation. “This is your very first time on South Street.” Yes, that was true, Gray acknowledged.
“What role did Georgetown play in your life growing up?” Joynt asked Gray, a DC native.
“Not much.” Gray said he grew up in a one bedroom apartment on 6th Street NE, in a neighborhood “some would call gentrified.”
“Is that a bad word?” Joynt asked.
“It’s a description,” Gray replied.
The interview felt like an awkward first date, like Joynt had questions she wanted to ask, but was afraid she’d seem aggressive. So, she did what any polite host would do under the circumstances. She asked Gray about what other people are saying.
“You’ve been portrayed” as a pawn of Marion Berry. “The media” have characterized your victory as a racial issue. “President Obama” put down the D.C. schools recently. “Has he called you?”
Come on, Carol. Just say it. You want to know if Vincent Gray holds a racial grudge, has it in for Georgetown, and is going to can Michelle Rhee. Right? I know Q&A Cafe isn’t Hardball. But Joynt was more incisive when she interviewed the Salahis.
I suppose we’ll all have to wait to find out what Gray really thinks. But at least now I know this: He’s a lovely dancer. To end their chat, Gray asked Joynt to join her in a “hand dance,” which I thought was called the Swing, but apparently is a genuine D.C. creation. Man, what I don’t know.