Sunday, October 29, 2006

Who invited the punk?

Last night I attended a fancy-pants fundraising wine tasting shin-dig with a couple of friends. The organization hosting the event was the Adoptive Families Association of BC. One of my friends is the business partner of two men who have adopted a little girl, so their company bought six tickets. Since one of the two partners was out of town, there was an extra ticket, and I was invited to fill-in his shoes. So far so good…

The event took place on the top of Grouse Mountain. A beautiful location. And one I’ve only ever been to one other time for an "event"... on March 29, 2006... hmm... recognize that date? One of the four I will never forget. How seamlessly the circles in my life close...

So, there I was, top ‘o’ the world, dressed “West Coast Formal,” (asking what this meant I was told by one person, “it means wear clean fleece,” by a second, “it means don’t wear anything from Mountain Equipment Co-op” (i.e. even clean fleece won’t do), and by a third, “Donna, you have nothing to wear that is good enough to be called West Coast Formal.”

But I did. Long black skirt. Hot pink blouse. A dangly diamond earring in one of the five holes in my left ear. And my new Dayton boots (pictured in this post) topped off by my black leather motorcycle jacket. (Okay… maybe that’s more Montreal Casual than West Coast Formal, but it worked).

I’ve been to scotch tasting events before, but this was my first wine tasting experience. I was taken by a few things as I compared the two events:
  • Men who drink scotch tend to be taller than men who drink wine. (This is something a 5’10” woman notices);
  • Women who drink wine tend to be significantly more numerous than women who drink scotch (This is something a single woman notices);
  • A big group of people drinking scotch are a lot more fun than a big group of people drinking wine. (This is something anyone with any perceptive abilities would notice).
I ate fine chocolate, nice cheeses and crackers, fancy hors d’oeuvres, unknown fruit, and even some seafood, all coupled with the most appropriate (non-cabernet) red wines. I made small-talk with strangers (all women...phhh!). I caught-up with the friends who had invited me. A nice, uneventful evening.

Until... 10:00 PM. The emcee said, “Volunteers, will you please remove the silent auction bid sheets from the tables. The silent auction is now closed.”

All evening my friend Lin had been bidding on a charter boat cruise for 30 people. There was one other woman who was also interested in having this cruise. The bidding started at $500. Toward the end of the evening, Lin asked me to write her name on the bid sheet since the other bidder jumped at the table each time Lin walked away. Lin hoped that having me enter a bid might go unnoticed by the other bidder, since I was not on her radar as competition…

And it sort of worked… at least for a minute or 90 seconds. I wrote down the final bid for Lin ($670) and walked away. The other bidder did not immediately outbid my entry.

But she did ultimately approach the table. As fate would have it, I was on my way past the bid sheet at that exact moment, to get a top-up of a lovely Fabiano Recioto Rugola 2001, and just as the emcee called the auction over. This meant that Lin had succeeded.

But. Wait. The evening was to become “eventful.” That sneaky other bidder picked up a pen and tried to put her bid down after the auction closed! No freaking way, you cheater!

I grabbed the pen right out of her hand and said politely (I think), “The bidding is over. You lost.”

She grabbed the pen back from me and said, “I was writing when he said that. I get to finish putting my bid down.”

“No you weren’t! You picked up that pen after he said it was over,” and I took the pen from her for a second time.

Oh dear. This woman stood at my height and was just the same build as me… in the few seconds that this altercation took, her four friends had approached as back-up, telling me to give back the pen. Her friends were all women. Five on one? You got it!

The lights went out. The floral-patterned rug turned to knee-deep mud. Not liking the feeling of squish between their pedicured toes, three of the well-heeled women retreated, leaving me with my now-nemesis and only one of her side-kicks.

Two spot lights. One focused on me and one on the cheaty-cheater, so remaining Side-kick skulked sulkily out of the pit, leaving the two of us to a fair fight.

Now, if I had to put my money on one of us, I would have put it on me, for one simple reason: I was wearing my Daytons and she was wearing silly little heels. I felt grounded both physically and morally. She was wobbly on both counts.

End of the story… Lin apologized for my behaviour. I apologized for my behaviour (but my inside voice was not apologizing, oh no!). And the woman who didn’t get her boat cruise was gracious enough to shake my hand, while shaking her head at my apology.

Scotch tasting festival coming up in a few weeks… stay tuned! I predict a story... I'm feeling spunky.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Enjoy the cruise...

October 29, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's really only one way to solve these kinds of disputes, and it typically involves a children's wading pool, 40-50 litres of cooking oil and/or jello.

Just thought you'd like to know.

For future reference.


October 30, 2006  
Blogger MVL said...

Dear Brawler,

I don't want you to think that a punch on the nose is something of which I disapprove but the first thought I had about this exchange was that a) it was a fundraiser b) the cruise was donated to raise money and c) by denying the silly woman in silly heels the last bid the charity was denied that last bit of money.

You could have insisted that if she wanted the cruise enough to lie she would have to cough up at least $100 more.

But confronting her in Dayton's was a good alternative.

I'm at home sick, shivering, with cold fingers and nose listening to John Lennon's Imagine.



November 01, 2006  
Blogger Donna said...

M... you're always the one to see things differently... and make me feel like I'm a heel. Although it was only $10 increments... you have a point about taking money from the org. I didn't think of that. I just thought of what was "right" and cheating isn't right. If you need soup or hot lemon drinks, give me a call. I have to make up lost karma points now.

November 01, 2006  
Blogger MVL said...


You're not supposed to feel like a heel - don't feel like a heel - that wasn't my intention.

I've been laying in bed eating oranges and drinking black espresso, two cats, a laptop, a handful of hitherto unread BIVs and a couple of books (Running With Scissors and Caviar).

I've had more espresso than my body can handle and the little neurons (although they could be tumors) are clacking away in my skull. I've written a review to a play I haven't seen (I tend to pre-write the skeleton). I've written several pages of barely legible 'good ideas', including a recipe using George Bush as the main ingredient.

So clearly you can't take a comment by a sick and caffeine addled person seriously.

$10 increments?! Amateurs!

And speaking of Daytons did you know the boots I have claimed as Daytons for the last 23 years were refused as Daytons by Dayton. Apparently, I was lied to two decades ago. Fortunately I bought an actual pair last summer so at least I'm 'in the club'.

We'll go out together and force high-heeled cheaters to give to real money to adoptees. We'll make a night of it.


November 02, 2006  
Blogger Greg Mills said...

Damn, check out Non-Profit getting all gangsta.

November 02, 2006  
Blogger How I Died Today said...

Unknown fruit!!!

Perhaps you could donate $10 to the cause and assuage your guilt. I don't think you should feel guilty though. What type of person tries to cheat at a charity auction?!

November 14, 2006  

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