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Life Among The Rich And Famous
7:48 a.m. - 2006-08-29

Last week he called me up from the office to tell me that someone he knows was trying to fill up a table at one of those charity benefits. I guess it looks bad if you book a table and then can't fill it up. Anyway, he said we would go, since we had never been to this benefit before and it would be new and interesting. It was held Sunday way out in Livermore among the vineyards and exclusive golf clubs and was to benefit a foundation that operates a wonderful camp facility for children of all kinds. They have special camp sessions for heart patients, AIDS patients, diabetes kids etc., where the kids can have fun and see that there are other kids just like them.

I have never seen an event so well planned and organized. Parking was easy, there was a tram to your car, a bus to the camp, check-in was not a hassle, and there were free cold bottles of water everywhere. Which was good because it was very hot. There were three enormous tent structures with the silent auction items displayed in the middle and tables all around the edges where restaurents and other food vendors were offering (free) samples of their wares. You walked around with a special plate and wineglass and sampled things like BBQ sandwiches, crostini, tamales, olives, wine and one place even had a large fountain of chocolate for you to dip fruit or pastries in. There was also an enormous covered area with tables and chairs and huge portable cooler fans, because it rapidly got to be a scorcher. At every place setting was a small personal battery-operated fan! There were some celebrities there too, some of which snuck up and were talking in a microphone right next to my ear while I was trying to get some olives at one place. I saw Narsi David, the local foody celebrity who used to have a show on the PBS, and a news anchor lady, and that guy who hosts Bay Area Back Roads. The news anchor was in full makeup, which looks peculiar out in the real world (and doesn't work too well on a very hot day) and the other TV guy looked much older and smaller in person than he does on TV. Narsi David looks like a regular nice guy however. After the silent auction, they had a live auction which started out with people just donating money to match a grant. About 5 people stuck up their paddles and donated $50,000 each! Oh, to be rich and generous! In short order, they had raised almost a million dollars and the auction hadn't even started yet.

I sat next to our host's wife, a young mother with twin girls at home. We chatted about staying home with the kids, and she liked this because often when you go to these things the other women are very condescending about stay-at-home moms and tend to sneer at you, as I know from experience. The waiters were so solicitous that when the sun moved and sunshine actually fell on someone, they would bustle up with a big patio umbrella and shade the person. Got to love it.

Eventually we decided to leave because Melissa was coming for Sunday dinner (I had luckily loaded up the crockpot before we left). So it was a very interesting afternoon, and I have to say that when the temperature is high, rich people dress just like everyone else. Survival instincts tend to level the playing field.

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