Saturday, August 9, 2008

Adventures of a Wine Taster

(From last year... )

There is nothing like an MS gathering to depress the crap out of me.

I have a business connection with a very, very nice man whose mother has MS. Earlier this summer, he asked me to join the fundraising committee for a large, swanky annual event that he organizes. It is to endow a comprehensive MS center near me. I thought, why not? I do not get out enough, do not really socialize outside my small circle of dear friends. My therapist, who I adore and am morbidly attached to, is, for good and obvious reasons, always encouraging me to pursue other support resources. And it was flattering to be asked.

So I was on board. The tickets for this wine tasting were so expensive, I could not bring myself to send invitations to all the people who generously support me in the MS walk, so I didn't even really tell any of them about it. I just sent solicitation letters to businesses. My daughter wanted to come, but she wasn't forking over $150 bucks and neither was I for her.

So I went alone.

After a long work day in the city, I knew I would be on my feet for most of the evening. My back really hurts and my legs are wobbly, so I decide I have to use The Cane. It is THE Cane, because it will NEVER be MY cane. Yuck.

Here's a fact that would probably be painfully obvious to anyone but a knucklehead like me: An event that requires one hand for your wine glass and one hand for a plate of hors d'oeuvres will go awry if you already have a cane in one of the aforementioned hands. Something's got to give.

Add an obstinate teeny tiny purse with a very long strap to the mix and you have a disheveled mess.

So there I was, alone, not knowing a soul in the 300 or so people there, futilely trying to keep my purse on my shoulder, pathetically stumbling around on the grass, gripping an empty wine glass and a cane.

I desperately wanted that wine glass filled. To the brim. Maybe even more.

Oh, and I was the only person there with a cane. The only other visibly impaired attendee was in a wheelchair. And I managed to step on his foot. Yep, I stepped on a crippled guy's foot. How is that for mortifying?

I finally found the wife of the chairman, who I've only met once, but she was so, so sweet. She asked if I had gotten anything to eat and I piteously gestured with my full hands. She steered me to a table with some friends of hers, introduced me and asked if I could join them. What lovely people they were! So that was really nice.

Now to get something to eat. I was famished. My wayward purse was left on the table. I would simply have to trust these people with my millions. Ha ha. I gamely grabbed TC (The Cane) and lurched around the maze of tables and chairs, stooped under the ropes around the edge of the tent, gingerly climbed over the wires to the sound system and staggered over to the food stations. At this point I was so hungry I could have used a trough, but I settled for the 4 x 4 inch plate. With the plate in one hand and TC in the other, I had no way to carry the fork. So I slipped it into my pocket. The waiter's eyes bulged. "Don't worry, " I said, "I'm not stealing the silver, I just have no other way to carry it." He looked dubious, but didn't call the dogs.

Back to the table via the same circuitous route. Put my plate down. Take the fork out of my pocket. Take my wine glass and repeat the journey for a glass of wine. Back to the table. Sit down to eat. Realize I forgot a napkin. I practically cried. Started to get up AGAIN, when one of the women at the table offered to get one for me. I was so grateful.

I tuck in to my now ice-cold food, while chatting with these pleasant people. My fork slips out of my numb right hand and lands on the grass. I look at the fork in the grass. I look at the food tables with the forks, light years away, and God help me, I leaned over, picked up the fork, wiped it with my napkin and kept eating. I am sure my companions were horrified. But I figured, it's grass. What is the worst thing that could be on it? Pesticides? So what, I'm going to get a horrible, disabling neurological disease? Too late! I already have one. Ha ha ha.

By this time I was absolutely exhausted. I said good night to my table mates, good night to the lovely wife of the chairman, studiously avoided the man whose foot I stepped on, who was giving me the evil eye, and gimped off into the night.

The event raised over $200,000. So I guess it was worth it. But it left me with a wistful hangover that had nothing to do with the wine.


DK said...

Dude. There's not enough wine in the world....

However, for the record? I probably would've just wiped the fork off as well. I doubt they were horrified. I mean, it's not like you just picked it up and started nibbling off the chunks of lawn and dirt...

Da Old Man said...

Isn't it amazing at a fundraiser for a disease, they are not aware enough to offer help to someone right in front of them who has said disease?
Don't totally blame them, though. Our society has ingrained in many of us that we shouldn't help those who are struggling because they are really into their independence.
BTW, I'm not one of those proud gimps. I'll take all the help I can get. If it's something I can handle easily enough, I can always say "no thanks."

Marie said...

Kate, you are right, they probably couldn't have cared less. But that would not have made for an interesting narrative, now would it?!?! lol

And I was so hungry, it is a perishing miracle that I DIDN'T start nibbling off chunks of lawn. lol

Joe, I was amazed that there were no accomodations. All I could think was that most people with MS simply could not have afforded a ticket, so it was moot.

I am all about the independence thing, usually to my detriment. lol Oh, I'll happily take the help. But it is just hard for me to ask for things. For me that is partly cultural and partly the way I was raised.

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