Dinner of champions

I was finishing preparations for the big Thanksgiving meal when my cell phone rang, and I saw on the screen that it was one of my closest friends. So of course I answered it.

“Have I got news for you,” she said.

My mind immediately computed all of the possibilities it could find in the 0.02 seconds before I began responding to her statement, which included, in approximate order, the following:

someone was pregnant

someone was pregnant with an alien fetus

I’m behind in watching V episodes

wow, DVR has changed my life

I’m sad Monk is ending

“What’s your news,” I asked innocently.

“Those people who crashed the White House party,” she said, in a hushed tone, “those were the people who own Oasis wine where I got married.” She spat out the last six words so quickly I needed an extra moment to parse them out and find the spaces between them. And then the memory section of my brain filled in everything I needed to recall about the Oasis Vineyard in Virginia. As it happens, there is not much good in those memory stores. A Hummer outfitted with the Oasis logo that camps out at the annual Vintage Virginia wine festival, with “club” members that are condescending toward everyone else. Stories from old coworkers about visiting the vineyard only to be snubbed as “too local” or not wealthy-looking enough to get decent service. When my friend told me she was looking at wedding venues and that those included Oasis, I told her I’d never heard anything good about the place. They took that under advisement but booked there anyway. It sounded so easy—they had caterers on hand, knew several good florists, and would cordon off the premises just for their event. Once the contract was signed, it was a different story. The events manager wouldn’t let them talk to any of the vendors directly, kept changing things that they’d requested, opting, for example, for the most expensive flowers the florist listed, so that my friends had to redo the order at the last minute, and worst, started billing charges to their credit cards without telling them what any of the charges were for. When the third $1,500 charge showed up on their statement, they had the account number changed. The next charge the vineyard tried to put through failed. They had a screaming phone message waiting for them when they got home from work. The whole thing reeked of some kind of badly orchestrated con game, and though the wedding went on as scheduled, they’re still paying off the credit card debt and are left with sour memories infecting what was otherwise a wonderful October afternoon.

So I wasn’t surprised to hear that these people had crashed the White House party. Not surprised in the least. They were probably wearing clothes paid for by fiancees all over the DC Metropolitan area. Without spending much energy on why they’d do such a thing, I’ll write them off as narcissistic or sick. The incident with my friends was only one example of the many people who have sued them over the years for breach of contract and so forth.

What really bothers me about this trespass into the White House is that it happened at all. You can show up without an invitation, without being on the list, and get past the Secret Service? Really? Aren’t they trained for like, spies and crap? How could anyone simply smooth talk their way into the room?

“I hope they get arrested,” said my friend.

“Sheesh, I hope so too,” I said, pulling the turkey out of the oven. “We can’t have people think they can just break security like that.”

“I know! Isn’t that nuts?”

“I guess you’ve never bought anymore of their wine, huh, even though you got a lifetime 20 percent discount for having your wedding there?”

“Guess what,” she said, sounding somewhere between bitter and smiling, “I’m never buying their wine again. Besides, they’re selling the winery, so I don’t think anyone will honor that agreement anyway.”

“Well, Happy Thanksgiving!”

“Happy Thanksgiving to you, Ev,” she said, and I turned back to the bird, which I had named Norbert.

It’s okay not to be wealthy, of course, especially if it means your soul is intact.

New developments from the media say that Michaela and Tariq Salahi, the crashers in question, are now seeking a high-paying interview with whoever winds up top bidder. They misunderstand how broadcast journalism works, then. Reputable media sources don’t pay people to be interviewed. What they really need to do is find a ghostwriter to come up with a book like, “My Crazy Pictures with Famous People,” and then they can get a book deal from some crazy publisher out there, like whoever was going to print OJ’s fakeish confessional, or the folks who printed The Turner Diaries. Of course, they won’t be able to make any money bragging about their trespassing if the Federal Government decides to prosecute them.

So for the sake of all of us who want absolutely no more primetime on the Salahis, or the balloon boy’s parents, or Jon and Kate, or the freaking Duggers, PLEASE, I beg of you, oh Federal Government. Arrest them.

As quietly as you can.

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Categories: ponderings, transplanted

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One Comment on “Dinner of champions”

  1. November 30, 2009 at 1:06 pm #

    Ha. I love you! if the most notable thing that can be said of you is you crashed a party, then you needn’t bother writing about your antics.

    I am also sad Monk is ending. I am hoping there are quirky roles for him in the future and that Monk’s stellar run has clearly demonstrated he an actor of incredible range. In these times, it’s to see a person of Middle Eastern extraction not relegated to playing terrorists, extremists or morally compromised oil magnates.

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