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Happy Birthday Paola

Saturday, April 21st, 2007


Quote of the Day: “I have the heart of a child. I keep it in a jar on my shelf.”

- Robert Bloch

Yesterday I wrote about Wild Miles and this morning, I got to attend the Captains’ meeting.

They held it at 0900 in a warehouse somewhere in an industrial business area and in attendance were people you would normally expect to run 10-person relay races of 180 miles. In other words, FaaaaREAKS!!!!

I loved it.

I don’t know though, they seemed a little rambly and disorganized but I guess when you have such a complicated venture, you do what you can and what WAS evident was that the organizers really cared about the race and the participants.

The organizers were a family that have been doing this for years and even though it cost $1000 per team, it was not a money-making venture for them. Most of the costs, I guess, were in the permits they had to get to run the race through municipal areas. And probably law suits.

After I got all the information about the race (more than quadrupling everything I knew about the race), I made my way home where I had another event planned.

OK, it was not MY plan but I was involved.

OK, well, maybe I was just tagging along because I was invited.

See, my good friend and fellow Marine, Paola was having a birthday party.

When I had a birthday party, it’s mostly just waking up late, doing a lot of nothing, and getting a gift or two from the kids. Then we hang out and do nothing (something I rarely get to do unless you count just about every weekend I don’t have a race) and maybe later we have some cake or something.

Not ever a real big deal since I’m not like 10 or something.

But Paola has another outlook. She views it as an opportunity to go all out so her plan was to rent a limo and take all her friends up to Temecula and go wine-tasting. That way we could get all drunk and what-not and not have to worry about driving.

I know what you’re thinking: taking me wine-tasting to wine country is like taking Jethro to the opera.

Pretty much.

But I come as a set (Carrie and me) so if she was gonna invite Carrie, yeah, she had to deal with me too.

I’ll have to admit, I was not all that psyched to go. I mean I really like Paola as a good friend and all and enjoy when she joins our family for the things we do but me and wine tastin’ ain’t exactly how I like to spend my Sundays.

But it was her birthday so I would quell any misgivings about going and accept her generous offer to join her…. and her mom…. and her best college friend …. and a couple I didn’t know…. and Marisa the Adj….. and HER mother-in-law…and a couple of other guys I didn’t know.

And Gunther.

Gunther was the limo driver and was an older gentleman that I felt kind of funny around. Not because he was weird or anything; he was the perfect limo driver with the perfect name. But he was older (in his 50s) and I felt like a rich schmuck when we ordered him around and he got out to open our doors.

I know, I know, it’s his job and not a bad one at that but to subjugate yourself to a bunch of wine-tasters seemed to me a require kind of a schmucky tolerance. I didn’t treat him with anything but respect but I just felt funny.

Until the wine hit.

Then… fuck Gunther.

Just kidding.

We arrived at Paola’s place and met all the party-goers. I was still a little putzy but was civil to the others. On the way to Temecula, I was quiet and thinking of all the things I could be doing. Riding in a limo really didn’t do much for me and I imagined what all the other drivers on the road were thinking.

Assholes” was a common theme in my head.

We got to the first winery and poured out of the limo (after Gunther opened the door, thank you very much).

The way these things work is that you have to buy sample tickets, usually for a buck each and then you go to where they are serving the wine. You give them a ticket (or a coin, whatever they use as currency) and they pour you a sample of whatever wine you choose. They have a little cap that pre-measures the amount but some of them just do it bareback and are a generous with the helping.

I liked those the best.

I stuck with the whites and the roses (OK, pinks).

To me, the dark wines tasted like they were strained through a dead man’s asshole.

Then there was the monkey spunk. Didn’t like that one.

There was one pink one that I really liked and ended up loading up on that one. I was not going to have very much but you kind of get into the mood as you go and before I knew it, I was swillin’ wine like a schmuck-extraordinaire.

As I explained earlier, I am not wine-people. And if you don’t think there are “wine-people” ….. then you are probably wine-people.

Wine people are generally assbags.

Not all of them but many of them. And to further break down their assbagedery, they are either rich assbags or uncouth assbags.

The rich ones are your Thurston Howell the Thirds and Paris Hiltons with matching attitudes. We saw some people who hadn’t seen a hard days’ labor in …forever. I’m sure my presence as something so base as a military man was …. oh how primal.

Then we saw some slutty young girls who thought that getting drunk at the wineries was a great idea for a bachelorette party. I would bet a handful of wine coupons that those very wine coupons would get a young man very far with these…um…. ladies (and I use that term loosely, excuse the pun).

While I was busy passing sweeping judgments on the people there, I was also consuming sample after sample of wine. Slowly, the psychoanalyzing subsided and I began not to care. I was a little more relaxed and actually started to have fun.

I became wine-people. Assbagery in full effect.

With the help pf Gunther, we went from place to place and experienced the wine-tasting in Temecula like it was supposed to be experienced: in a blur.

By the time the last winery closed their doors, we were all feeling pretty good and it was time to go home. I have to admit, I actually had a good time.

When we got back to Paola’s place, the crowd whittled down to Carrie and me, Paola and her mom, and Paola’s college friend.

We were hungry so we headed to the Black Angus to have dinner. Paola’s mother wanted to pay for it and we had absolutely no problem with that. None. Nada.

What I did have a problem with was that I was at a table with 4 slightly inebriated women and the waiter was a bit of a jokester.

I can’t quite remember the exact line that he ended up crossing but the women were throwing out some very overt innuendos and he was playing along. Everyone was having a great time with the verbal sparring until the waiter lost a bit of control and said SOMETHING (God, I wish I could remember it) that was the biggest church fart in the history of farting in church.

The record stopped with a scratch.

And he left.

We all sat around and tried to reconstruct exactly how we got to the point where the waiter would say what he said and we all chalked it up to him just letting the moment get away on him.

We didn’t see much of him after that as he reeled back his service to the minimum. Obviously he realized he crossed the line. I thoughtthis the funniest part of the day.

Regardless, we enjoyed our evening and I think Paola had a great birthday.

If anything, it was one to remember thanks to Black Angus waiter and an afternoon swilling wine with assbags.

Free Advice for Today: “Refinish a piece of furniture. Just once.”

- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.