Rich people everywhere

(2010)

Last nite we went to a show at the Bowl. Showed our press passes to the usher and went to turn right and head up the stairs as ujsual.  The usher said no and pointed us down the stairs. We kept going down and down, past all the places I thought we were gonna sit, through steadily rising income levels. Then through a special gate. I was about to head to a spot tucked in the corner when the usher led us down to the very front. Then across to the very center. There we were, front row center at the Hollywood Bowl, the stage maybe four feet away. Apparently some billionaire died or something and we got his seats.  Whatever, there we were with our picnic backpack full of home cooked fried chicken, some Lake-to-Lake cheese, Ritz crackers, tortillas, some fruit, whatever we found in the fridge. A ten dollar bottle of wine I got for half that. Rich people everywhere. There were menus on the table. The Beef was $41. Appetizers pushed $20, desserts a mere twelve or so. I didn’t even ask to see the wine list. I sat there kinda stunned. Fyl acted as if this were normal everyday stuff for her…she’s getting jaded. The server was oh so perky. I said we weren’t going to order off the menu and she looked a little disappointed—no big tips from table numero uno tonight. She did offer us place settings, glasses, to open your wine, anything, sir. I declined, but we did order Fyl a beer. Who knows how much that cost. Anyway, we have this really nifty picnic backpack I got once for test driving car far too small for me. I wanted that backpack. Like a sixty dollar deal, free.  Really nice plates (plastic), really nifty wine glasses (plastic), stainless steel silver ware (plastic handles), a cutting board (wood) and some cute little checkered napkins (cloth). We love this thing. We pack it full of food, put a wine bottle in the wine holder, I mean it’s perfect.  The envy of all picnickers. My god did it look cheap and plastic and tawdry amid that little sea of rich people. I opened the bottle and poured it into one of the little glasses. A server looked and I swear rolled her eyes. This unctuous little man, nattily dressed, went from table to table chatting with the rich people, anything I can do, etc. He studiously passed right by us, eyes averted. Suddenly the program director of KKJZ (the jazz station) pops up. His wife is holding a picnic bag. The look completely dazed that they’ve been plunked down front row center at the Bowl. They pull out their picnic dinner. Grapes, some sandwiches, a bottle of wine from Trader Joes. She was crazy about our plastic wine glasses. I had to show her the picnic pack. Tell the test-drive story. Then pops up a writer and a pal. Dazed, both. And so broke we all shared our wine and food with them. All around us tinked fancy silverware on fabulous china. Champagne bottles popped. It was surreal. The people stared at us, sitting at that table, knowing we had to be somebody, but if we  were somebody how could all of us be so cheap?

A wonderful evening. Two excellent Latin jazz bands and a hackneyed Sergio Mendes set, made up for by an army of near naked Brazilian dancers who strutted all around us. They were between us and the non-rich people and we got about five solid minutes of 99% bare Brazilian tushes shaking it for the people. The night before there’d been a symphony there…. It ended and we finally got out of the parking lot and I had to get home to write my column so of course I said hey, there’s a party, let’s go, and off we were to Highland Park and caught the last dregs of an obviously uproarious party. A couple dozen boho wackos old enough to know better. Lots of slurred sentences. People with the munchies bad. We stayed till 1:30. Home by 1:45. We had left the house at 6:45…..

Btw, we never did pay for that beer.

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