things that are helpful to know

So, for like weeks I had been hearing about this awesome fundraiser for this organization that is affiliated with Alternate ROOTS (an organization that I’ve been a member of for a long time now). This other organization is called Project South, and they’ve come to the ROOTS Annual Meeting a few times, and I was happy to support their work. Additionally, the name of the fundraiser was “Sex, Wine, and Chocolate.” How could you not want to go to something called that? I knew it was a joint affair with another organization called SPARK, but I had never heard of them, and my understanding was that the purpose was to raise money and awareness about domestic violence. The event was billed as an “evening of sensual pleasure for women.” Ok, I’m thinking, you know, fun, lots of chocolate, perhaps a tiara will greet me at the door, maybe a few bawdy jokes here and there, all in good fun, blah, blah, blah

It didn’t seem like the kind of thing I wanted to go to alone, but I don’t really have a lot of girlfriends my age in the area yet. Especially ones who are not married and doing the baby thing. So, I invited my 58-year-old Indian neighbor, Pushpa, and I was especially hoping that she would bring her daughter, who’s close to my age and who I’ve been trying to strike up a friendship with. Pushpa’s daughter ultimately backed out because she’s a doctor and doing the baby thing, so we together, an unlikely pairing, donned some sassy wear and ventured out on a fresh, fall evening.

When we arrived, we discovered that the fundraiser was, in fact, to promote reproductive rights. Also something I very much want to support, but it was my first clue that the evening was going to have a different, um, flavor than I had originally imagined. Pushpa had showed me the extra check she’d brought along in hopes that there would be a silent auction so that she could buy presents for other people. As we were checking in, we discovered that there was no silent auction, but then we learned that instead there was a raffle.

We made our way on over to the raffle table and found an array of prizes that might be won, from baskets that included gas cards and candy on up to the grand prize, a ladies luxury package, including a cruise for 2 and sex toys!! Yikes… (I looked at Pushpa out of the corner of my eye and tried to see if she was taking this in.)

I tried to move us quickly away from that table and on over to the next where there was lots of literature about the two organizations. Available for pick-up at this table were little, plastic items that looked like those coin purses that you squeeze on both ends and then the long line opens up to expose your change. But the longer I looked at them, the more I realized that they were oddly round, whereas change purses are typically oblong. And that’s when it dawned on me, that these were designed to double as a condom holder. Pushpa picked one up and thought aloud, “I could take this home to my grandson. He loves to play with this kind of stuff.” I just looked back at her, wondering which way this would go. Then she threw it back down and said, “Naaaahhh.” Whew…

Then, we shuffled into the next room and discovered in the dim lighting and flashing bulbs that “Prom Pictures” are being made. Once again, I started to grimace as I saw all the props that have been laid out to be utilized for pictures, including handcuffs, whips, dog collars, and whipped cream. At this point, I had to wonder how much of this my companion is picking up on. Is she taking it all in? Completely oblivious? She seemed to be enjoying herself at least partly, but I was growing increasinly uncomfortable with every new turn.

Thinking we must have reached the height of decadence, we emerged into a room full of women and men naked from the waist up getting body painted quite intricately. AAAAAAAHHHHHH. I shuffles us quickly on through there, unable to look Pushpa in the eyes and then, thank god, we found ourselves in the main room and at the bar. Unfortunately, we discovered that, despite calling the event “Sex, Wine, and Chocolate,” our $20 tickets did not pay for a single drink ~ it was a cash bar. I was so annoyed. I really thought there would be at least one glass of wine in it for me!

There was, at least, copious amounts of chocolate.

And, low and behold, a beautiful half naked African-American man draped across back of the table.

It was just too much. I couldn’t take it any more. Claiming that the music was too loud ~ which it was ~ I grabbed a few cookies & chocolates off of the table and asked Pushpa if she would like to go back outside with me. Bless her heart, the poor woman doesn’t eat sweets and doesn’t drink. Why did she even agree to come with me to this thing?

Anyway, we hung out in the lobby for a long time watching the many fabulous characters as they entered the festivities. One highlight for Pushpa, I could tell, was when we discovered that the check-in table had started distributing Obama buttons after we had come through. She was intending to make up for her lack of chocolate in schwag somehow, and this was a perfect substitute for her. She went back to the table thrice. She walked away with 8 total. Pinned them to herself, her program, and made sure I got one too. My purse now says “HOPE all over me.”

We eventually ventured back into the ballroom ~ Pushpa with napkin pieces stuffed in her ears ~ and tried to take it in for a while longer. But it was just so not our scene together. Finally, I turned to her, and said, “You know, if we leave now, we’ll make it home in time for the debate.” I think she kind of hated to acknowledge it, but sometimes you just have to admit it’s not going to get any better.

We stopped at Trader Joe’s on the way home. She had never been there before, and I wanted to show her something at least a little more up her alley to my estimation. It still didn’t seem to be the right thing.

As we drove home, I still wondered to myself why Pushpa had come with me. She started talking about all of the other things that we might do together ~ go to thrift shop, the movies, etc. And finally it dawned on me…I think it was to get out of the house and not babysit her grandson for a while. It didn’t really matter what we did together. We were just hanging out.

And I think we had fun, even if we did get a little, um, over-stimulated, as it were.

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