My Beloved and I are mostly homebodies, but knowing that variety is the spice of life, we occasionally do things as experimental adventures knowing that there is a decent chance we might not enjoy some of them but wanting to try new things anyway.
Our primary activity yesterday fell into that category. We’d accepted an invitation to staff the booth serving premium wine at the Sausalito Art Festival. We didn’t know if we’d have fun, but it was for charity, and we accepted the invitation.
The drive up was pleasant, unhurried, and often beautiful. Even all the stop lights on 19th Avenue stayed green for us. The views from the Golden Gate Bridge were as spectacular as ever, and Sausalito was just on the north side of the bridge across the bay from San Francisco.
As we got near the venue right next to the water, it quickly became clear that parking would be a challenge. All the parking lots appeared full, and although a traffic and parking volunteer suggested we park in the nearby residential neighborhoods, they were cordoned off for people who didn’t have parking passes provided only to the residents.
My Beloved and I are rarely at our best when we are trying to get somewhere, are unfamiliar with the area, and still haven’t found parking after thirty minutes of looking—with little hope that another thirty minutes would buy anything but more frustration. We weren’t yelling at each other, but let’s just say we weren’t exactly in a romantic mood either.
Finally, one of us decided we should just risk parking in the residential area. The other of us thought that was a terrible idea and pointed out that ALL the cars on the street had a very obvious bright yellow parking permit, and ours very obviously did not. Having our car towed looked more like a probability than possibility.
We barely dodged a full-blown argument on that subject, but held it together and decided to take a look at the parking situation at the far other end of the event. We finally had better luck there and were quite happy to shell out money to eliminate the risk of having our car towed.
We were a couple hours early and decided to get to something to eat and walk around enjoying the art, weather, and beautiful scenery.
We returned to the booth to get the lecture which also included checking ID for under-age drinkers, and the warning that the ATF was conducting stings in the area. If we were caught serving alcohol to anyone under age 21 the consequence would a be a $10,000 fine and time in jail.
Heidi and I gave looks to each other that clearly said, “Uh, that isn’t what we signed up for.”
But we shirted up anyway with the distinctive coral-colored “Volunteers” shirt, and went to the firing line, err I mean, counter to take orders, pour the wine, collect the money, and return change.
Neither My Beloved nor I are huge wine drinkers, and don’t know very much about them. So, naturally, we were asked all kinds of questions about them. We fessed up that we didn’t know much about wines, and instead offered a taste or two to them so they could see for themselves which they preferred. That worked wonderfully.
There were probably about 10 reds and 8 whites from 17 different vintners and perhaps a dozen different varieties. It was intimidating.
Six volunteers were at the counter and moving around grabbing (or in our case looking for) bottles, pouring, taking the money to the cashier immediately behind us, etcetera, all at the same time and in a space only slightly bigger than we were if standing shoulder to shoulder in an area that was also about three feet deep.
Picture a cross between bumper cars and a contortionist convention and you have some idea of what it was like in that space.
My Beloved and I weren’t exactly panic-stricken trying to do, find, and remember everything, and always in the back of our minds the fine and jail time, but we were a might anxious for the first 15 or 20 minutes. I doubt that either of us will ever forget them.
We eventually settled into a groove and were fine. As it turns out, the crowd was relatively old, and “carding” young-looking folks was a non-issue, as we didn’t see any the whole time we staffed the booth.
Just for practice, I told a woman who looked to be about 28-30 years old that I was going give a compliment to her and ask for her ID. She thanked me and said her birthday was coming up so it was especially nice that I’d “carded” her. She was about to turn 28. No jail time today.
My Beloved and I were actually having fun, but were glad when or shift ended. We were each given a “Thank You” glass of wine, and then we trekked back to our car.
We decided to go home along the beautiful coastal highway and stop somewhere for a picnic dinner at the beach and watch the sunset.
At a grocery store along the way we loaded up with all kinds of goodies to eat, then found a great spot for our picnic.
It was getting a bit chilly, so rather than hike with everything to the beach, we parked right up against it, rolled down the windows, opened the sunroof, and had a delicious dinner inside our car as we watched a truly glorious sunset, with the sounds and smells of the ocean adding to the experience and ensuring that all of our senses were savoring each moment.
The ambiance and company were fantastic.
I’m happy to report that the experimental adventure was a success, and some great memories were made.