I got invited to a private showing of the Picasso exhibit at the de Young for investors of a bank. Oh boy. Did I mind that I was a fallback because hubby Joel had a bad back? Not at all. I was the first fallback. For sure no worse than second. I can be charmant, after all, even though a vegetarian, a rather retrousssé thing to be on this particular evening because there was meat. Meat in all its culturally acceptable manifestations. Oysters shrimp hot dogs hamburgers lamb chops meatballs chicken livers and most spectacularly, two roasted pigs stem to stern skewered horizontally, beyond which loomed the mammoth Richter like super-sized wallpaper. I had a camera with me, and I roast in my regrets that I didn’t take a picture of that.
Liz said, “It’s like a cruise ship. I’m starving. Maybe you should forego your vegetarianism for one night.” I considered it later as I was balancing one roasted zucchini slice, two red stuffed peppers, a bit of cheese, and two asparagus stalks on a ridiculously small plate, not as wide as my hand. At this rate I’d have to do about a dozen trips back to the trough, but maybe that was the point. There was a lot a cheerful snuffling going on.
Eight violinists in white tuxedos festooned the grand staircase like a Mormon’s idea of heaven. They were playing, “On a Clear day You Can See Forever.” Out the windows, I checked, the fog was coming in.
I heard someone say, “I’m getting twenty-five per cent on my investments.” I thought of my IRA statement, and its 6-month, 38 cent uptick. Hooray, it had not gone completely into the toilet.
“Are you a bank investor,” one of the handsome attendants, all in white too, asked me deferentially.
“No, I’m an imposter,” I said turning my shoulder so he could read the nametag. “I’m the fake Joel. You look bored. Are you bored?”
“A little. But now you’re here to amuse me.”
No I wasn’t. I was there to get at the cheese.
The room with the Piazzoni murals was a truer idea of Mormon heaven, CHOCOLATE! mousses and cakes and truffles and the tiny plate, scorned before, became my salvation. A bigger one and a 25 per cent return on energy investments may have been conservative.
Yes, sure, I’ll have another glass of that Madeira, since you’re pouring.
Oh right, Picasso.
Downstairs we breezed, into the world of the demigod, not nearly so raucous, and we could stroll and comment like the privileged connoisseurs we were, pick out favorites. My favorite was the suite entitled, “Six sketches, two collages and a bust of my girlfriend waiting for the eggs to boil.” I can’t say that in French.
Alas, halfway through the exhibit, in the room with noses coming out of foreheads, the attendant boomed, “Galleries closed. Move to the exit.” And herded us out comme les vaches. But there were more goodies waiting upstairs, little potted herbs as fare-thee-wells. I took a silver thyme because I am also a connoisseur of metaphor.
It was a bit disappointing to be myself again. I took off the nametag and plastered it on the pot with the thyme. I learned a couple of things: if you’re worried about the rich, don’t be. And, given enough wine and chocolate, the glow of your being outshines every star.