Cups and Cakes

I got two phone calls from two different people about Dana's 21st birthday party. The two callers assured me that it would be a swanky affair at a mansion in Poway. There was a tram waiting at the end of a long driveway. Security guards who resembled Shaquille O'Neal were hired to keep people from going inside.

When I hopped on the tram, I said to a couple sitting nearby, "I haven't been on a tram since Disneyland." The driver turned around and said, "I drive that tram, too. I work there during summers." I said, "Hey, will this tram give anyone rides home if they drink too much?"

He didn't answer.

I couldn't believe the view -- lights of the city to one side and, as you looked down into the back yard, a pool wrapped around the house. There was a band playing and a dance floor. I heard one song before the band finished.

I walked down the stairs and noticed there were fire extinguishers, something you don't normally see in a back yard. I overheard someone say, "This house probably has its own zip code."

I noticed a small poodle running through the crowd. I almost stepped on it when I backed up. Dana's parents were nearby and I asked, "Aren't you afraid your dog will get crushed by this crowd?" Her father said, "Oh, no. [The dog's] been through this before."

I saw Dana, a petite Middle-Eastern girl, walking upstairs with a few friends. I asked her if it was strange to drink in front of her parents. "Hey, I'm 21 now, so I can drink. But my parents are cool. I've partied in front of them before. And they're drinking. I think they're already drunk."

One of her friends was stumbling down the stairs. The guy with her said, "You drank too much. You're going to fall. Just let me carry you." The blonde girl pushed him in the chest and slurred, "I'm fine! Let's go dance."

The band was breaking down and a DJ was setting up.

I talked to the drummer. I told him that his style and his outfit, which included a tie, reminded me of a drummer from the '40s. He motioned to his tie, "Yeah, it's a bit restrictive playing in this thing."

The DJ started playing and I went to one of the three bars to grab a drink. A few minutes into the long line, I noticed the other two bars had fewer people. The couple behind me said, "By the time we walk all the way over there, we would've been farther along in this line."

The young crowd was well-dressed. A few of them, I heard, were models. An African-American girl walked by, and someone said, "What do you think of her?" I said, "She's gorgeous. But look at her legs. They're too thin. They look like pencils." He laughed and said, "You're probably the only person here that's found a flaw with that thing of beauty."

I ran into a heavy-set guy I've seen at a few clubs. He was wiping the sweat off his face and forehead as I approached. He stuck his hand out to shake. As we shook hands, I could feel the wet sweat that he just wiped off himself. I wasn't sure if it would be rude to wipe my hand. Then I thought, screw that! He didn't mind shaking my hand with that sweaty mess.

There wasn't much food -- some chips and baked goods on a few tables near the bar area. I grabbed a blue cupcake, and as I was eating it, a woman called out. I turned around and she had her dress pulled down showing her breasts. A few people nearby whistled. She stumbled back and her boyfriend said, "She gets like that when she's drinking."

An older Middle-Eastern woman came over and said, "You looked sexy when I saw you smoking that cigar earlier." I replied, "Do I look sexy scarfing this cupcake down?" She laughed and said, "Come dance with me." I told her I wasn't much of a dancer. She grabbed my arm and tried to pull me toward the dance floor. I wouldn't budge, so she stayed and talked for a minute.

She worked in real estate. I don't usually ask, but I had to know how they got this house. I asked what the family did. She didn't answer at first, but then said something about selling phone cards.

I went over to talk to the singer of the band. He told me he's a publicist in L.A. I asked if I'd know any of his clients. He said, "I have a bunch. Virginia Madsen, from Sideways. And her brother Michael." I said, "He did a great interview on Adam Carolla's show." He said, "Oh, yeah. I was worried he wouldn't want to wake up that early. And, when they started talking about Chris Penn's death, I thought he handled that well." I told him I was in Las Vegas when Michael came down here for a book signing. He said, "He's so great to work for. We didn't have the biggest turn out, and when I apologized, he said something about how we sold a couple more books than he would've if he wasn't down here."

I told him I had a rubber ear and asked if Madsen would sign it (he cut off a cop's ear in Reservoir Dogs). He said, "He's often asked to sign ears."

He then said, "I like your piercing."

"What are you talking about?"

He pointed to my nose and said, "Oh, wait." He leaned in closer and said, "It's something blue." It was frosting from the cupcake.

The woman who tried to get me to dance returned, and I told her she looked great dancing. She said that she would've looked better if I was with her. She started to say something else and then gasped. I looked over my shoulder and saw one of the guests peeing in a sandpit.

I looked at the time -- 10:00 p.m. -- and at least 30 percent of the crowd was tipsy. When I asked one of birthday girl's older relatives how to spell Dana, she said, "D-A-Y-N-A." She was slurring a bit. Her husband came over a few minutes later and said, "It isn't spelled with a Y." I said, "Yeah, after she spelled it, I noticed it wasn't written that way on the cake."

A little kid walked by and handed me a flyer for some club. I said, "You aren't old enough to get into this club." He replied, "Someone just paid me to hand these out."

I sought out my dancing friend who was with her daughter. "I wonder what some of the older relatives here think of all the tattoos," I said. Standing nearby was a woman who had a tattoo of a gun shooting hearts out the barrel and dripping blood. I asked dancing lady what she would do if her daughter came home with ink. "My kids are good. My daughter would never do that. We're real tight. We have a close relationship, and I know everything she does."

I wondered how many of these kids' parents thought that.

I looked over and saw that the drunken flasher was lifting her dress and showing other parts of her body.

As I was leaving a girl asked me, "Can you finish this cupcake? I only took one bite out of it." I said, "Why don't you just toss it?"

"I don't like wasting food."

I responded, "Yeah. There are starving kids in China that would love this cupcake." I grabbed it and took a bite as I walked away.

Who cares if I get frosting on my nose. I'm leaving.

Crash your party? Call 619-235-3000 x421 and leave an invitation for Josh Board.

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