• After It Rains
• I'm Jesse
      • My Birthday?
      • You Remembered!
• Pool? Animal Style!
      • Dumplings w/Neptune
• Sicilian Sculptor
• The Golden Years
• Human Hangers
• Just a Barista
• I Need to Dance
• Can't Stop Looking Up
• Be Careful What...
• The Collection
• Into the Light
• A Perfect Interview
• The Abbey
• Who You Know?
• What's This Life For?
• Unexpected Talent
• Just a Dog's Day
• Chester
• Darren
      • Darren and the Circus
• Voice of God
• Aaron
• 5350

• Resurrection
• Private Dancer
• Eye Contact
• Bullying
• The Surreality of It All
• Sound of Silence
• 31 Days of Christmas
• Giant!
• Fear or Comfort?
• You're Different
• Another One Bites...
• Stroll with the Clouds
• Walking with Banshee

Pool? Animal Style! (06/18/21)

Getting invited to a party, dinner or other social event happened more than I had anticipated with the clientele that my art caters to. Most of the time they are an informal event to show off their new acquisition—canvas, sculpture or installation. And many times that would include several artists that shared the same patron.

This particular invitation I expected would be a bit more extensive, and was from the personal assistant to an older lady who had purchased several of my paintings in the past. Her husband was from ‘legacy’ money and she made sure to enjoy his wealth to the max.

Lorraine was a philanthropist in the arts, in that she generously supported new and emerging artists and talent across the spectrum, and was known to purchase numerous works from a burgeoning artist to help lift them up with their careers.

Lorraine and her husband Rodney has stopped by the gallery in Costa Mesa several weeks earlier, said hello, and Lorraine quickly flew through the gallery, pointed to two new and relatively large canvases, said they would make wonderful additions to her home and collection, and as quickly as she came in, she and her husband exited the gallery. It was like a brisk breeze had blown through. “David, make the necessary arrangements.”

“Yes, ma’am!?”

Rodney just smiled and said he’d stop by for a beer one of these times as he walked out behind his wife.

Making the necessary arrangements for Lorraine simply meant calling her personal assistant, letting her know about the purchase, and then being transferred to her accountant who took the details for payment. As was normal, within days, payment was received in my bank account, and a van would pull up to the gallery and load her purchases for their journey to northern California.

It all seemed so antiseptic, so impersonal. It was business.

Rodney though was an altogether different character. Several times on their past visits to SoCal, Rodney would ‘escape’ from his wife and stop by the gallery for a beer or two, and talk for hours with me, any of my friends that were present, and our friend Buddy, the guy in the shop next door who makes custom surfboards.

Rodney’s visits always meant a fun, joke-filled afternoon of laughter. He was nothing like his wife, and though he had inherited the family fortune, Rodney was as down to earth as someone who had very little. He was content with the basics in life, and was a people person—he would talk to anyone, and they were instantly his friend.

Lorraine though...

The invitation was for a ‘late lunch’ party at their house in northern California, which meant I needed to make arrangements to get away for a weekend up to northern Sonoma valley. Their house, more accurately compound, was located in a gorgeous valley surrounded by rolling hills and vineyards, totalling some 600+ acres.

It was a spectacular piece of property. Sitting up on a crest in the middle of it all, was this ultra modern, custom designed, 18,000 sq. ft., stunning piece of architectural sculpture, all in white. The house could be seen from any point of the 600 acres, sitting like a feudal castle on the hill, but could not be seen from any other point in the valley. Total seclusion and privacy had been paramount in its design.

The money for such a lavish indulgence was from Rodney’s family, and had been in the family for many, many generations. Rodney, being the only son, had inherited all of their vast wealth, and had spent his life simply investing, multiplying his money exponentially over the decades.

Lorraine enjoyed spending Rodney’s money at a break-neck pace—thankfully not as fast as Rodney was able to successfully invest, so the fortune continued to grow.

Lorraine is an ‘acquired’ taste. Rodney was simply the ‘nice’ one of the couple. In the numerous dealings I had with Lorraine, she was never directly mean to me, but it was always apparent ‘who’ had the money, and I was frequently reminded of that.

That was fine by me. She continued to purchase my paintings and not once asked the price.

The invitation to Lorraine’s event was for a Saturday afternoon about a month away, so I made arrangements for the flight to Oakland, and rental car to drive up to Sonoma valley. I made sure I packed my newest and trendiest suit and accessories, knowing for damn sure I would still be underdressed for the crowd, but also knowing I could never compete—so I didn’t bother trying.

I arrived in Oakland late Friday afternoon, got my car, and drove up to Yountville and checked into my room. Saturday I took the hour drive from a friend’s boutique hotel in Yountville in Napa Valley, arrived fashionably on time, and walked up from the parking area towards the entry, and into the foyer. The foyer itself was larger than my gallery, and was in itself, a spectacle of art and antiques.

Only minutes after stepping inside, and saying hello to Robert, the family butler, I was greeted by Lorraine. I was still unsure why I had been invited to the soiree, maybe just as a professional courtesy, or maybe out of sympathy for a person who could never be of her standing. I was happy Lorraine said hello, and thanked me for coming, then she flew by to greet another set of obviously more important guests.

I chuckled out loud, thinking those 10 seconds I just had with her were still more than she’d taken to pick the paintings in the gallery a month ago. I just thought to myself “that must be some life.”

I wandered around the foyer saying hello to anybody that would look up and give me eye contact, but spent more time just staring at the beautiful pieces of art and sculpture that adorned the vast entrance vestibule.

The house was of an ultra-modern design, created by one of the world’s most prominent architects, and was the epitome of modern minimalism. Pure white exterior, dotted with glass, chrome, marble, and stone. Inside mimicked the exterior, with pure white walls, stunning large windows overlooking the beautiful vineyard scape surrounding the house, and floors covered in marble and rare stone.

And in some rooms, covering the marble floor, were some of the largest and most spectacular Persian rugs I had ever seen.

The furnishings and accompanying pieces of art were by far the best blend of ultra-modernism and rare antiques I’d laid eyes on, mixed together like an old masterpiece. The combination of the old and the new provided endless points of interest for the eyes to wander to.

Lorraine did have an eye for art—any form of beautiful object—and was personally responsible for the interior design of ‘her’ house.

As I continued to move about the foyer, I was fascinated by a large group of what appeared to be perfect marble spheres, each some 4 feet in diameter. They were stunning chunks of marble, each in a different color and vein pattern, each polished to the hilt.

As I got closer to one of them, I looked around the room, and noticed there were a total of 16 of them, in various colors and tones, one in stunning white marble, another in a beautiful black marble. I stepped up close to one and simply had to touch—more to make sure they were actually marble—and after a couple knocks knew for sure it was one huge piece of stone.

As I got up close I realized that each of the solid spheres had been carved out on one side, and appeared to be carved in the shape of a seat. “Are these really chairs?”

From the side of the room, I saw Robert, the family butler, push one of these chunks of rock to a new location, and it glided across the floor like it was on ice. Robert noticed I was watching him and came over to chat.

“Are they art or are they furniture?” I asked. “Both” replied Robert.

I had noticed that the colors and patterns reminded me of a subdued set of pool balls, and the numbers of pieces was spot on—one white, one black, and 14 assorted colors, each color with a solid ball and a ball primarily white with a matching color vein.

They were truly a massive set of marble pool balls, carved as chairs.

Robert noticed my intrigue, and was happy to show how effortlessly they moved when pushed with the slightest energy.

“And yes, they are chairs, and though they are solid marble, have been carved to be the most comfortable chair you have ever sat in. Try one out. But please do not linger in it.” Robert said with a giant smile across his face.

As I sunk down into the giant marble sphere, I noticed it dropped ever so slightly down to the ground, leaving it unable to move. That was some stunning engineering. And they were sculpted to fit the human body precisely. They truly were like sitting in a plush leather chair.

I did get up quickly though trying not to be noticed.

“They really are designed to be a set of pool balls?” I asked. Robert proceeded to tell me yes, and that there was a matching set of actual pool balls on one of the pool tables upstairs in the game room.

“One of the pool tables?” Robert smiled. “Each of these weigh 1,000 lbs., and the mechanism that allows them to glide across the floor yet lower to a stable position were manufactured in Germany by a clockmaker.” I could only imagine Robert had a lot of these tidbits of information stocked away in that head of his.

Robert continued to explain that ‘the misses’ had searched the globe specifically for marble strains in the colors needed for this installation, and that Lorraine would be happy to go into a lengthy explanation of each location, and how each location came to provide that particular color.

Robert winked and suggested that I didn’t actually bring it up in conversation, another wide smile appeared across his face.

I had found the entire engagement with Robert amusing, and told myself I needed to find out more about this very proper, yet colorful character.

Our conversation had occupied enough time for all the remaining guests to have arrived, and Lorraine led us all into the next room, which appeared to be one of the many ‘galleries’ within the residence. And there on two of the walls, were my two latest paintings she had purchased.

They looked mighty stunning in their surroundings, I had to admit that, and were definitely in great company.

With everybody’s attention in the room focused on Lorraine, she proceeded to tell the group about the new pieces she had acquired, including the two she had acquired from me, and how she had ‘outbid’ a multitude of several other notable art collectors to acquire my two pieces.

She said she was quite proud of her new acquisitions, as she made a slight glance in my direction. ‘Huh? Other collectors?’ I swore she had blown through the gallery and pointed—that was my recollection of the extent of the bidding process.

I didn’t quite understand why she was telling her guests a story that was blatantly not true. Yet as I looked around and saw the approving nods of her upper echelon group of friends, I realized why she had fabricated the story. “Yes Lorraine, you fought hard for those paintings.” I chuckled, and again thought “what a way to live.”

Lorraine though was a faithful supporter of emerging artists, and was known to have purchased hundreds or more pieces from a vast group of artists, and had a keen eye for new art. These two new pieces of mine were two of ten, eight others had been purchased over the years.

But as far as I knew, the other paintings could have been rolled up and used as kindling in her fireplaces, though I had on sounder word they were in her vast storage warehouse, the warehouse with thousands of pieces she had bought and rotated out in the house.

I knew my two new pieces would soon also find their way to her art warehouse—art that Lorraine bought tended to have a short display shelf-life. At least I had gotten paid for them, and nicely paid at that. Lorraine’s form of philanthropy was her way of being the artist king/queen maker. When she bought, others followed, and careers were established.

“Please feel free to wander around the house and take a look at the wonderful new artists that I have discovered. We are making final preparations for our lunch, and will be inviting you to the dining room shortly.” Lorraine announced to the group.

I moved as quickly as I could to the stairs, walked up a long, curved, glass staircase to the gallery that surrounded and looked down on the foyer, and leaned up against the railing in order to watch the people talking below. I wondered what the ultra-rich talked about amongst themselves. It most definitely was not about my painting.

Oh, and thanks Lorraine for not introducing me to anyone in the group. At first I was a little put out by that, but as I thought about it, the party was not about me to begin with, and I shrugged off any bad taste it had left.

I continued to watch the people below me wandering through the various rooms filled with art and antiques, when a young guy, who looked to be around 28, came up next to me, bumped me with his elbow, and said “I really hate these events.”

One look at him and I knew he had to be from one of the wealthy families below. He was high, high maintenance, yet with an edge, and wearing what just screamed to be an expensive suit. He smiled at me and shook my hand firmly letting me know his name was Nikolas. “You can call me Nik though, as long as you don’t say it out loud so anyone else can hear.”

Nik was a seriously attractive guy, dressed to the tee, but appeared completely out of place, almost bored by the surroundings.

“I always wonder what they are talking about? Even at 28, I am shooed away from the ‘elders’ so they can talk. It’s like being sent to the children’s table at dinner.” Nik explained in a flippant, almost disrespectful manner.

OK, Nik has some issues with his place in the ‘legacy society.’

“See those two right there?” pointing to a well-dressed older couple below us. “That’s Mom and Pop, though I’d be scolded if I ever called them that. When they got here they looked around to make sure I got the invitation and had shown up, then came by to say a quick hello.”

“Mom said she was glad I had made time to show up and had bothered to put on a nice suit. Then they both moved on in order to schmooze with the crowd. They’ll ignore me the rest of the day, like they always do.”

At this point I was thinking this guys ‘edge’ was more just a bitter hatred of his parents and the society he had been raised in, but noticing I was looking at him with wide-eyes and a furrowed brow, like he was some kind of ‘path,’ he looked at me with a beaming smile, apologized, and said he shouldn’t have taken his contempt out on me.

Then he complimented me on my art, and said it was a shame I wasn’t introduced. He smirked and said he would take care of that. I grabbed his arm just before he could start yelling at the group below us.

“Oh come on.” he laughed, “I was just going to introduce you.”

Nikolas thought that would have been the funniest thing he could have done. It would have been the last paintings I sold to Lorraine, and definitely would have received no further invites to any parties.

“I won’t embarrass you like that, I just wanted to get a reaction.” Apparently, Nikolas needed attention, and any attention was better than no attention.

At that moment I was literally ‘saved by the bell,’ as the bell announcing dinner rang, and we all made our way down into the enormous dining room. The staff guided each of us to our assigned seats.

And there we all stood until Lorraine, the host of the afternoon, finally came in, took a seat, and waved a jester to all of us to be seated. I laughed a bit at the pomposity of the situation, wondering if I’d slipped a few hundred years back to the court of the King and Queen of, oh wait, that would be Sonoma.

I looked across the huge table and saw Nikolas at his spot, looking at me, eyes rolled back, obviously feeling the silliness of the situation as much as I was. He could barely contain his smile.

Lorraine proceeded to thank everyone for attending, making a special point at thanking several other prominent social figures and stressing how much she appreciated them taking their valuable time to attend.

Then as quickly as we had all assembled, Lorraine asked the gentlemen at the table to retire to the game room so that the ladies could have a ‘proper gossip.’ Again, huh? I looked at Lorraine, then at Nikolas, and could not hide the ‘are you f...ing kidding me’ look on my face. Nikolas smiled, quickly got up to come my direction, and as he grabbed my arm, nearly dragging me up the stairs to the game room, said “now you can see the matching pool balls.”

And right behind us was Rodney, Lorraine’s husband, laughing loudly “and now we can have that beer.”

All I could think about was how this was going to be one Hell of an event, and oh, by the way Nik, were you watching me the entire time I was eyeing those large pool balls in the foyer?

Come to find out he was, up in the balcony gallery, just watching the crowd, and laughing at my fascination with a set of marble chairs. “They are quite comfortable though for chunks of rock.” Laughing as he dragged me to one of the tables, where the balls on the pool table matched the ones in the foyer. “You want to know what they cost?” Nikolas asked as he tossed one of them in my direction.

Not breathing to ensure I caught the ball, “No, I’m good, thanks!” as I instinctively tossed it back at him before remembering I was not at the local pool hall. And thankfully, Nik caught it.

Robert quickly ran over to the two of us, grabbed the marble ball in Nik's hand and gently placed it back on the table. “Do you know what one of these costs? They are ‘art,’ not functional.” So even the pool table with the colorful balls in the game room was just for show. Again, “what a life” I thought.

“Will this end up in storage too?” I asked Robert. He replied back with a smirk “Already one there!” and laughed as he walked away.

We had noticed that as soon as the older gentlemen had gotten up into the game room, they seemed to react like nothing odd was even going on, and passed around exquisite boxes of cigars, Robert running around the room lighting them up, and filling up snifters with Cognac from carved crystal carafes. We were all simply waiting to be summoned back down for what would be a late lunch.

Though the money was all made by the men in the families, the families appeared to be run by the matriarchs!

“I don’t smoke, I don’t like Cognac, and I would prefer a good, robust cabernet. But you know Dave what I would die for right at the moment?” Nikolas asked as he put his arm around my shoulder like he was talking to a friend he’d known all his life.


I laughed out loud, and all I could catch myself saying was “There’s one in town a ways down the street.” Nik cracked a quick “We’re all over it” and headed over to talk to Robert.

For those unfamiliar with In-N-Out, for many Californians they top the list of the best, and messiest burgers on the planet. All fresh ingredients, made to order, and literally made 'your way,' they are a staple for most natives of the state.

I thought with this kind of money, he really was not going to have In-N-Out delivered to the game room, was he?

Nik gestured my direction, and as I walked towards him and Robert, Robert popped open a door and off we went into the servants hallways which took us down into the kitchen. Nik said “I’m driving” as we headed out of the kitchen and into the parking area.

Nik was serious, we were headed to In-N-Out for burgers, with Robert’s help sneaking us out of the house. As we walked past a line of cars I could only imagine I could afford, we came up to a special piece of machinery parked near the edge of the grass, and I lost my breath as Nik laughed “There’s my pile of junk.”

In front of us was the most beautiful, completely stunning, and in perfect condition, Porsche Carrera GT! It was jet black, black detailing, and a stunning red interior and wheel wells, reminding me of a beautiful pair of Christian Louboutin shoes.

I just shook my head and asked “Shouldn’t that be in a museum?”

Nik’s reply was quick and to the point! “Why would anybody own something like this to simply put inside a museum. It has to be driven, we have to feel the wind blowing in our hair, as we pass by the masses with their mouths gaping open.” Only a rich punk kid could think like that, but damn was it refreshing.

I ‘fell’ down into the plush leather seats and told Nik “those marble chairs really put these seats in a run for their money.” Nik laughed and told me his pile of junk was still cheaper than the set of pool ball chairs. “Did I tell you how much those chunks of rock cost?”

"No, we decided that wasn't necessary."

Nik laughed, and sped out of the compound as we headed to the nearest In-N-Out, about 30 minutes away in the closest town. Both of us had to laugh, chatting about whether he’d park the car in the parking lot or just go through the drive through. Either way, he knew he’d have a lot of stares—he always did.

I think that is why he drove that particular car—that craving for attention. A really good looking guy, in a flashy, extremely expensive sports car, and in his expensive suit! “Nah, not sure any of that was about attention” I thought.

I knew nobody would miss me at the party, but asked Nik if his parents would miss him. Nope, nobody there would miss him either, especially his parents—that was the story of his life, and Nik was happy to share many of his unhappy childhood episodes as we traveled through the valley on our way to lunch.

Once we arrived at In-N-Out, Nik parked the car and we went inside—protein animal style double-doubles all around, fries, and vanilla shakes. Who was concerned with a 3,000 calorie lunch, it was far better than the boring, stiff upper-lip event that was going on back at the compound.

Protein animal style was always an oxymoron for a burger. You take the insides of the burger, including two patties, cheese, and this high-calorie 'special sauce' and stuff it between two lettuce leaves, supposedly so you can avoid the calories of the buns.

It was an enjoyable lunch, but by the stares from the natives, it was obvious we both stood out like sore thumbs sitting in our suits eating the messiest ‘unburgers’ in town! But damn they were good, as anything from In-N-Out always was.

Getting back in Nik’s Carrera GT, I made the assumption we’d enjoyed a good lunch and would be heading back to our lunch event at Lorraine and Rodney’s house. Nik said that was the plan, but in his words “Let’s take the long way back. I’d like to blow some of the carbon out of the engine.”

It had been several years since I had been in a Porsche Carrera GT, but I quickly remembered how well they handled in the hands of an experienced driver—and Nik knew his car. And I knew my Sonoma and Napa Valley roads, and guided us toward some of the best mountain driving we could experience.

We did a full circuit of the two valleys, heading south down Sonoma valley via a couple of country side roads, all surrounded with vineyards and beautiful tree-lined hilly stretches. At the speed Nik kept driving, many of these roads felt like a roller coaster ride at the local theme park. I told Nik about Trinity Road and how it literally went ‘over’ the mountain into Napa Valley, and away we went.

Damn could that guy handle that car. It was the first time for him on the road, and you would have thought he’d driven it a hundred times by the way he took the corners at maximum speed.

We traveled back and forth across the Napa Valley by way of its many ‘cross roads’ which connected Highway 29 on the west side and Silverado Trail on the east side.

Figuring we should work our way back for lunch, we headed north to Calistoga Road for another 'up and over' the mountain experience once again—I told him we had a long stretch between two mountainous curves coming up and he throttled the car to an excessive speed—then braked dramatically to get through the s-curves intact. We then cut through Santa Rosa back to the west side of the Sonoma valley and a couple of the less traveled country lanes, heading over to the Bohemian Highway.

While coming to a stop at a four-way stop sign in the middle of Occidental, Nik saw a custom jewelry shop next to a local winery tasting room and had to stop. “We need to bribe, uhm, thank a few people back at the house.” Nik said as he parked and we got out of the car.

In the jewelry shop we found a beautiful pair of gold cufflinks inset with pieces of asteroid that Nik purchased for Rodney, and at the wine shop, he picked up a case of the most spectacular Pinot Noir I had ever tasted. Pinot Noir was a favorite of Robert, and mine.

We also picked up a 12-pack of the best Russian River brewery beer for Rodney. We would just put it in the kitchen fridge so that he could imbibe at will without Lorraine knowing. She never stepped foot in the kitchen, much to the staff’s delight.

With no storage room in the car, I got back in and put the case of wine and pack of beer between my legs, and we headed down a stretch of road which would eventually connect us back to the entrance to Lorraine and Rodney’s property. We texted Robert as we got close to the compound so he could open the entry gates, and we sped back up the parking area, parked, and snuck back in through the servants' entrance.

Both Robert and Rodney were in the kitchen and greeted us on our return, both laughing wholeheartedly when hearing about our ‘long way back’ adventure, and thanking us profusely for the thoughtfulness of the gifts.

This was especially warming from Rodney, since he could literally afford anything he wanted. He was genuinely appreciative that we specifically thought of him while on our outing. He took off the cufflinks he was wearing for the day, and put on the new ones we got him, then quickly downed a bottle of beer before heading back into the game room to join the other men.

Rodney was a man of simple tastes.

As he entered the door into the room, he turned to us, winked, gave us a thumbs up, and both Nik and I followed into the game room, mingling like we had never left.

Robert had entered the room and walked up to us. “That is by far my favorite Pinot Noir! Thank you! Mums the word.” He continued walking by chuckling.

Only minutes after our return, and with perfect timing, the ladies had just summoned the men back into the dining room, and a very late lunch began.

By this time, many of the husbands were lively and entertaining, quite different from their staunch, reserved earlier versions, drunk from multiple snifters of Cognac, and all smelling like the sweetest cigars ever made.

As we stood waiting for Lorraine to take her seat, I noticed Nik had already sat down, but was quickly being guided back up by an older gentleman standing next to him. They both got a scolding from the gentleman’s wife, and a chuckle ran through the dining room, Lorraine completely seemingly unaware or unconcerned with the slight disturbance.

I noticed quite a few of the older guys were getting swatted or elbowed by their wives, apparently disapproving of their drunken sNikering.

Lunch was quite the spectacle, with the food being out of this world, prepared by one of the local star chefs, and a collection of staff that numbered one staff for every guest. I thought “Exactly as a proper lunch should be served.” Oh no, somehow my shorts appeared to have been starched a bit too much at that moment.

As the afternoon rolled into the early evening, and the final course had been finished, we were all escorted into yet another lavish ‘entertainment’ room and everyone schmoozed for another hour or so.

Lorraine eventually walked in, again thanked everybody for coming, wishing all a good journey home, and then quickly exited the room. I guess that was our sign the party was over. I remember hearing 'gossip' about how she had the house designed with quick 'escape' doors and corridors so she could come and go at her will during an event.

She must have gotten that from a visit to Heart Castle. That was a William Randolph Hearst's 'behavior' during parties.

As we all said our ‘goodbyes’ and paraded out of the house, Nik came up to me, put his arm around my shoulder again. “You’re not heading back to LA tonight are you?”

That had been my original intention, thinking that lunch would have ended around 2 pm and I could have made my flight out of Oakland at 5 pm. It was now 5 pm—I had obviously missed my flight, but thankfully had the forethought to have changed my ticket, and make sure I still had a room at the hotel, while we were stopped in Occidental.

I had changed my flight to Monday evening, deciding since I’d had such a fantastic time revisiting the valleys during our lunch break, I’d drive around and visit a couple of my old haunts on Sunday and Monday, and fly back down Monday night. I was here, running late, might as well make a weekend of it.

Somehow Nik knew that, and said he’d be more than happy to join me during my valley visits if I was “Able to stand a few more days of his driving.” I was beyond delighted, yet did my best to hide the fact.

“Where are you staying?” Nik asked. I told him it was a boutique hotel in Yountville, and that I wasn’t sure there would be any rooms available—it was ‘crush’ in the valley. Nik just laughed, roughed my hair up like he was my kid brother and said “I’m staying with you! I snore! You’ll just have to get over it.”

Surprisingly that didn’t bother me in the least bit. Just the thought of spending another couple days with this eccentric punk kid just made me ecstatic. Plus, I’d get to travel in style in his Carrera GT—maybe even drive it!

“And no, I’m not letting you drive!” he exclaimed. How did...?

“And don’t even think about flying back down to LA. We’ll return your rental when we are done and take another road trip down the coast to get you back home. I understand it’s beautiful this time of year.” Uhm, ok, and yes it is.

I was now feeling completely, well, giddy. "Maybe we could stop at Hearst Castle and check out those hidden doors?" I said to Nik. At first Nik just starred at me like I was crazy, then started laughing. "Oh, you noticed the queen's disappearing act." Nik said. Though a punk kid, he was one smart punk kid that didn't miss a beat.

He followed me back into Napa Valley, constantly revving his engine and pushing at me while I was driving my rental Tahoe! I looked back and noticed he’d already taken his tie off, tossed the jacket and was looking much more casual than he had all day.

We got to the hotel room, Nik crashed onto the bed, laughing “Where are you going to sleep?”

“Sorry dude, already settled, if the two of us can’t fit on this California king without getting in each other’s way, there’s going to be an issue.” Still laughing, he quickly got up and continued the conversation. “Where are we going for dinner?”

In-N-Out had been several hours ago, and the 8-course, '8-bite' lunch barely took up any room in the gastro-intestinal tract, so yeah, dinner was definitely something to pursue.

I remembered a new restaurant in Yountville that I had never been to, but had heard it was outstanding. We walked over to the concierge, asked if we could get reservations on such a late notice. Nik nonchalantly slipped the concierge what appeared to be a $100, and within a few minutes, we had reservations.

In my mind, I echoed an earlier sentiment, ‘that really must be some life.’ And so the next chapter in the adventure began.

Dinner turned out to be one of the best dinners I had ever had, and one of the most entertaining. The two of us really got along, and even though we were both from completely different socio-economic environments, and were nearly 30 years apart in age, we both understood each other—almost in a spiritual way.

We both had a couple unusual things in common—I wanted to be like him, young, rich and carefree. He wanted to be like me, respected, established, and with a definite purpose in life. Yet neither one of us wanted to ever grow up. We both wanted desperately to maintain that 'child-like' quality that allowed life to proceed at full steam while following every interesting path that could be traveled.

The next week would end up being one of my ‘adventures of a lifetime,’ and one to be documented and remembered. It would also be the beginning of a great friendship, and of more adventures than I could have ever imagined.

Future related reads:
- What’s for Lunch?
- Road Trip
- Let's Get Sushi


#Napa #Sonoma #Nikolas #Robert #Rodney #Lorraine #lunch #poolballs