When the event started 3 years ago, I was very involved in the planning and the coordinating, but as the years have gone by, I've been doing much less for the PTA, in general. I got a little burned out. Sometimes I don't even bother showing up for these things. This time, though, I was informed by the committee "we've signed you up to help at checkout." They don't even ask, they just put my name down on the list of people who will help do math related things at the end of the night. It's okay, though, I would have volunteered, anyway.
The thing about this event, though, is that the alcohol flows freely all night long. The idea (the very very successful idea) is that people will get drunk and make bad bidding choices and then spend too much money. It's a really good idea. A $31,000 idea, actually. My only responsibility these days, as part of the planning and organizing, is to procure the catering permit that will make the free alcohol legal. You're not allowed to sell alcohol at PTA events, you see; you can only give it away if somebody has donated it. But you do need a catering permit from the Alcoholic Beverage Control office in order to not have the police come.
By the way, here's the display case inside the Oakland Alcoholic Beverage Control office:
|Somebody should "pin" this picture....|
So, the night is a fancy event, and there are bars with bartenders (PTA dads) handing out the free wine, and you stand in line and chat with the other parents while you wait for it to be your turn to get more wine, and it's all very lovely and etc. .... but this year they had something new: Vodka. Yeah, there was this giant vat of vodka (and sugar and lime juice and ice) with a spigot at the bottom, so there was no waiting in line to get your wine glass refilled, you could just go up to this thing and put your vodka into the little red plastic cup like we used to drink out of in college. And they just kept filling and filling and filling it.... (Don't worry, I had a designated driver)
So, the end of the night comes and it's time for people to collect their winnings and pay, and guess whose job it is to take their money and show them where to get their stuff? Yeah. That would be me. And so I end up at the checkout table processing $31,000 worth of credit card transactions.... really really fucking drunk.
The thing about going out amongst people and doing your drinking, as opposed to staying in the safety of your house with your husband and the computer, is that you wake up the next day not entirely sure if you've made a fool out of yourself or not; which was, in fact, the case for me on Sunday morning. But then I remembered that I wasn't the only one with a red plastic cup that night... and then I remembered the mom of one of Child 2's friend grabbing my arm and whispering "don't tell my husband how drunk I am," and hubs, of course, reminded me that drunk or sober, I kind of always act the fool (he's absolutely right; it's all in the name of comedy) and all of this made me feel better about whateverthehell I had gotten up to the night before.
And then comes Monday morning, at school, when I encountered another mom, who was supposed to have been at the checkout table with me. Apparently she had been in the bathroom the whole time. "I think I'm still drunk," she said. I told her that I had been in no condition to be taking people's money at that point, and if somebody complains to her about having been overcharged, it was totally my fault. "Yeah," she says. "Somebody came up to us at the pickup table and said "Wow, they're really drunk over at checkout."
The night ended with me paying hundreds for the stuff I had drunkenly made bad bidding choices on and then leaving without actually picking up any of it. They tell me they have my gift certificates and I can get them any time. Gift certificates for what, exactly? I have NO idea....