All the Right Moves in All the Right Places

About a week ago my Aunt called to ask me if I had plans for my first night in Denver. And if not, would I like to go to a Fundraiser at the Four Seasons? And oh by the way, it required cocktail attire. Uh, a party and a chance to dress up. Count me in Tia Carolina.

Fresh off my love-fest with Ahmad, my very favorite Sudanese electrical engineer/taxi driver I started getting ready for the party. Then suddenly I got overwhelmed by the simple task of getting dressed. I like looking at fashion but I am not efficient at dressing myself appropriately. For reasons I cannot explain I started over-thinking the whole scenario. What should I wear? Was it appropriate? You'd think I was going to Buckingham Palace the way I was angsting.

I turned to google. Cocktail attire=short dress.

Okay. I can handle that. I settle on the dress I bought for my 30th birthday. It has draping so I can eat all I want and not have to suck in my tummy.

Strategy is important people. Always think about how you are going to look good AND eat.

I'm heading down to the party which technically was the opening of the Four Seasons Denver and the woman on the elevator and I start talking. I like her hair. She likes my jacket. She mistakes me for a student. I pledge my eternal love to her for the unintentional compliment. We're on our way to an Ahmad-like friendmance when we run into (almost literally) Aaron Neville in the lobby. "Oh my GOD" she says "That's Aaron Neville" He replies "Hey sistah" Then she starts wigging out a bit  "I wish I had my camera!" I'm kind of confused and slow but I finally spit out "I do, I have my camera!" so we run after him but we're too late. Bummer.

I thought that was going to be my big blog story of the night, but it wasn't. He has really broad shoulders FYI.

My Aaron Neville delay meant I had to run to the party in my heels. When I get there I'm sweaty, limpy and incoherent. I'm in babble overdrive "Hi Tia Carolina, I saw Aaron Neville, taxi cab drivers, blah, blah, blah" Luckily it's really loud so no one hears what I'm talking about anyway. I meet my aunt and uncle's friends and then I realize... that I'm in the kind of party you see on HBO shows.

There are acrobats hanging from the ceiling and all the women are wearing Herve Leger dresses. Waiters are walking around with lamb chops and truffle risottos. I'm told there was a room exclusively filled with candy. A woman walks by on stilts and there's a red carpet. It was surreal. That's when my Aunt's friend says "There's going to be a band. Have you heard of them? They 're called One Republic."

Uh, what? Yeah, I've heard of them. In fact I hear them on the radio everyday for the last three years.

Are you jealous? Cause I'm jealous of last Saturday night Emily, she had FUN! So we eat, and have lamb chops and chocolate martinis and all matter of deliciousness (thank you DRAPING DRESS) and I'm in the front row of a One Republic mini-concert with a martini-glass full of mashed potatoes. #Truestory.

Incidentally, they rock. Go see them if you are a fan.

After I locate my Aunt and Uncle (who unsurprisingly were not interested in a band they've never heard of) I sit down to chat with someone who I thought was another buddy of theirs. She was from Argentina originally and lives in DC. Perfect, I LOVE Argentina and DC. We talk about her kids (twin girls now grown), East Coast vs. West Coast, how kids adopted from Colombia are the cutest. She gives me some great parenting advice. I talk about how I love the Smithsonian and if I were a billionaire a free-public arts museum would be my legacy too. It's Ahmad all over again. I could've talked to her forever. I had yet another moment of reminding myself that it's weird to hug strangers you've just met.

Turned out though she wasn't a friend of my Aunt and Uncle's, she just happened to be sitting at their table. And she was at the party because her husband worked for the firm that financed the hotel. What? A Four Seasons hotel!  At that moment my Aunt's friend comes over and says "I just ran into the head of Guiness beer".

How did I end up at this party? I am a mid-level civil servant with a toddler. I usually don't hang with financeers.

I should've known though, my Aunt and Uncle might not be interested in listening to rock bands but they have the energy level of rockstars. They always know the cool stuff to do.

Although it was outrageous-cool to see the band and the atmosphere was unreal, at a party it's always about the people you meet. It's about your Aunt's friend with the infectious laugh and the sparkly red glasses and the Argentine woman who agrees that Colombian children are ridiculously cute.  It's about showing off pictures of the little boy you're missing back at home and arguing with your Uncle about whether you are almost as tall as him in your heels. In a taxi cab or at a Four Seasons, it is ALWAYS about the people you meet. Interesting people are everywhere and connecting with them gives me such joy.

It doesn't hurt though, if you end up in an elevator with some rockstars. And I wouldn't say no to a mashed potato bar either. I'm just sayin!

Posted on November 9, 2010 and filed under Adventures in the World.