Monday, May 15, 2006

"Prince Charles sends his regards"

AFTER A DISASTROUS first couple of days as a server at a private club, I did better today.  No dumb mistakes. (Well, at least none that the guests or the boss saw.)

We  "only" had to work 12 hours today, 10 to 10.

Afternoon brought a tasting for an upcoming wedding reception; then, setup for an exhibit opening and lecture at Joel Oppenheimer Gallery, our next-door neighbor.

It's drawings by John Audubon, printed and colored by R. Havell. Prices are modest; Snowy Owl could be yours for only $160,000.

Two burly black security guards stand at the front and thear rear, while we Latino and black servers take care of the nice white people. Favio mans the bar, serving up reds and whites, Evian, and Perrier. Freddy and Juan set up an audio system with cordless mics. Luis and I tray-pass canapes (which I ignorantly call hors d'ouvres until I am corrected; -- and which, I am also startled to learn, is pronounced "cana-pees," not cana-pays).

Now, Oppenheimer being an infamous name -- global diamond racket, atom bomb, y'know -- I figure this one, sitting on some of the most expensive real estate in Chicago, is one of those. Whatever the case, he sure is down with "The Royals."

Apparently all the guests are connected to the American Society (or Club?), which seems to be connected to the British consulate, also located in our building. So, the conversation is a mix of American and British ox-cents. One Sir Peter Crane is present, and he has to jet -- literally -- right after the lecture. Snippets and snatches of conversation that I catch include:

".. Let me relay Lord Shelburne's regards to you as well..."

" ... You know, his two daughters, who live in New York with Fergie ..."

"Prince Charles sent his regards..."

"Oh, we would have dropped everything and come to see him, but we were in the Galapagos..."

" ... But then Margaret Thatcher dropped by ..."

Other conversations are sprinkled with the names of Charles and "Camilla" and "The Queen." ("It must have a capital 'T'," someone says.)

One dude, who is  the spitting image of a Chicago salesguy I know, has the last name "Stiff."

And yeah -- he does kinda have that Stiff upper lip thing. 

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