I sipped my second Manhattan and looked around for the photographer. Head on a swivel, I spotted him closing in, lens aimed and ready to shoot.
"I feel like he is following us," I spoke like a ventriloquist with a permanent smile plastered on my face.
"Maybe because you look so pretty," my husband said.
I rolled my eyes and tried to ignore the high-speed flash that circled us like a strobe light at a disco.
"Should we bid on something?" I asked.
I heard the distant sound of a camera shutter.
"How about the Cavs game for the boys?"
"A weekend of basketball and concession stand food? Awesome," I joked and signed our name to the list. The shutter clicked again.
I stood close to my husband, hiding behind his broad frame.
"Great bid, you must be a good sport." the photographer lifted his camera and snapped before I was ready. "Ooh, let's take another one. Your eyes are closed."
We assumed our pose. I leaned in, hand on hip, legs crossed, chin down.
Take the picture, take the picture.
"Perfect, that's a keeper," he said. "Will you bid on anything in the live auction?"
"No, I will be sitting on the paddle, thank you," I replied.
We have made that mistake before. Two Manhattans, live auction, a paddle-shaped like a racquet, and me thinking I'm on the tennis court again - leads to unfortunate bidding.
The lights flickered, and we made our way to the table.
"Seriously, give me the paddle; I'm sitting on it. We already won the Cavs tickets."
My husband laughed but obliged. I tucked the ping pong style paddle with our number stapled to it under my tulle skirt.
A set of aggressive bidding ended with a raucous round of applause and an intermission in the program.
"Anyone need anything?" I asked and walked to the bar with a few drink orders.
The photographer ran after me, waving me down with wild gesticulations. "Karen, can you just stand right there. I need to get a picture of this."
"Oh, sure. Me getting drinks? Why not."
Hand on hip, legs crossed...
"No, no, turn around," he said.
"Your paddle, it's stuck to your skirt. This photo will be perfect for the newsletter."
"Oh," I could feel the flush of embarrassment rising in my cheeks.
"Live auction takes a back seat to the bar," he laughed. "Now that's a headline."
The others waiting for their drinks smiled and laughed. Yes, yes. I put my hand up and waved like I was in a slow parade. Move along, people - nothing to see.
"You're a good sport, right?" he asked, ready to strike with the next shot.
"What the hell," I said, turned around, and put a hand on my hip. "I'm ready for my closeup."
The photographer leaned in, inches from out-of-control tulle. The snagged paddle stuck to my bum with the number facing out, and I heard the camera click one, two, three times.
"Tulle snags the highest bid," I said.
"The staple is stuck on your skirt. Do you want me to get it off for you?"
"No, no, I think I'll just leave it there for the next round of auctions."
I walked back to my table with the paddle smacking me in the backside with every step.
Love and Luck,