I got a couple of phone calls about parties on a Saturday. The first was from a guy in Mexico who had seen my story about the party I attended in Tijuana. He said, "I'm glad it was showing that there are nicer sides to TJ, because there are many. My friend owns a winery, and there is a party you should come to." The other call I got was from a girl I met at a party a year ago. She said, "Instead of going to all these crazy parties where people get drunk and want to fight, why not go to an upscale one in La Jolla?"
All this sounded great to me.
The party in La Jolla started in the late afternoon. It was a big house, and I immediately thought about the show on MTV where they follow girls around as they plan their Sweet 16 birthday parties. The first episode that aired featured a La Jolla party with the band Unwritten Law being hired to play.
This wasn't a birthday party, but one for Valentine's Day. I asked Caryn, who was throwing it, why it wasn't on Monday the 14th. She said, "Who wants to go to a party on Monday when they have school or work the next day?"
I showed up as everyone was finishing dinner. There was a choice of chicken, fish, or steak. (Note to self: Show up to parties on time and you won't have to hit Taco Bell's drive-thru.) The dining room was set up nicely, and most of the guests were dressed up. Other people were sitting outside by the pool.
There was a table set up with lots of shrimp, crab, and other seafood. I've never seen that many appetizers set up at a party.
There was also a room with five hookah pipes set up with strawberry- and apple-flavored tobaccos. One person said, "What's the point of smoking those if you aren't going to get wasted?"
A few people were trying to decide whether to go swimming. They debated whether you had to wait an hour after eating. One heavyset guy did a cannonball, soaking lots of people. He said, "I just ate and I'm risking it." One girl said under her breath, "When doesn't he eat?"
Two guys grabbed a third and threw him in with all his clothes on. Everyone laughed, including the victim. He swam to the side, took his shoes and socks off, and continued swimming in his jeans and polo shirt.
When these guys grabbed a girl to throw in, she was screaming for them not to. "I don't want to get my hair wet. I just had it done today."
They threw her in anyway. She quickly swam to the side, got out, and tried punching one of the guys. He was laughing as he blocked her punches. She grabbed a towel, dried off, and immediately left the party.
Two different guys at the party brought guitars and started playing. When Caryn mentioned the drum set in another room, the musicians made it over there. And with a baby grand nearby, there was a jam session. Caryn started doing a drum solo, and someone said, "She sounds like Travis Barker [of blink-182] on speed." When they started playing a Jimmy Eat World song, someone told her the drums were too loud and drowning out the guitars.
Drummers never get respect. Just ask Ringo.
There was a bartender hired to fix drinks. Even though most of the crowd looked to be in their early 20s or older, I wondered if bartenders hired for parties have to deal with checking IDs. I assume at a private home they really don't care, and it's not as if vice is going to show up. I asked the bartender if he liked working parties like this. He said, "It's usually easy money. But these girls keep ordering all these fruity drinks. It's not like they want a beer or a Jack and Coke. I should've brought my tiny umbrellas."
I noticed that when the dinner ended a lot of the older people left. I asked one young couple who kept making out (and smoking) if they felt more comfortable now that some of the parents had left. The guy said, "I'm just stoked this party is on Valentine's Day. I would've had to take her to an expensive restaurant. Instead we get to come here and eat for free." She smiled and said, "You still owe me a nice dinner, you cheap bastard."
He said, "Hey, I gave you flowers. What did you give me?" She said, "You'll see later."
I asked Caryn why there weren't more couples at this party. She said, "There are a few. And we have a little drama going on. That girl over there likes that tall guy. Another girl here likes him too, and she told her not to talk to him. I have a feeling it's going to get ugly."
Another girl who showed up ran into an old boyfriend. Caryn said, "That would've been fine, except that he brought his new girlfriend." Those three stayed far away from each other the entire night.
There was a bubble machine going and lots of red and silver balloons everywhere. The only thing missing was chocolate. Screw the shrimp! I wanted some chocolate! Maybe I'd get some at the wine party in Tijuana.
As I was saying goodbye, there was a big fight in one of the rooms. The two girls who liked the same guy were yelling at each other. Someone said to me, "Can you believe that? She walked in on the two of them. How embarrassing is that?"
I jumped in my car and left the beautiful homes of La Jolla for the...the charming city of Tijuana.
I didn't want to find this winery in Tijuana. I get nervous driving down there, and I'm bad with directions. It looked simple enough to just go down Paseo de los Héroes for a few miles and turn on one street before getting to the winery on Boulevard Agua Caliente. But it was just as easy to hand a cab driver $5 and pay the $8 to park at the border.