Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Kitty Basket

Last month, I attended a charity fundraiser for Children’s Hospital and Medical Center. It’s such a good cause, who can resist bidding on the silent auction? They had all sorts of cool baskets on offer: wine, chocolate, book lovers, travel, spa, and… one each for dogs and cats.

The chocolate and wine baskets were good, and I made a few bids. But the truth is, the kitty basket looked great: A soft cat bed as the base, it was filled with toys, gourmet treats, a book about cats, and even a certificate for an overnight stay at a really nice Seattle hotel that accepts pets. “Wow, that’s cool,” I thought. “Too bad I don’t have a cat right now.”

But as the evening passed, that cute little basket kept calling me back. I think it was the fishing pole and the matching food dish and treat canister set. Finally I thought, “Well, I don’t have a cat now, but I will get one someday, so why not bid?” So I did, checking back from time to time to raise with a higher bid when mine had been topped.

Silent auctions end with a flurry of activity, because all highly interested bidders scramble to put in their last best bids in the hopes of ending up as the final high bidder when the timer sounds. I stood by the pet baskets with a number of other folks, all with the same objective: be the final bidder, support charity, take home a cool item.

One friendly gentleman asked me, “Are you bidding on the cat basket or the dog basket?” When I told him I was bidding on the cat basket, he asked me what kind of cat I had. Feeling a little foolish, I mumbled something about how I didn't really have a cat right now because mine died a couple of months ago, but I figured I’ll get one someday and I was bidding for a future cat or two, I guessed. I said it quietly, but the guy turned to tell his wife and this odd hush fell over the group. One bidder set down her pen. Another whispered to her friend. A third turned to his date and said, “I can’t bid on the basket after that story,” and walked away.

“Oh whoa, way to clear the room,” I thought guiltily. “Way the play ‘the pity card!’” laughed my family later. Honestly, I hadn’t thought of it. The guy was making friendly conversation, I answered truthfully and didn’t even think anyone else was listening. *gulp*

But it’s ok, I guess. In the end, Children’s got a tidy donation and the kittens are really lovin’ the goodies! Especially the fishing pole.


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