It wasn't Belinda Jensen's place to uninvite me to Frank Vascellaro's surprise party.
Foolishly, the KARE-11 weather honey tried.
Because I'm a friend of Frank's, his wife, WCCO-TV's Amelia Santaniello, nonchalantly called to invite me and my spouse to Saturday's '70s dress-up party at the Fine Line. Amelia said the party was for Frank and Dave, Belinda's co-worker and husband, respectively. Frank and Dave are frat brothers.
As funny as it was listening to Bel babbling -- any time you hear "it's nothing personal" repeated that often, IT'S PERSONAL! -- I did not enjoy a couple of cheesy shots taken at Frank's family, although I was the intended target.
"I didn't realize she [Amelia] was going to invite you . . . I was like 'No, no, no, I don't want this to be a big public thing,' " Belinda whined. "The thing is that I realize you'd want to write a column because you love writing columns about the people that are going to be invited. A lot of the people who are coming are people you write about all the time. I do understand that it would be fun to write a smid [glory bee, she coined a word on me] bit. I promise we'll get you some cute pictures. There'll be some really funny pictures."
Wait. If I write about these people and this party is in a public place and she's going to get me photos, what's the problem with my going?
Belinda said my presence would inhibit party-goers. "They won't be as free and crazy as they would be." So people getting free and crazy at a bar might do things they'd rather not be seen doing? "Maybe that's it," she said of my exegesis.
Now before her call, I had absolutely no plans to attend this party. But after Belinda painted this free and crazy picture, I decided it was my civic duty to be there. I might have to protect Frank's mom, my friend Rosalie Vascellaro, who flew in from Denver.
Now comes the conduct unbecoming a friend of Frank's.
When Belinda saw she wasn't getting anywhere with me, she huffed: "You're the queen of the world, and you'll do whatever the hell you want. There will be some people there who won't be as comfortable with having everything little thing they do watched. Maybe Frank is very comfortable with it. Obviously, he is! He tells you every time Sam . . . poops." That was nasty, and Belinda knows that's simply not true.
"I am not the kind of person who wants to talk about my babies' names in your column," she volunteered. She'd probably rather talk about it to her TV audience. I wondered later: Could that have been Belinda's baby announcement? FYI: My item on the babies' names was one of the Top 10 read stories on startribune.com that day.
I listened to lots of desperate ranting from her before I just had to ask: Frank's your friend. What does he see in you? "I can't talk to you anymore. Goodbye."
Can't say I'll miss Ms. Malaprop.
Overall, I came away with the impression that a) Belinda's jealous of the attention Frank and Amelia attract, and b) she doesn't feel as comfortable around me as Frank and Amelia. That appeared to be Belinda's problem with paranoia, as I was treated graciously by everyone at the party.
Clanking this Bel was big fun. I threatened (not seriously) to spill the beans early to Frank. "Oh, come on, honey," she said. Why is she calling someone as scary as moi "Honey?"
"This is a big deal I've been planning for a long, long time; since November." I told Belinda she needed some hobbies. "That's not very nice," said Belinda. This woman diss-inviting me to a party was suddenly Miss Manners.
There was more fun when Bel morphed from Miss Manners into one of those scary teenage girls who have been getting a lot of newsmagazine ink and video. "You're very personal [she meant private]. You don't even like people taking pictures of you. [That's been well documented.] There are a lot of cameras that are going to be at the party. What if someone takes a snapshot of you? I know you hate that," she said in a spooky tone of voice.
Good I told, her. I'll be packing two cameras!
"Honey. Listen to the situation," she backed off.
Well, Honey, the bottom line is that when you are throwing a joint party, you can't have complete control over the guest list. It's like a wedding: A healthy person only wants to control who sits on their side of the aisle.
-- C.J. is at 612-332-TIPS or at firstname.lastname@example.org , where she never opens attachments. So don't even try.