Monday, June 11, 2007

Eating with the ultra rich and then killing their rabbits




I have been following Paris Hilton's tale of woe way too closely. My plate is pretty full but still manage to keep current with all that is going on with her.

I photographed her grandfather last summer for a story on the richest Americans. He has a 1/4 million acre ranch 100 miles south east of Reno. He offered to send a plane for us in Reno but I declined saying the drive would be nice. We got lost and every-time we called the ranch for directions someone else answered the phone and had no idea how to explain how to get to the property. We finally made it to his compound and out he comes wearing a Member's Only jacket with a tomato stain on it. He needed help walking but managed to come looking for us in his helicopter when we were late.

After the shoot he invited us to stay for dinner. We sat at a table of 20 with Baron at the head . They sat us as far from him as we could be but still be at the same table. One of his son's sat directly across from us. Throughout the conversation the son kept interjecting that Paris would not be coming and that he had not seen his niece in some time. Nobody had asked about her but we got the feeling that she was all that people wanted to talk about and he was just used to launching a preemptive strike on the topic. Like when you have some wound in the middle of forehead and you know people are going to ask you about it.

After some time the conversation turned to gambling. My assiststant mentioned that he didn't really like to gamble and would always quit when he lost 400 or 500. We talked the pros and cons of different casino games and then the son interjected,"400 thousand right? You quit after you have lost 400 grand." No 400 dollars" my assistant corrected him. The son got very cold and hardly spoke to us the rest the night. He assumed we were like the other 20 men at the table and leaders of some industry or a whale flown in from one of the casinos for a boondoggle.

As soon as we hit the dirt road on the way out of the ranch we say them. Thousands and thousands of rabbits drawn to the light of our rented SUV and then diving out of the way at the last minute when they see the trouble they were in. For the first few miles I tried to swerve to avoid them and then I realized we had a long drive ahead of us and stepped on the gas. Miraculously we did not hit a single bunny. For 10 miles we drove 70 miles an hour on this dirt road and finally saw the paved road ahead. Then, of course, we heard the faint yelp and felt the slight bump in the right front tire.

If I was a writer I would see the rabbits as a metaphor in this story.This blog would be like one of those opaque poems my 14 year old has to read. Maybe Baron is the rabbit trying to avoid the bright light of his coming mortality. Or maybe Paris is the bunny getting burned by thes searing light of her celebrity. Or maybe the son is the bunny darting in and out of the light cast by his father. Or maybe we are the rabbits all drawn to the light. Most are safe but a few of us end up as stew.

1 comment:

Orla said...

Keep up the good work.