Yes, friends--it was absolutely due to all the helpful advice I received here. I had the phone with the number set on speed dial, plus a watch with a sweep second-hand set to Geenwich Mean Time, and STILL I was getting the busy signal...then I thought of those tables that are always on Open Table...and quickly reserved a table for 4 at 5:30 PM on August 18.
After I had given them my info and gotten the email back and spent a few minutes wandering around my kitchen in a happy daze, I realized that my best friend and I, the diners for this dinner, are only 2. Not 4.
And if I cut down the number of guests in the rez, I have to pay $100 per guest.
But I'm not afraid. I'm going to ask everyone I know in the SF area if they want to come along (and, I should add, pay for themselves.) I'm going to put an ad on Craig's List. Try to sell my story on Grub Street. Ask Wookie if she really meant she and her husband would come along.
And how about any of the rest of you?