Last month, I met a guy friend for our annual glass of Christmas cheer at one of our tonier hotel bars in Dallas. We barely had our drinks in hand when he received a text and regretfully had to leave. Being a sophisticated, independent woman in her prime, I sucked it up and moved to the bar to enjoy my drink.
I got comfortable on my bar stool and struck up a conversation with a beautiful woman seated next to me. The conversation was typical for a hotel bar: Do you live in the area? What do you do? Do you have family?…well you get the drift. She was very interested in learning about my company, the type of work we did, and the kind of clients we represented. After some time, she indicated that she also was in a PR type of business.
The bartender knew her well and several gentlemen that I deemed were regulars stopped by to say hello. After two more drinks and more conversation, my ah-ha moment came when it dawned on me what kind of PR business she was in, that she was very good at it, and that she made a substantial income.
Just about the time it was getting really interesting, two gentlemen came over and, in the blink of an eye, she was gone with the younger guy and I was left with the older chap who already had a few too many drinks.
He asked if he could join me. Now there is not enough Dom Perignon in the world that could entice me to spend an evening with this guy. Normally, I would have excused myself faking a prior engagement but girls, I have a column to write and this was too good to be true. So, I assumed what I considered by best Lauren Bacall sultry look and in a deep voice told him it was a “free country”. Good Lord, did I really say that?
He droned on about his BORING life history and my patience was just about to come to an end when he took a closer look at me and said, “You look a little old for the business”. I kid you not! My mouth was full of wine, I choked and my drink flew out of my nose. After a recovery moment I said. “Yes I might be but I have found that experience allows me to charge more for my services”. (All true, I might add, just not the services he thought we were talking about)
Honest to God, I think that peaked his interest. So, in order to cool his jets, I went on to tell him that I have had to start wearing shorter heels since I have bad knees. (Also true, and was a big turnoff considering the kind of business he thought I was in.)
There are times in life when the universe conspires to give you a gift and this was one of those nights. Just about the time I thought it could not get any better a client came into the bar, greeted me warmly and introduced himself to the dude sitting next to me. Assuming I was either on a date ( gag me) or was with a potential client (double gag me) he went on at great length to tell this guy that he had been a client of mine for many years and that there was no one in the business better than me.
Well I just busted out laughing, wet my pants, paid my bill, kissed my client goodbye, and left for the ladies room.
I arrived home and immediately drank a gallon of water in an effort to hydrate and started writing this column. I was almost done when my friend who had to leave earlier in the evening called to once again apologize. I told him he gave me the best present of the season and when I was done writing it all down I would email it to him.
Gifts come in all kinds of shapes and sizes, expensive and homemade, but the best gifts of all are the wonderful surprises life throws at you when you least expect it. This truly is love in the prime. The love of life and yourself that only comes after years of living.
Make sure you have a past juicy enough that you look forward to retelling it in old age. This sure is one of those stories.