Do you keep a notebook with you at all times? What about index cards or maybe a couple of scraps of recycled paper? I do. And so do my other friends who were born with this genetic predisposition toward writing. Writers always, always have something on hand in which to make some notes. It helps if you observe something interesting, or overhear a phrase or conversation you just have to recall for later. (You never know. You might need a scene just like that one for your Great American Novel one day. Best to capture it in the moment, so you'll more accurately remember how to set up the scene.) These scraps of paper, I found, also amuse me when I'm looking for new topics for this blog. Humor me. You really don't want to read another post just yet about how organized my life is gonna' be by the end of the day, do you?
The other day I was looking around for a couple of important scraps that depict the uniqueness of my life as seen in my soon-to-be-completed New Home Page. You know the kind I'm talking about. I needed some paper gems that will better flesh out the contents of a fun, quality bulletin board! I came across a notecard that had me laughing aloud at a long-forgotten scene. Again I was reminded of the benefits of those ever-present notecards.
You know that phrase, "Maybe you had to be there"? Well, if I set up the story just right, maybe you'll feel you actually were there. And if I'm lucky, you won't ask later, "Um...what was so funny about that?" So here's my story. Enjoy a laugh if I pull it off. If not, go write your own encounter on a scrap of paper and enjoy the challenge of relaying the story with its delectable in-the-moment humor intact, to your blog's readers.
A packed, Minneapolis, Mariott banquet room full of community college Marketing professionals. It's the last night of this national conference. You've all had a good time eating the free food and having your beds made for you each day and, if you're lucky, being inspired and invigorated to return to your day jobs (the one that paid for this trip,) and inject your performance with some of the new-and-improved tricks of the trade you've gleaned during the past few days from others faced with the exact sets of challenges your career so consistently presents to you.
At your table is your director who is also your friend, and 4 other Webmaster / Marketing Director / Graphic Designer - Types from your district. Which is to say "The South." You never met these others before this week but now you're fast friends, a bonding that's been nurtured by geographical proximity, common colleagues, and (who could have predicted it?) similar senses of humor.
A 45-50 something graphic designer whose confident kindness evokes a feeling of comfort and familiarity, with a subtle flirtiness that never overpowers the sense that his upbringing was like yours and you'd be quite safe on strange city streets if he were your companion. He's wearing a dinner jacket over a cashmere sweater, and nice (but not too expensive,) well-polished black shoes. His southern accent is unmistakable.
Me. In black, wide-legged, silk pants and deep purple flowing silk top - both by Ralph Lauren, and a long, drapey beaded necklace of my own design. It's fun to dress up and I'm enjoying the outfit and all the compliments it's evoked, even if it is at a Work Do. Good mood. A twinge more than a little cocky. (I know. I've said it before. I need to get out more.)
Just a little bit of red wine.
The Exchange that Caused Me to Write on a Notecard:
Up on stage, someone from the host college is introducing the next speaker for the evening. The speaker is highly enthused about the next guest. We're supposed to be enthused, too. And impressed. Not only has the next speaker driven all this way to talk to us, but beforehand he's created props for this evening's festivities. Big props. Made with, apparently, a large quantity of particle board or plywood. Let's say particle board - that thing looks heavy. No doubt they had to hire seventeen men to lug it up there earlier that very day. I can't quite figure out what it is I'm looking at. It's been painted an enthusiastic shade of green. I'm sorry to tell you, even now, I never figured out what it was that guy was going to show us. It was all downhill from here.
What this notecard says was inspired by this introduction to He Who Built Impressively Large Green Objects For Our
Speaker: "And then he built it and brought it here on his truck!"
Me: (Truly not trying to be mean. Seriously curious about what was unfolding before me. Hoping to understand.) "What'd he build...that green thing?"
Southern Dinner Companion: "Don't be ugly hon."
Sometimes a southern accent paired with a well-developed edge of fatherly authority just says so much...