When Dawn used to go out of town the kids would get into bed with me and we’d watch Shaun the Sheep, about as much maternal comfort as I could offer, a warm body and a laptop.
Dawn left for DC this morning and her phone alarm went off around 4 and she leapt to steady it, but both of us had been up for a while, knowing it was only a matter of time.
I told the kids I had my first big meeting at my new job, my first day with a new client, had to go just right. Charlotte combed my hair and said I needed to blend in at first and then later, I could be myself.
It was like one of those nightmares from college where you can’t find the room for a final exam. It normally takes half an hour for me to get to the Microsoft campus but leaving at 9 it took twice that, and I had less than 10 minutes to find the room, test the Skype connections, use the bathroom, try to look natural.
I circled the floor but couldn’t find the room, then realized the room was in a different building. I grabbed a room that looked open but said it was private (for a VP), connected the Skype ID through Outlook, sent an email apologizing for the change in plan, then another update with the new room.
We settled in and somehow everything worked. They even had bags of tea and a water cooler with cups, and when the audio came on it was like a movie theater. An admin popped in and scowled at me but I didn’t budge.
My plans for the meeting were intricate and detailed and, as things normally go, didn’t go as planned. But it flowed along alright and I did my best to manage the conversation, which is a strange kind of art, enabling decision-making with higher level people, finding and asserting authority when it’s yours to create; it seems no one gives it to you freely, they’re more likely to take it away. We’re like dogs like that, somehow.
And later, back at home, I remembered Charlotte said something to me about luck, she wished me that, and I thought maybe that really worked, because I had some luck and needed it. I stole a VP’s secret conference room and all the connections worked and no one kicked us out and all that in under a minute, in front of a new client.
Dawn texted me from a sports bar in DC watching the Seahawks game saying wish you were here—and the moon has the look of a panther’s eye now, the white-gold set in a sea of black, angling its way behind the trees, what’s left of the leaves.