If a tree falls in the forest, does it make a noise? If I did not always have an audience for my escapades, would they be just as ridiculous? Some things we will never know.
One of the many jobs I've held over the years was selling advertising for the local newspaper. Advertisers like to run campaigns to allow their clients different ways to showcase their products/services. As it happens, May is National Car Care month as well as National Health/Fitness Month.
Just having arrived to Connecticut the previous February, I relied on maps and the yellow pages to familiarize myself with local businesses in the area. With the focus of a general, I carefully plotted out my first visit to a neighboring city, listing the names and addresses of all the auto care shops along with any spas or gyms along a specific route. Since this was to be my introduction to these businesses, I took great pains to look my professional best: Linen pants and a smart blouse screamed “Listen to her, she looks like she can be an integral part of your marketing campaign strategy.” I loaded the caravan and charged out to conquer my territory.
The directions led me to an industrial section, where I noticed, like so many areas up here, there were commercial and residential properties side by side. I saw a number of commercial properties that were obviously homes at one time and had been re-purposed for business use. It can be a little confusing when you are targeting businesses.
I stopped in to a few of the auto shops, rate card in hand and big smile on my face, but did not meet with much success. Undaunted, I assured myself that if I kept at it, something would break. After the last “no, thank you," I sat in my car, jotted down some notes about my latest refusal, and looked to see what my next stop would be. The next on the list would be one of the spa facilities, an omen that my luck would change after all the auto shops. Even more promising, it was the house right next to the auto shop where I was currently parked.
With a spring in my step and a song in my heart, I hopped out of the car and up the steps of the spa. I opened the door, and was really confused by the reception area. It was an empty room, with only a lamp with a red scarf over it. As I stood in the room, trying to get my bearings, a door opened. An older Asian woman came out wearing pajamas.
I looked at her, she looked at me, and the reality that I had pranced into a house of ill-repute came crashing down upon me. Being the savvy New Yorker that I am, you can guess the way I handled the situation. After standing there a few seconds, slack-jawed, I started screaming, which prompted her to start
screaming, and I ran out the door.
Across their parking lot, into the auto care place next door where I was parked, the woman’s screams were replaced with the uproarious laughter of the mechanics as I raced to my very suburban caravan. Doing what I usually do when I get into these kind of predicaments, I called my husband, on the Nextel radio, of course.
“Barry, Barry!” (The note of hysteria in my voice no longer alarms him).
“What’s going on?”
“You will never guess where I am right now!”
“Calm down, OK, where are you?”
“I just went into a ***** house!” That got his attention, as well as every other mechanic on the garage floor at the New York City Transit Authority. He then informed me:
“The reason I married you was because you told me you didn’t know what the inside of one of those looked like.”
My response, “I obviously don’t know what the outside of one looks like either.”
Ah well, we all make mistakes. Unfortunately for some, though, that truism doesn't apply. When my son with special needs was a teenager, I had to constantly remind him that the rules are different for him. Typically, if a teenage boy behaves badly, or loses his temper, we are all quick to attribute the behavior to his age and immaturity, assuring ourselves that he will grow out of it. When you are different, however, you don’t get this same consideration. If my son made a mistake, such as losing his temper or behaving badly, automatically it was attributed to his neurological disorder. Hence he would always be associated with the behavior.
I think it is important for all of us to remember when we hear or see others making a mistake, no matter who they are or where they are in life, we all are a work in progress.