Friday, December 08, 2006

Butterflies and Hurricanes

I haven't posted much lately for two reasons - I've been busy with work ('tis the season) and I've been a bit blocked. I started a couple of entries in the past two weeks, but they didn't do anything for me so I abandoned them mid-stream.

So I decided this morning that I would post about my night last night. I had a local industry group holiday party to attend. Actually I was double-booked because I was also signed up for another local industry group's CLE program, but I opted for the holiday party.

When I arrived at the hotel for the party, I pulled up behind a car at the valet stand and got out of my car to get the ticket from the hotel valet. As with most things, I have a position on valet stands. I am anti-valet stands. Sure, the sometimes serve a purpose, but when there is the ability to have self-park and places choose to offer only valet, it annoys me. Anyway after I got out of my car, the guy at the stand (I think it was a hotel manager or something because he was wearing a button-down shirt and a tie, as opposed ot all the other valet guys around who were in uniform) pulled the car in front of mine forward and from about 25 feet away instructed me to get back in my car and pull it forward. I declined to do so, in a less than nice manner, because I didn't think it was an appropriate request, seeing as I was already out of my car and I had pulled as far forward as I could before I got out. So, off I went to park elsewhere besically for free. I parked at a meter a block away for $.50 (the meters were turning off at 6 pm). I wanted to say something to the asshole manager as I walked in, but I decided not to bother.

I walked into the hotel and saw a private party going on in the dining area right behind the bar. I walked up to the open bar, got myself a drink, and proceeded to try to mingle (finding it a bit odd that there was no table with nametags, etc.). I realized about half-way into my first mingle that this was not my holiday party. I was a Holiday Party Crasher. However I felt a little bit bad about departing immediately with my free drink, so I stuck around for about 15 minutes. I mean, maybe these people would be more interesting than my group, right? Wrong. I had stumbled into a party for a group of municipal bond traders. It is hard to think of a group that would have less to offer, entertainment wise, than the banker group I was supposed to be meeting with, but somehow I managed to find that group. My lucky day!

After I extracted myself from the bond trader party, I managed to locate my holiday party. And sure enough, there was a table with nametags, so I was pretty sure it was the real deal. I walked into the party just as my boss was leaving. Score - he saw me at the party. My work here is done. Then I realized people were sitting down to dinner. Who holds a formal dinner for a industry group holiday party? Very odd. I found a banker that I know, sat down next to him and started eating my salad and the rubber chicken entree. Then a speaker came on. Andy Andrews. I had never heard of him, but he has written some books sort of in the motivational arena from what I gathered. He was actually quite an engaging speaker and one of his points was that Every Action Matters. He did one of those tracing back the number of people whose actions affected a certain event in time and what would have happened if any one of those people had not taken the action that they did at a specific time. Always interesting stuff.

Here is the key part of the evening, though, when everything came together for me. After the speech, I headed out to my car. I got in the car and noticed two things: (1) the jerk (when I'm in my car, pretty much everyone is either a jerk, an asshole or (as you might have guessed already) a jackass) in front of me was parked way too close to my car and (2) my back window had mist/fog/whatever-gets-on-your-car-when-you-park-it-at-the-beach-in-December on it. I couldn't really see the car behind me, but I could see it through my driver's side mirror. So I started backing up, using the side mirror. And I forgot the main rule of side mirrors (remember when this used to be stamped on them?): OBJECTS IN MIRROR ARE CLOSER THAN THEY APPEAR. Yes, I hit the car behind me way too hard for the fact that I only backed up a total of about 1 foot. I got out and looked at the cars. No damage on the car behind me, scraped paint on my car. Crap. I just got my bumper painted about a year ago when someone rear-ended me on [the] 5.

As I was driving away, it occurred to me - every action does matter. If the valet stand guy hadn't wanted me to pull forward and if I hadn't reacted to that request by getting angry and finding street parking instead, I would still have a shiny, unblemished bumper! Goddamn you, Andy Andrews! Perhaps I should buy your book.

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