When it comes to wearing attire, I’m pretty much of a follow the crowd kind of guy as long as the parameters fall under the category of good taste. I’m definitely not a trendsetter. I noticed more than one man in the Dallas airport that was sporting a new hairstyle. Actually, I thought they looked old enough to know better. The sides of their hair were a buzz cut with long hair on top. It looked weird to me, but like I said: “I’m a follow the crowd kind of guy” as long as the parameters all under good taste. If you’re forty-five years old and opt to dress like you are in your teens, well you be the judge? I’m not going there. At the end of the day skinny jeans don’t look good on people who push the limits; I don’t care if your hair is buzzed on the sides or not.
When it comes to wearing gloves, I want them to match. In a perfect environment it is also imperative that they be the same color as one’s coat. I packed hurriedly for my trip to D.C. Guess what? “I could only find one black glove.” Michael Jackson routinely wore only one glove, but I wasn’t a fan. Consequently, he wasn’t going to set the pace for me even posthumously.
Kind of as an afterthought, I tossed my brown gloves in the suitcase. I probably would opt not to wear them because they didn’t go with my black coat, but you never know. COLD has a way of overruling the status quo and I’ve been in the D.C. before when it was too cold for comfort.
I can’t look to the General for empathy or encouragement. She thinks going to D.C. in January and expecting to find decent weather is the definition of insanity. From her perspective, even geese have the good sense to fly south in the winter. “No Siree”, don’t expect the General to have anything but an “I told you so” demeanor if I go home complaining of the cold.
A colleague and I were meeting the board president of the organization where we serve for breakfast at 8:00 a.m. yesterday morning. The location was 1.7 miles from the hotel. When it comes to walking, I’ve done my share of pounding the pavement in the nation’s capitol. Yesterday was not one of those days. It was bitterly cold outside and the wind? The wind could have been named Maria. The wind had the capacity of turning a cold shoulder. For that matter, it was enough for me to opt for plan “B”. Instead of walking, we’d take the Metro to the next station and walk from there. The plan worked well, but it was too cold for comfort outside.
I noticed what appeared to be the outline of a homeless person on the street. He or she was covered head-to-toe with a stack of blankets. There was actually a bed set up on the sidewalk and boxes and boxes of stuff stacked between the bed and the wall. I guess regardless of one's status, we all want our stuff.
We finished breakfast and got to the meeting room an hour and a half early. What were they going to do? Surely they wouldn’t turn us away? It was cold outside. The wind was a gale force wind and the chill factor would chill you to the bone. It didn’t have to chill much to make my fingers wench from the cold of the wind. Call me mismatched if you want, but I put on my brown gloves. Necessity can become the mother of invention and practicality. My gloves were mismatched with my coat, but my fingers eventually were toasty warm.
Shortly before the meeting was to start, I received a telephone call from a board member who had taken the train from Richmond to Union Station. His question for me was: “I’m on 17th Street, where’s the building?” He then attempted to tell me where on 17th street he was and thought I’d have accurate information to provide him guidance.
I was clueless and said as much. I did offer to go downstairs and asked the individual managing the building for assistance. I put my phone on speaker. Consequently, I was privy to the conversation. The board member described his location and the man immediately began giving directions of where to turn and where to stay the course. I interjected and said: “He’s not driving. He is walking.” The man said, “No – You can’t walk in this weather. The wind is brutal. You are at least an hour away. You need to take a taxi".
The person providing directions said, “You are a long way from Union Station and we are a 30 minute walk from there.” Okay, so I’m not the only one who is directionally challenged. Apparently the guy had walked at least 30 minutes in the wrong direction. I get it. Things like that happen. GPS can be your friend or it can be the catalyst for being lost in a storm. The latter was definitely the case.
Two minutes later, the guy called back and asked me again for the address. Cold can be a sobering experience. He was taking a cab. I thoughtfully suggested Uber and said: "It is half the price". He responded: “No – I’m already in the cab". I gave him the address and in fifteen minutes he was out of the elements and in the building.
Our meeting was over between 4:00 & 5:00. Someone suggested we all go out for dinner. I was in the process of putting on my mismatched gloves to go back outside and walk to the Metro. The next thing I knew it was my job to determine the restaurant. I reluctantly agreed and said: “I’ll call you.” While I was looking up restaurants close to the immediate area, one of the group members called and said “Our group wants to go to…. It is 20 minutes away by cab.” I respectfully declined saying: “I'd prefer to stay a stone’s throw from the hotel.” It was cold outside and warmth won out over a cuisine with “Mozart” in the name.
I called the others in the group and they wanted to stay close in as well. I asked the concierge at the hotel for a nearby restaurant suggestion. She said: “Pizzeria Paradiso is a three minute walk from here and it is really good”. That worked for me and it worked for two others. It turned out to be a delightful evening of conversation and the food was excellent. In fact, one of the guys had been to the restaurant before. He said it is one of his father-in-law’s favorite places to eat. The father-in-law is a physician who lives in D.C.
At the end of the day, in reflecting over the board meeting and the shared time during the evening meal, it was an exceptional day. The two guys that joined me for dinner both have an interesting story. They have a passion for their work and they love what they do. Speaking of mismatched, it was as though three different generations shared a meal and conversation. At some point in the conversation, I said to the older of the two: “I am old enough to be your father.” He responded: “Not really”! I shared my age and he replied. “That surprises me. You really are old enough to be my father.” The younger man quipped: “I turn thirty next week”. All I can say is “that it goes by quickly. Day-before-yesterday, I turned thirty and look at me now. I’m an eccentric older man with a black coat and brown gloves. At least I have the good sense to keep my hands warm. black wedding gowns
All My Best!