That’s him! I stopped short at the newspaper stand that I passed each day on my walk to work down New York City’s Fifth Avenue. There, with a sultry smile on the cover of GQ (Gentlemen’s Quarterly, the men’s magazine) was a photo of a young man. He had a short business haircut, wore tortoise shell rimmed glasses, a pinstripe suit and had that debonair look about him.
Many years ago, my marriage to my high school sweetheart was sadly coming to an end and once it did, only one of the many friends we had ever spoke to me again. Since I had to kick-start my life all over again, I decided to also interview for a new job and I was now the New York salesperson for a housewares company. As I would always do, I put my energy into positive thinking, closing my eyes at night just before bed and viewing the details of my life as if I were watching myself in a movie. I imagined myself successful in this challenging, new position. I saw myself meeting someone who looked just like that GQ cover.
I was excited to be attending my first trade show in Chicago, but disappointed that my boss would soon be leaving the company. When he had put his replacement on the phone to say hello a few days prior, I was startled. His voice was deep and he sounded as if he were at least 30 years old! The fun was over and I could already tell that he had no sense of humor. When I had written “…Does anyone really read this? …” in the middle of the long, detailed sales report that I had to turn in weekly, I had received a phone message from him stating only that ..”Yes, someone is reading it…” Uh oh, I was not off to a good start.
I arrived early at the show, making sure that the displays I had set up the day prior were perfectly in place before the company executives arrived. As I was finishing up, a deep voice behind me said “…Hello, Linda…” It was the voice on the phone and as I turned around the GQ photo came to life, complete with the same eye glasses and suit! Not one to usually stammer, I started to stumble over my words and quickly decided it was best to just stop talking and shake hands.
He left the next morning, but not before letting me know that he would be flying into NYC in two weeks and asking me to make appointments with the top department stores so he could meet them. By this time, I was feeling confident in my position and looking forward to him getting to know my customers and for me to get to know him a bit better.
The two weeks arrived quickly and I was excited to see him again. I planned to impress him with my professionalism, which took a turn for the worst when, as we strolled down Fifth Avenue, I fell on the sidewalk and lay there on my stomach in my new suit and matching heels. A crowd formed around us as he helped me up. I tried to brush it all off as I brushed myself off, quickly cleaning the blood off my knees with my spit and trying to turn the rips in my hose off to the side. Fortunately, the day continued without another hitch.
The next day, the rain did not deter us and I was feeling great in my new matching raincoat and hat. I was impressed that he wanted to stop in at one of those ritzy Madison Avenue jewelry stores where ringing the bell lets you in and I felt so elegant as we entered. Then, as I looked down, the water that had gathered on the brim of my hat hit the jewelry case and all the security alarms in the store started to screech. As we were quickly escorted back out to the street by the security guards, all I could think to say was “…Lunch?..” Needless to say, it was better for both of us that his trip was coming to an end, since I could not have imagined what calamity Day Three might have had in store for me.
My sales increased and our relationship blossomed. We were a great team; I kept track of all the details and he would “wing it,” creatively putting deals together. A few years later, we would decide to open our own sales representative agency and our first product line would be the housewares company that we had met at.
Through all these years together, life with Mr. Wiz* has never been dull. The adventures just seem to continue. My heart still skips a beat when I see him dressed in a suit and he’s always been there to pick me up (literally and figuratively).
*Who’s who? See “Cast of Characters” on the “About” page.