Friday, April 6, 2012
It never fails to fascinate me how one moment in time and the decision you make in that moment can alter the course of your life. Last spring I was at a cocktail party. It was quite a gala affair and I was supposed to go with a colleague and at the last moment she could not go. I was a little apprehensive about going on my own, but I knew it was going to be a great party and I figured, "What the hell?", surely there would be at least a few people I would know.
It was an industry event and the chances were good I would bump into someone I could chat with. When I arrived at the event, the crowd was already assembled - I was fashionably late and so it was a bit difficult to see through the well-dressed bodies. I would have to snake my way through the gathered clutches of wine-sipping revellers until I recognized someone....anyone. There were a few local celeb designers that caught my eye but they were already engaged in conversations and besides, I did not really "know" them. One of them was talking to a woman I knew, so I elbowed my way into their private little circle and said hello to the gal I knew. She did not introduce me to her celeb friend, but I was just grateful at that point to have someone to talk with. The usual small talk - Hi! How are you? Wow - you look fabulous! Have you lost more weight - every time I see you, there is less of you. Yadda. Yadda. Yadda.
Once that was exhausted, it was time to move on and go check out what all the hoopla was about in the first place, the opening of a new section of the showroom and adjoining art gallery. It would give me more to talk about in the next familiar encounter. It was also a chance to top up my wine at the bar. The music was live and actually exceptionally entertaining. There was a band and an old school R&B singer who also had a personality and people were actually listening as well as talking. I stood and listened myself for a time and was so impressed, I thought it would not even matter if I talked to anyone else all evening - this was really good.
As I stood there swaying a bit to the music, I glanced around me, again, wondering if there were more people I might know. I noticed a woman who seemed to be on her own as well. She was leaning against the arm of a modern white leather sofa. I checked her out from top to bottom. She was an older woman, elegant, petite, so well put together, she stood out in the crowd. Compared to the rest of the room, she really had it going on. She had a confident sense of style, her clothing betrayed her age, yet did not look too young for her. She was dressed in soft hues of silver and white from her casually draped silk scarf to her strappy sandals. She could not have weighed more than 92 lbs. soaking wet, but it suited her perfectly. She was not tall. About 5' 1" without her heels would have been my guess. Her hair was short and spiky and silver as well. The good kind of silver - not old lady silver. Her make-up was expertly applied and her jewelry was bold and artsy. I could not take my eyes off of her.
I kept thinking she must have been waiting for someone to join her. I waited a few minutes, but no one approached her. She seemed quite content to continue listening to the band. I had this sudden overwhelming urge to go tell her how lovely she looked. I was also curious about this woman who looked like she should be in a Vogue magazine shoot for "how to pull off 70 with style". She truly was the best looking woman in the room. I followed my instinct to go and tell her what I had been thinking. I walked across the room and approached her from the side and tapped her on the shoulder, "Excuse me, (she turned to face me) I just want to say that you look amazing. You are the most stylish woman in this room." She looked at me, a total stranger and her face lit up like a freshly struck match. "Why, thank you so much," she said as she extended her hand to shake mine. We introduced ourselves to each other and after that it was non-stop chatter for a good 20 minutes. She too was a designer, owned her own business, loved shopping for her clients at this showroom and we talked about the trials and tribulations associated with running your own business. We had a very pleasant conversation and she even shared some personal things about her life that endeared me to her even more.
At one point in our conversation I mentioned that I had always wondered what it might be like to work at this place. She asked me if I would like to meet one of the managers and I said sure. She escorted me across the room and introduced me as though she had always known me and left me to my own devices and disappeared into the crowd. For the second time that evening, I was engaged in an interesting chat with a woman I had never met. She asked me to send my resume to her and told me that she was always looking for talented people to join their team. At the time, I did not feel the need to do that, but I kept her card and filed it away.
I owe a big thank you to "Ilona" and her gracious introduction. I start my new job April 17.
I must seek her out and tell her.
Karma at work. That's how I see it.....
.....and a bit of serendipity.