Monday, June 09, 2008

Dazzled and Frazzled

On Wednesday evening, while dining at the Legion of Honor in San Francisco, I gazed upon this fabulous piece by glass artist Dale Chihuly and thought, "My God. He's captured in the inside of my brain just perfectly." There are so many threads and spirals going in so many directions that, at this point, I long for boredom. Lately, it's all I can do to catch my breath before the Next Thing demands my focus.

Here's a gross understatement: Last week was a blur. My work life leads up to a big annual event and it sucks every cell of my being to ensure its success. It did and it was. Though it was exhausting (I'm still trying to catch up on sleep) it had some highlights.

Living in a fancy hotel for several nights helped to ease my homesickness. The Fairmont Hotel is an historic San Francisco jewel atop Nob Hill. Black-and-white photos of movie stars and presidents, all previous guests, line the elegant hallways. Best of all, I had cocktails in the room where Tony Bennett debuted a new song in 1962 called, "I Left My Heart in San Francisco." Evidently, it caught on.

Another perk of these events is eating and drinking above and beyond my usual fare. Fresh oysters, artful cheeses and lots of things with Italian names all washed down with superb wines and champagne paid for by Other People - my favorite flavor! When I left for the airport eight million years ago, I'd only been home for three days from my previous adventure. Therefore, I didn't see the point in grocery shopping and my fridge contents consisted of a not-so-fresh watermelon, a gazillion water bottles (all antique as I reuse them religiously) and a sack of potatoes. On the road, my meals become someone else's job and these folks are at the top of their game.

And speaking of game ... here's me at the Legion dinner, enjoying eensy weensy Quail drumsticks. What's great is that when the meat is gone, the bones make excellent toothpicks.

One of more bizarre aspects of the week was making the acquaintance of MC Hammer, who turned out to be a very smart, funny and incredibly nice guy. Hammer's life story is a strange mix of elements - pro baseball, military, music, fame, bankruptcy, religion and now, technology and business, which is how he came into my orbit.

One evening (god, I have no idea which one), it ended up being four of us - Hammer, me and two of my friends - one of whom is also a well-dressed bald black man who was constantly mistaken for Hammer, much to his great annoyance. ("What is it? Can there not be more than one handsome bald black man in a room??? I do not understand," he said.)

Many, many times throughout the evening, I observed one drunk person after another approach Hammer and slur a heartfelt request for a photo. Each and every time, Hammer obliged with the utmost graciousness and generosity. Then, he would find his way back to our little group, "Now, what I saying? Oh yeah, Twitter. I LOVE Twitter!" Keep in mind, Hammer's big music fame occurred nearly 20 years ago, which means, he's been having his conversations interrupted by drunk people for almost two decades. Yikes. Just one more reason why I only want to be famous 'in certain circles' and leave it at that.

One of my favorite stories of the week came from an unlikely place. My sidekick, Maria (also the inspiration for this blog) was my partner in all of this. Together, we kicked ass on the event and tried to keep each other from passing out from exhaustion.

Early in the week, we were making small talk at a cocktail party with two high level executives. Inevitably, politics came up. Standing on my left, Maria let her Loud Liberal Lioness out while on my right, Executive Guy countered with his searing Conservative Commentary. I gingerly backed away and left them there, fully engaged.

This went on throughout the event and whenever I could not find either one, I knew they had gone off to a place where the arguing could continue. In the end, the exec admitted that he totally appreciated Maria's active rage and that many women he work with are afraid to debate or disagree. "I mean, it's not 1955, y'know?" he said. Then, he meets Maria who openly points her finger in his face, "ELITIST!!!!" and he loved it.

I'm pondering the exec's strange gender observation against the backdrop of Hillary backing out and seeing the "Sex and The City" movie and yes, I got girlie thoughts. Alas, it will have wait until the next post 'cause I have to lie down again ...


Dave Wendland said...

OMG I LOVE this, Heather! You're my heroine... :)

quirkychick said...

You had Hammer time!!!

It's clear from the photo that the exec has a great big conservative crush on Maria.

Mrs.X said...

Only you can a) make a work event sound incredibly entertaining and b) meet and end up dining with MC Hammer. I am officially in awe.


ClizBiz said...

Yes, well, I am leaving out all the icky parts of a work trip - the late night deadlines, the running up and down marble steps in painful heels, the client frustrations, the glad-handing and the realization that I am being sucked into a world while my real life is put on hold.

But mostly, it was a helluva good time. Mrs. X - next trip, I pack you along in my suitcase, eh?

hotdrwife said...

And now, I'm singing Hammer Time again. My inner thirteen-year-old girl is thrilled! :)

I love your stories.

Welcome home, stay put for a bit, rest up, and I'll see you soon, sweets.

mundane affair said...

Another thought on this great one... your comment on the first pic. Perfect. You can practically see the thoughts flowing and swirling around and synapses firing on all (or none) cylinders. Colors, creativity, passion - it's all in yr noggin', kid. :-P

Anonymous said...

Ahh, Hammer reminds me of "funk night". How I could use one of those Monday nights!