Working day bar is always a drag. It is usually dead until you are about to leave and the rest of the day you stock, clean and fold your white towel over and over again.
On this day it was Sunday to my surprise this guy walks in who was good friends with upper management. I had spent sometime with him in social situations but I do not believe we spoke much to each other. However, only a few times in a lifetime does a person get to have one those days that change the trajectory of one’s life. And this would be one of them.
He was looking for Willy, the Bar Manager and one of his closest friends. Willy had left for the day. But I offered him a drink and he accepted. It was a margarita on the rocks (and no Willy I did not charge him). He was lawyer but I think he missed the bartending days because he directed me exactly how to make his drink which was fine with me.
“You know I need to talk to you about something?” He carefully said. And I asked what. “Someone told me you don’t like me.” I was stunned because not only was that not true, I was surprised he could be so honest. And so we began to talk. We talked about honesty and which led to deeper conversations.
We talked for several hours and he eventually drove me home and I invited him to stay for a little while. I liked how he was wise and funny. And I felt totally comfortable around him which was rare for me in general.
So I began asking him questions about life. He had a couple years on me and little did I know I needed the advice he would relay to me on this beautiful Sunday afternoon on my porch in Santa Barbara.
“I don’t understand why I can’t get a boyfriend.” I complained.
“You don’t ask questions.” He said as if there was no other answer to my statement.
Startled, my mind raced about all the rules young people place on themselves to not get rejected. And I realized I never asked questions. I never said what I wanted. I just went along with the guy of the week until he moved on.
“But how could I ask questions?”
“You have to ask questions in relationships and in all that you do, so you have clarity and you know where you stand. You waste time if you do not.” He declared.
“So you are saying I need to ask someone how they feel about me?”
“Yes and ask them if they are interested in dating or are just having fun. And tell them your needs and walk away if they treat you poorly.”
This was the most amazing advice I had ever been given. Tell the truth? That was exactly what I thought I should not do. But I was willing to try it.
We drank a little more and I admitted to my dream of him of wanting to be a writer.
“Then you must be a writer!” He proclaimed.
I was still vulnerable about my writing but I took it out and he read every page. And he told me I was good and that I needed to fight for my dreams and I had the ability to it. He actually cared and he was quite serious about what he was saying.
Twenty three years later, I am still taking his advice. I ask questions in interviews, I tell the truth and I do not hide who I am. But even most importantly the seed he planted in my heart to write finally came to fruition this year. I finally took his advice on truth telling to a whole new level and I let my heart bleed all over the page because for twenty years my mind heard his message of “ you must write” and I let myself tell my story and write about what I wanted.
Two thousand views later on my blog….I want to thank this man. It is his birthday today and I find him to be amazing. He is a respected attorney in his community. He takes care of himself and his kids. He is funny and loyal; a rare find indeed. But most importantly, he set out to do what he wanted to do and he reached success far greater than he expected.
And merely by chance I gained much insight and courage on one empty day at the bar from someone I hardly knew.
Life has twists and turns. Never be surprised. You may not know how an event or a person can effect your life. Be open. And thank that person. I do every time I see him because I am afraid he will sue me.( Just kidding my friend.) And I wish you the happiest of happy birthdays. I hope to see you soon. 🙂