Bill and I were in San Diego the week of February 28th getting a needed break from the desert of Tucson. There really is nothing quite like the ocean, and walking on its sandy shore to revive one’s spirits and to listen and hear divine advice from above (whatever or whoever you think is up there!). The air, the crash of the waves, the hope – it always inspires, soothes, and revives my soul.
We stayed at a lovely resort that was hosting several business conferences. Seeing all those eager, focused, certain, fast walking/talking men and women with name tags and meetings/parties to get to brought memories of my career adventures. As a former conference speaker and attendee/participant it brought back the pressure, planning and intensity that went with those many meetings of the 80s, 90s and first decade of the 2000s. The first thing that hit me was how I couldn’t really remember much I ever said, or heard – but I was at the same time certain it was important and meaningful. Chuckle number one: great memories of just doing and being somewhere is enough – the words while agonized over, were likely the least important part of the program anyway.
I dress for dinner – always have, always will. Unless home alone or literally at a picnic or barbecue, when the sun sets and it’s time for dinner, I put on makeup (or freshen what’s on) and put on “something nicer”. Given my age and that I grew up in New York, that generally means a black something – pants, top, dress, skirt, scarf, wrap of some sort – some heels and often earrings, necklace or a bracelet – and when I remember, perfume. Big bag gets turned in for smaller one.
I have come to realize, confirmed on this trip and dozens of others in the last few years, that this effort and approach to dining is not just a little old-fashioned, it is nearly completely absent from dining. Whether highbrow, expensive and sleek, or down home, family friendly and loud – few people seem to want to, or like to dine.
So what’s the chuckle? People actually look a little strangely at you when you arrive at a restaurant, or seem to be off for the evening. The look says: who are those people and where are they going? As if you couldn’t be this “dressed up” (a truly ancient concept) and just going to eat something and be with your phone. Why would you bother? It’s just un-American. I find this a huge chuckle – and OK with me. This is one life strategy I am not going to completely give up – if that labels me old and out of it, so be it.
Finally, the real chuckle of the trip: being asked by traveling business people from Canada if they should be scared that Donald Trump might be President. We were asked this at least 10 times – it was a big Canadian conference. We found it funny that anyone cared, found it funny that these well-read people were this worried, and funny and sad that we were having to defend our pathetic-looking Presidential race. We assured them it couldn’t happen.
Then we got up each day and saw/read the news and thought: Is any of this really that funny anymore? Not just that we have become such an odd country politically, but that we don’t even care enough to look great anymore as we compete more aggressively in the global marketplace. We sort of chuckled. This isn’t going to keep going this way is it? Or, is it? Let’s make America at least a place we are proud to be from. I think the election will put us there again – and women and men are going to dress beautifully for the inaugural ball. That gives me hope – lots of it. Next thing you know people might dress for dinner.