I’m “courting” a potential new client. We met twice for lunch. She never offered to split the bill. The first lunch was at a local diner. She sent back the cole slaw (“This isn’t fresh”). She sent back her grilled cheese and bacon (“The bacon is dried out”). She complained that their tea was in a bag. (“I only drink loose tea.”) At the end of the meal, she took home half a sandwich and two half-sour pickles.
She suggested the venue for our second lunch: The International House of Pancakes, aka, IHOP. She ordered German pancakes. She told the waitress how she wanted the pancakes (really, crepes) to be cooked. Again she complained about the tea being in a bag. She went to her car to get her special all-natural sweetener.
During the first lunch, I learned about her business. During the second lunch, I delivered the bad news. Her website looked horrible. Her posted videos were amateurish. The cover design for her book was awful. She told me how some famous people, like Steve Forbes, liked her website and videos. She rattled off other famous names. I’ve done my research on this client so I know she’s not pulling a fast one. She does know these people. Then came the second phase of this discussion. How much would it cost to redo the website, video, etc.
I gave her ballpark numbers. During the discussion she dropped another name. I didn’t recognize it but she said that he’s a Republican and only does business with fellow Republicans. His feeling is that, if you want my money, you better be on the same political team as me. Then the conversation turned to her political views.
“I can’t wait for this eight year nightmare to be over.”
“Trump will do a marvelous job.”
I did not respond. I did not explode. I did not leap across the table. This proves that ten years of anger management has paid off. It also proves that I can probably do business with a stuck up, arrogant, detestable piece of garbage. It also proves that the eight year nightmare of the Bush-Cheney regime, and its still lingering effects, has been erased from the public’s memory.
The potential client is an elderly woman with pleasant manners and some idiosyncrasies. Her attire seems well thought out though a bit dated. It has the appearance of someone who has all the time necessary to find the right combination of hat, scarf, pin, coat, dress, and shoes. During our first lunch meeting, she had gotten a bit of food on her scarf. She took it off, removed the bit of food, then carefully retied it, creating an elegant, elaborate knot. During the meetings she spoke in a gentle, grandmotherly voice, sharing stories about her childhood, a recent business trip to Singapore, long-distance phone calls to faraway clients.
Perhaps the real reason I didn’t leap across the table when she spoke about the “eight year nightmare” had nothing to do with anger management but everything to do with shock, with a sort of cognitive dissonance. At the end of our first lunch meeting, I watched her carefully apply three different layers of lipstick. She was delightfully amused when I asked why she did that. She placed the different lipsticks on the table, explained why she chose them, and why they had to go on in a particular order. So much thought, time, and care went into the appearance of her lips and mouth, yet there was little evidence of an equal measure of care and thought when bile spewed out of the very same mouth.