The Sweaty Suit
They tell me that yesterday was the hottest day in recorded history and that today will be cooler. Yesterday was so hot that when it hit 113 the thermometer broke, at least that is what they say. I have a different opinion, I think that sucker was jumped off the wall and headed out to the beach.
Unlike many of my friends, family and neighbors I like the heat. The heat is filled with all sorts of fond memories and whispers of the future. It reminds me of a time many years ago when I was a kid working for Pitney Bowes. That kid spent part of his time cold calling businesses around the City of Angels. Dressed in a black suit he would walk from office building to office building with a dream of making a buck.
There were more than a few days where I’d find myself frantically trying to mop up the sweat off of my brow so that I could try to get the receptionist in these offices to connect me to the person who purchased office equipment. Those ladies were the gatekeepers to the people who could help me make my fortune, so I’d do my best to be friendly and charming.
Unfortunately when spend time walking beneath the blazing sun you find that you look like someone just dumped a bucket of Gatorade over your head. It is a great look for people who just won the Superbowl, not so much for those who wish to look like a professional.
Sometimes I would go out on these calls with my colleague Keith. I loved going out with Keith for a variety of reasons. He was from Barbados and had this delightful accent that people loved to hear. It didn’t hurt that he had a certain amount of charm to go along with it. The combination was effective as if he wanted to he could insult you and you’d smile. There was something about that musical accent that just made it sound funny, but not a way that made you laugh at him.
As a natural troublemaker I couldn’t help but tell Keith that the beaches in Barbados were not as pretty as those in Jamaica. In variably he would shake his head at me and tell me that I was a crazy fool- because according to Keith there is no where more beautiful than Barbados. I’d try to keep a straight face and would continue to press him until he’d threaten to take me out to the parking lot.
That was his go to line, “I am going to take you out to the parking lot.” It may sound silly but with his accent and charm it was magical. It didn’t matter whether the receptionist was young or old these women would always smile and or giggle.
Sometimes I would tell him that I was sorry that he couldn’t speak English and he’d break out into these great bursts of laughter. Sometimes I miss that guy. I haven’t seen Keith since 1996, not since I left the company. We didn’t exchange phone numbers and that is ok.
But one day I will visit Barbados and on that day I will buy a drink and toast to the good health of my friend Keith who never did take me out to the Parking Lot.