If you’ve read any of my blogs, or heard anything about my life, you might know 1. That I am an exaggerator and 2. I am not that creative. This may seem to conflict, however, it is truly that I am great at amplifying the existing funny, less great at the starting from scratch funny. This is evidenced in the fact that I could not make some of this stuff up. Like the snake in my bathroom, or the epic football tackle of my own child.
What makes this networking story even funnier- or worse- is that the lovely and brilliant woman with whom I was having the privilege of a meeting, is the daughter of another lovely and brilliant woman with whom I have developed a wonderful connection, and who just so happened to write an excellent book on networking which I have found enormously helpful.
The business contact in question had come to my home office for coffee- and we were meeting in my kitchen, in my old, old house. She was impeccably dressed, as usual, looking effortlessly beautiful and she sat down at the table, amidst the child-related paraphernalia, about which I was unashamed, because they make fabulous stuff out of spray paint and macaroni noodles these days, and because she has a toddler of her own. I went over near the stove to make her coffee. As I reached for the keurig handle, I noticed the rear end of a mouse plus tail sticking out from behind the stove. Now, I’ve used the word “old” (referring to my house) here several times for a reason, undoubtedly so you won’t think we have mice due to lack of hygiene, although with 5 teenage boys at home, that is a consideration- but because we have an old house, and old houses = mice.
In a flash, I thought to myself, “I could pretend this is not happening and just walk away, she’ll never see it, OR I could grab that little sucker myself with my bare hands and put it in a pot with some mouse-y food and save it for Josh (my rodent-loving child) to show him when he gets home, then we’ll take it down the street and let it go.
I imagined a wonderful long career ahead of me, built on the successful networking connections, the give and take, the friends, the glamour—- screeeeeech— hear the tires of my future coming to a short and noisy halt as I instinctively chose the image of my precious-moments-faced Josh as he smiles at me in wonder and adoration, glowing with the pride that can only be felt by a 12 year old whose mother has the ovarian fortitude to grab a live mouse and pop it into a container for him to admire after school.
I quick grabbed the tail, lifted the mouse from hiding and laid him delicately into the container, topped with a lid and a note, “DO NOT OPEN,” washed my hands and made my new friend lunch.
Later, in a moment of abject horror, I realized that it was likely she was totally grossed out by the whole encounter.
I emailed her, and apologized. She was funny and gracious and as kind as I would expect from the generosity of spirit she and her mother offer so many members of our community.
I may have apologized profusely, but what I really meant to say was, sometimes choosing the smiling face of my son over the possibilities of a career is the best choice I could ever make. Sometimes as parents, we do crazy, ridiculous things to bring even a moment of joy to our kids, and that is one of the best parts of being a parent. And, sometimes, the worst networking moments make for stories that will last a lifetime.